Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris is off to a solid start to the 2020-21 NBA season. His shooting percentages are way up compared to last season, and he’s been playing with increased confidence. He was recently recognized as the league’s Player of the Week thanks to his positive production. When asked what has contributed to his hot start, Harris credited new coach Doc Rivers for the culture he has cultivated in Philadelphia.
“I think it’s more what [Doc] gets out of the whole group,” Harris said to media members after Philadelphia’s 118-101 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night. “I’m the type of player that my game can fall in line and whatever the coaches ask of me, I can get done. What he’s asking of this team is to play the right way, move the basketball, play with one another, use your teammates, really be a collective group… The mentality and the attitude of playing together, playing as one, doing what we can for the next guy, making the right pass, going from good to great. Just that mentality for myself, personally for my game, it helps me be in a flow and play better.
“That has been something that’s been successful for my game. It was successful in L.A. with Doc. I’d be selfish to say, ‘Hey, this is what Doc is doing for me’. It’s more along of ‘this is what Doc is doing for the whole team as a whole.’ That’s holding us accountable to playing the right style of basketball, and a winning style of what he knows.”
The fact that Harris used the word “accountability” when describing what Rivers has brought to the Sixers is especially noteworthy, as several Sixers have previously stated that the team has lacked accountability in the past. After Philadelphia was swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs last year, Josh Richardson questioned the team’s overall accountability — or lack thereof — under then-head coach Brett Brown.
“I just think, going forward, [Brown’s] gotta have some more accountability,” Richardson said. “I don’t think there was much accountability this season, and I think that was part of our problem… It’s got to start from scratch, it isn’t going to be easy. People aren’t going to be comfortable, but that’s what championship teams do. Guys not doing their job on or off the court, there’s got to be some sort of, not consequence, but you got to be able to talk to each other and listen, actually hear. It’s a hard lesson to learn for some people, but in order for us to make this playoff run that we all want, it’s got to start.”
Sixers All-Star forward Ben Simmons agreed wholeheartedly with Richardson’s assessment.
“We didn’t know when we were going to get a bucket, who was going to get us a bucket,” Simmons said. “From that to knowing what we needed to be in at all times, people being held accountable for certain things, whether it’s a minor thing, it all plays a part… He definitely was right. We weren’t in a position to go into that bubble and win. I think our mindset was off, and accountability is a huge part of winning. So I think he was definitely right.”
It’s only a couple of weeks into the season, and the Sixers will ultimately be judged by how they perform in the postseason. So, it would be premature to come to any concrete conclusions about how the Sixers will fare under Rivers long-term at this point in the campaign, but the early results have been promising. Through seven games of action, the Sixers sit at the top of the Eastern Conference with a 6-1 record, and they boast the league’s best defense. Rivers is doing a great job of maximizing the talent on the team, and he has clearly established a culture of accountability, at least according to Tobias. There’s obviously still a long way to go, but it sure seems like a major issue that plagued the Sixers last season has already been addressed and corrected.
Published: 2021-01-06 14:22:46
Tags: #76ers #Tobias #Harris #credits #Doc #Rivers #Hes #holding #accountable #playing #style #ball