76ers

Which Sixer has the most to lose in 2019-20 season?

Which Sixer has the most to lose in 2019-20 season?

With training camp getting closer, there are plenty of topics to discuss involving the 2019-20 Sixers. Running the Give and Go are NBC Sports Philadelphia's Paul Hudrick and Noah Levick.

In this edition, we ask: Which Sixer has the most to lose this season? 

Hudrick 

Before the Sixers missed out on signing veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver, there were rumors that 2016 first-round pick Furkan Korkmaz was headed back to Turkey. It would’ve made sense. The Sixers didn’t pick up his option for 2019-20 and he reportedly complained about his playing time last season.

Then Korver chose the Milwaukee Bucks over his former team and Elton Brand brought back the 22-year-old Turkish guard on a one-year deal. The fact that this could be Korkmaz’s last shot to stick in the NBA means he has the most to lose of any Sixer this season.

Korkmaz was touted as an excellent shooter during the pre-draft process. That skill has yet to translate to the NBA as Korkmaz has shot just 32.3 percent on 161 career three-point attempts. He’s shown offensive skill and instincts at times, but his shot selection is questionable. He’s a decent athlete, but has been a below-average defender.

He’ll be in a serious fight to become a part of the rotation this season. James Ennis will likely be the first wing off the bench, but there should be minutes for another perimeter player available. Korkmaz will have to battle 2019 first-round pick Matisse Thybulle and 2018 first-rounder Zhaire Smith. If Korkmaz's shot doesn’t fall, Thybulle and Smith both bring way more on the defensive end.

And that could send Korkmaz back overseas for 2020-21.

Levick 

There’s a lot at stake for Jonah Bolden this season.

He had an eventful rookie year, dealing with injury, stints in the G League and irregular playing time with the Sixers. 

Bolden had some positive moments. The Australian big man rebounded from making just 2 of his first 17 NBA threes to hit 35.4 percent from long range, and he flashed ability as a lengthy, athletic defender. There were also a variety of issues for Bolden, including classic rookie errors like unforced turnovers and excessive fouls, and his lack of size at center.

Now, there’s not an obvious spot for Bolden in the Sixers’ rotation. Kyle O’Quinn and Al Horford will presumably be ahead of him as backups to Joel Embiid, and Mike Scott seems to be the team’s backup power forward. Perhaps Bolden’s aptitude with perimeter defense will appeal to Brett Brown in specific matchups, but you have to look hard to find a regular place for him in the rotation.

Another important factor with Bolden is his contract situation — he has nothing guaranteed beyond this season. He’d gain a lot by earning playing time as a young player on a championship contender. If he’s unimpressive in his second year or simply doesn’t get much opportunity, though, he might end up moving elsewhere. 

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How the Sixers are trying to help Tobias Harris snap out of it

How the Sixers are trying to help Tobias Harris snap out of it

They say that shooters shoot.

Tobias Harris has been shooting plenty — they just haven’t been going down.

After going 0 for 11 from three on Tuesday night against the Cavs, Harris went 0 for 3 and 3 of 13 overall in the Sixers’ loss to the Magic in Orlando Wednesday (see observations).

The last three Harris hit was in the first quarter of the Sixers’ loss in Phoenix on Nov. 4. He’s missed his last 23 attempts since.

When Harris was acquired from the Clippers last season, he was shooting 43.4 percent from downtown in a healthy sample size.

So what the heck is going on?

“I'm not making shots, I'm not in a rhythm,” Harris said to reporters postgame. “That's it. Obviously, it's easier said than done but I'm going to find my rhythm and once I do those shots are going to be there and they're going to be able to be made. Until then, I'll watch film and see the looks I can get, see the easy ones I can get to, but when they're not going for me, get to the free throw line. 

“In the fourth quarter I thought that was two questionable whistles, a travel and offensive [foul]. So those are two turnovers that kind of affected our fourth quarter. But I just gotta find a rhythm. That's it.”

On top of missing, Harris just looks indecisive. During early parts of the season, he appeared to be passing up open shots. In his pregame availability before Tuesday’s win, Brett Brown made a point to talk about needing Harris to have a scorer’s mentality.

Over the last two games, Harris seems like he doesn’t know when to shoot the basketball. After shooting so poorly from the outside against Cleveland, in Orlando he appeared to just get caught in between while trying to drive to the basket more.

It just seems like Harris is in his own head.

“I think it's just human nature,” Brown said. “He wants to please, he wants to shoot the ball, he wants to score, we need him to score.”

Harris is an easy target for fan ire. GM Elton Brand gave up an awful lot to get him before last year’s trade deadline. During the summer, the Sixers gave Harris a five-year, $180 million deal — the richest in franchise history.

But to his credit, Harris hasn’t made any excuses. He faced the music Wednesday night after not playing well and not feeling well.

Brown mentioned Tuesday that Harris had been dealing with an illness. Harris didn’t want to take the easy way out and attribute that to anything.

“When I get out there and play, I'm playing,” Harris said. “I'm under the weather, yeah, but if I get out there and play, I believe I can go.”

Forget the big contract and disappointing start for a second — Harris is a worker. He’s worked on his game tirelessly to rise to the level he did last season in L.A. During the offseason, he stepped up as a leader that all of his teammates are eager and willing to follow. He’s been depended upon by the young players and veterans alike.

Now, it may be Harris who needs their support.

“Tobias has had great looks and he's a great player, great shooter,” Ben Simmons said. “I mean, at times, everybody gets down when they're not playing their best game. They know that they can do better. But he's one of those guys. He's always positive. And we all believe in him.”

The Sixers’ road trip continues Friday with a date with the Thunder. Oklahoma City is the site of Harris’ finest game as a Sixer. On Feb. 28 of last year, Harris poured in 32 points and led a tough road win without Joel Embiid.

Maybe the memory of that game will spark something in Harris.

If that doesn't work, what else can you really say?

“Keep shooting,” Brown said. “Don't listen to any of you guys. Don't read anything. Keep shooting.”

After all, shooters shoot.

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Sixers Talk podcast: What is going on with Tobias Harris?

sixers-talk-tobias-harris.jpg
NBC Sports Philadelphia/USA Today Images

Sixers Talk podcast: What is going on with Tobias Harris?

Danny Pommells and Paul Hudrick discuss Tobias Harris' struggles continuing, Ben Simmons' unwillingness to shoot the ball, and why Matisse Thybulle isn't seeing more playing time.

• Another rough night for Harris. What the heck is going on?

• Simmons was strong, but still refuses to shoot the basketball outside the paint.

• Should Thybulle be getting more minutes?

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