Unable to lead the Clippers anywhere, Doc Rivers finally moved on after their disappointing run last season. Despite facing so much criticism for being the reason the Clippers were not progressing, he was in popular demand to be acquired by other teams as their head coach. With no hesitation, he signed with the Philadelphia 76ers and everyone has great expectations.
However, he also came back to coaching a former Clippers’ player, Tobias Harris. The bad news is that coach Doc Rivers isn’t sure Harris is the same player he coached in LA.
In February 2019, the Sixers made a late-night trade with the LA Clippers, thinking of it as a blockbuster. They acquired Boban Marjanovic, Mike Scott, and Tobias Harris in exchange for Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, and Landry Shamet.
At that time, it looked like the Sixers were going to make a deep playoff run, but all that came crashing down. Another premature exit from the playoffs raised questions like whether bringing in Harris was a mistake. When the trade occurred, it looked like he would fit with their defense.
Harris could drop three’s at a high clip which was evident with his 47.6% mark from the three-point range during his time with the Clippers. It was his versatility that felt like a major upgrade from his predecessor, Wilson. But at a time when Philadelphia desperately needs shooters, he dropped down below 30% from the three-point range. This cold streak is worrisome for many, and Doc Rivers wants to do something to change it.
After the Sixers played the preseason against Indiana Pacers, Doc Rivers revealed the areas of improvement for Harris. “We’ve just got to get him to make quicker decisions,” the Sixers head coach said Monday. “I thought the second half of the Indiana game was a lot better. He hesitates sometimes. He wants to get in what we call his bag of tricks, but I love Tobias going downhill, making quick decisions — quick shots, quick first step downhill.”
He does appreciate the improvement Harris has shown but wants to see the player he coached back in LA. The coach said, “That’s what we got him (doing) in L.A., and we’ll get him back there. But you can tell he’s been doing something different, and we have to get him back to being a quick-decision Tobias.”
Rivers also talked about how long it might take for the old Harris to come back. “The process is easy,” Rivers said. “What it takes is the other question. The process is daily — just keep doing it. I don’t have my answer for how long it takes for that to take hold with any player. I think everybody is on a different timeline.”
Doc Rivers must be gearing the Sixers up for the first regular-season match against the Washington Wizards. Will the new head coach help Philadelphia bring back its relevance in the league?
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