Jaden Springer Film Analysis: A Steal at Pick 28
Once Daryl Morey stepped into his role in the front office, drafting in the late first round has not been a problem. We all saw how well Tyrese Maxey played in his first season, it seemed like we struck gold. And just over a week ago, something similar might have happened on draft night.
Let me introduce you to Jaden Springer. Taken with the 28th pick, draft experts and pundits alike can agree that he should've been taken higher. Some believe that Springer was a lottery talent. The 18 year old guard, coming out of the University of Tennessee, has tremendous upside. Springer, listed as 6'4" 205 lbs, has a NBA ready body, but how will his game translate to the pros?
One thing that stands out when you see Springer play is his defense. He is extremely talented and gifted in this area, with defensive awareness beyond his years. He can stay in front of his man, poke the ball loose, wreak havoc defending in transition, and he even is a surprisingly good help-side defender. In his introductory interview for the 76ers, he told reporters that "defense comes natural to me", and the film backs up that claim. Springer also excels in his ability to contest a shot, he always gives an extra effort to make the shot difficult for the offensive player. An underrated part of Jaden's defensive game, is his ability to deny the ball. Jaden brings a physical presence, he makes the offense react to him.
On offense, Springer is very talented at driving to the rim. His speed, mixed with extreme athleticism and great body control, make for a great combination to have when slashing towards the basket. He does a great job using his strength to fight through contact and it allows him to make difficult shots at the rim.
Although Jaden's offensive game does not compare to his defense, there are some areas that excite me to see how he can grow as a jump shooter. During his one year at Tennessee, Jaden shot 46.7% from the field while averaging 12.5 PPG on 57 TS%. He is unpolished on this side of the ball, but the potential is undeniable. For example, Springer finds a lot of offensive success in the mid range. He does a good job penetrating through the defense to get to his spot on the elbow. A go-to move for Springer is the spin move into the fadeaway mid-range. My only concern about this part of his game is the question surrounding how well this will translate to the NBA. No doubt having longer and stronger defenders guarding him will make it harder for him to knock down this shot.
His willingness to take contested mid-ranges does make for a questionable shot selection. At times, Jaden can force a shot over 2 or more defenders inside the arc, causing for a bad offensive possession. We have seen countless times where players get rid of this habit due to professional reps, and I don't see a reason why that couldn't happen to Jaden. Although this isn't a concern for me, it is definitely something to keep an eye on.
An area of Jaden's game that needs immediate improvement is his passing. And trust me, I get it, he is still very young, and young hoopers make mistakes. In this situation, I believe things may be different. Jaden is a very indecisive passer. He seems lost with the ball in his hands after he picks up his dribble. He also leaves his feet when he passes, which is a big no-no.
Along with his no so great passing, another facet of his game that needs improvement is his ball handling and ball security. He played majority off ball at Tennessee, with limited minutes running the offense. His handle can be very loose and out of control at times, leading to turnovers. Jaden also has a hard time finding space when driving to the rack. He gets a little too much of tunnel vision as he dribbles into traffic way to often for my liking.
We all know how important the long range shot is in the modern NBA. This is the shot that will make or break the career of Jaden Springer. At Tennessee, he shot a phenomenal 43.5% from behind the arc. He also only took 1.8 threes per game. He made his shots at a high percentage, but did not shoot them at a high volume. Do not expect Jaden to continue to be a 40%+ three point shooter in his first few years in the pros. If Jaden can master the spot up three pointer, he will have a long and successful career in the league.
There are two things that Jaden Springer does best. Defense and Effort. Springer will never give up on a play, he will always go 110%, and he has a knack for extending offensive possessions. He will bring a sense of strength and fight that this Sixers team is in need of. His offensive rebounding was something that caught my eye. He is very good at securing the long rebound and then creating 2nd chance opportunities. That is a skill that you can not teach.