By Sandy Palmer
Sixers new coach Doc Rivers looks forward to unlocking the special sauce of one of his former Clippers, Tobias Harris.
During his introductory press conference earlier this month, the 2008 champion coach hinted at how he might help the 28-year-old improve and be a better contributor for the team moving forward:
“I like that he’s a multi-positional player,” Rivers said.
“He’s a big 3, he’s a quick 4. That’s how we used him a lot in L.A. We kept moving him back and forth to different spots. I love his shot. He has a great in-between game, which is sometimes lost in today’s game, and I think he’s a terrific straight-line driver. And you have to just put him in positions for him to do that.”
The 76ers had high expectations set on Harris when they signed him to a lucrative five-year, $180 million contract last summer. He did tally respectable norms of 19.6 points on 47.1 percent shooting, 6.9 rebounds and a career-high 3.2 assists per game this past season. However, it still wasn’t enough for him to live up to the billing of the fifth-largest contract in NBA history.
His struggles carried on when his team faced the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs sans Ben Simmons where he averaged subpar numbers of 15.8 points on 38.3 percent shooting including a dismal 2-of-15 from three-point range.
Fast forward to the offseason, Rivers’ arrival would hopefully rejuvenate Harris and help him find his previous form back when he was playing for the Clippers in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. The stretch in Los Angeles was the peak of his career thus far where he tallied personal-best numbers of 20.3 points on 48.7 percent shooting, and he drilled 42.6 percent of his 4.9 three-point attempts per game.
Hopefully, Rivers would help not only the Tennessee product, but also the entire Sixers team to live up to the high expectations and deliver a championship for the first time since 1983.