The Philadelphia 76ers faced some tough questions heading into free agency this summer. Their second-round loss to the Raptors amplified the misgivings about their status as legit powerhouse in the East, although Toronto’s championship run has retroactively positioned them as being just a few unlucky bounces away from a possible Finals appearance.
Still, both Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris would enter free agency, which complicated their financial reality in terms of potentially crossing the luxury tax threshold. With Butler opting to head to Miami, it was more palatable to sign Harris to a long-term deal worth about $180 million over five years.
With their core more or less set for the foreseeable future, the Sixers next challenge is reaching a new plateau, and a big part of their growth will dovetail with that of Ben Simmons, whose ongoing shooting struggles have been a sore spot in the first few seasons of his career.
Harris, however, is ready to do his part to help Simmons improve, and here in the offseason, that’s taking the form of issuing direct challenges during pick-up games against each other.
Simmons’ reluctance to attempt three-pointers often puts his team in a predicament in terms of their spacing and execution. The Sixers guard might look to Giannis Antetokounmpo, whose modest improvement in that category is already having a dramatic effect on his overall game.
The offseason is certainly the time to focus on those aspects of your game that might be lacking, and only time will tell whether that work pays next season.