When the Philadelphia 76ers waived veteran forward Ignas Brazdeikis with the buyout market closing out, the team was expected to make a corresponding move sooner than later. Although it took longer than expected, the 76ers inked veteran power forward Anthony Tolliver to a ten-day contract late last week.
Tolliver didn't join the Sixers right away as the team was on a four-game road trip. It wasn't until Wednesday night when he was spotted with the 76ers for the first time as a member of the team. As Philly took on the Brooklyn Nets, there wasn't much time for Doc Rivers to get Tolliver involved.
Considering Tobias Harris and Mike Scott were available, Rivers didn't want to risk utilizing a player who doesn't quite know the system just yet in such a critical game against the Nets. On Friday, Tolliver's debut would come, though.
With the Sixers missing three notable pieces in Tobias Harris, Dwight Howard, and Seth Curry, Rivers was expected to offer up some minutes to players who wouldn't typically see the floor against a stellar Clippers team.
Although Rivers wanted to utilize Paul Reed at first, the rookie struggled to make a positive impact during the two minutes and 43 seconds he was on the floor. Therefore, Rivers chose overall NBA experience over 2020-2021 Sixers experience and threw Tolliver into the mix with little-to-no expectations.
Fortunately, the guy who just joined the team a few days ago played fairly well for not knowing much about Philly's system.
“He was great,” Doc Rivers explained. “I feel bad for him. He didn’t know anything, I mean, play-wise. We put him at the five and the four, and I was laughing with Dave Joerger. I said, ‘It doesn’t matter. He didn’t know either position anyway! We can put him at the point guard’. He didn’t know any position. We just wanted him out there to space the floor, and I thought he did that. I thought he actually made a couple of pretty good defensive plays for us as well.”
Statistically, Tolliver didn't have an explosive night. In a little under 15 minutes on the court, he shot 0-2 from the field and didn't contribute to any of the Sixers' 106 points. Defensively, it was a different story. Tolliver didn't look like a guy who hasn't played since the NBA bubble last summer. While there were some times he got beat, his energy and effort were on pace with everybody else.
If he were to gain more time with the team, Tolliver could help make an impact on nights when Philly's frontcourt is thin in depth. Soon, his 10-day contract will run out, but Tolliver's Friday night's performance showed he's got some gas left in the tank, which could convince the Sixers to possibly keep him around longer when his short-term deal expires in the coming days.