Philadelphia 76ers

How Doc Rivers can get the most out of Tobias Harris — again

Of all the players on the Philadelphia 76ers, the one who will likely be impacted the most by the hiring of Doc Rivers is Tobias Harris.

Why? Not only has Harris played for Rivers before, he played the best basketball of his career under Rivers.

Prior to the 76ers acquiring him in the middle of the 2018-19 season, Harris was a borderline All-Star, posting an average of 20.9 points per game on .496/.434/.877 shooting splits on a Clippers team that was exceeding expectations. He's still been productive over the last season and a half with the 76ers, but he hasn't been able to quite reach the heights he did in Los Angeles playing next to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in Philadelphia.

A big reason for that is because Harris has gone from being the No. 1 option to a No. 3 option on offence, forcing him to become more of a shooter and less of a playmaker. He's seen his spot-up frequency rise as a member of the 76ers while his pick-and-roll frequency has declined quite a bit.

That's despite Harris being one of the most efficient pick-and-roll scorers in the league in 2018-19, ranking in the 87th percentile with 0.99 points per possession. He proved to be a knockdown shooter off the dribble with the Clippers in 2018-19, making 46.4 percent of his 2-point pull-ups and 47.9 percent of his 3-point pull-ups.

The 76ers aren't going to hand the keys of the offence to Harris with Simmons and Embiid still on the team, but Rivers appears to be focused on getting him to play more like he did in Los Angeles.

"We put him in more pick-and-rolls than he's ever been in his entire life and we had some success with him out of it," Rivers recently said of Harris. "Pick-and-rolls to me are combinations that can create problems defensively for the other team, and Tobias can do that. I'm really looking forward to working with him again."

It helps that the 76ers reshuffled their roster this offseason, acquiring players who better complement Simmons and Embiid, as well as Harris. With Al Horford no longer on the team, Harris should be Philadelphia's full-time power forward moving forward. And with Danny Green and Seth Curry surrounding him rather than Josh Richardson, both he and everyone else on the team should have a lot more spacing to work with.

"Anytime you get more shooting, that is going to increase driving lanes, increase our ability to get a better, more efficient shots, too, in the offence," Harris recently said. "I definitely think the added shooting helps that."

Whether or not Harris will ever be a borderline All-Star remains to be seen, but if any coach can get him back to that level, it's Rivers.

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