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76ers Take Tennessee Guard Jaden Springer With 28th Pick Of Draft

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Trying to rebound after a crushing end to their season, the Philadelphia 76ers selected Tennessee freshman Jaden Springer with the 28th pick of the NBA draft Thursday night.

The 18-year-old guard averaged 12.5 points in 25 games in his lone season with Tennessee and led the team in 3-point percentage and free throws made. He'll be a 3-and-D option off the bench, one area of need for the Sixers.

The 76ers headed into the second round — and perhaps beyond — with maligned All-Star guard Ben Simmons. Simmons, the No. 1 pick of the 2016 draft, has floated in trade proposals ever since the Sixers were eliminated by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The three-time All-Star is headed into the second year of a $177 million max deal but his failures from the free-throw and 3-point lines have made him expendable.

Simmons shot 25 for 73 (34%) from the line in the playoffs and missed 27 alone against the Hawks.

Simmons seemed nonplussed by the trade speculation, posting videos on Instagram of him relaxing in a pool. The Sixers are in no rush to trade Simmons and could wait until the trade deadline — or just keep him — and see if can he can bolster his value by showing some improvement with his jumper and from the line.

The Sixers did make one draft-night deal when they acquired the No. 53 overall selection from New Orleans in exchange for cash considerations. The Sixers also have the 50th pick of the draft.

The Sixers went 49-23 and earned the top seed in the East. They lost three games at home to the Hawks.

(© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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