Sixers' Rookie Marial Shayok Credits Tobias Harris for Being a Mentor
Last year when the Philadelphia 76ers wrapped up the 2019 NBA Draft, many fans were disappointed with the outcome. The now-beloved Washington product, Matisse Thybulle, wasn't a fan-favorite selection at first. And the Sixers attempted to patch up their shooting woes late in the second round by selecting Canadian shooting guard, Marial Shayok.
This year, both rookies have made some noise on two different teams. As the higher pick in the draft, Thybulle had a much better chance of making an impact on the Sixers' main roster. Although he's had an inconsistent journey in his rookie year, the young guard has still established himself as one of the best rookie defenders in the NBA this season.
As for Shayok, he hasn't spent too much time with the 76ers this season. He has, however, become a star in the G League as Shayok dominated with the Delaware Blue Coats this season. The 24-year-old shooting guard has averaged 22 points-per-game in 33 starts for the Coats this year.
While the Blue Coats haven't had consistent team-wide success in the G League, Shayok has undoubtedly been a shining star on the squad throughout the entire season. And because of his accomplishments, he has even been recognized as the G League's best by USA Today's Rookie Wire, which is a site that zeros in on first-year NBA prospects.
While Shayok deserves tons of recognition for working hard on his game, the rookie couldn't help but credit one of his Sixers mentors for helping him be ready for his first year at the pro level. 76ers veteran forward Tobias Harris might be heavily criticized from time to time since he signed a maximum extension with the team last summer.
But at this point, it has become quite clear that Harris' value extends beyond on-court contributions. Earlier in the year, Matisse Thybulle issued lots of praise for Harris as he noted the 27-year-old veteran had taken the rookie under his wing.
And now, Shayok is saying something similar to Thybulle. "The vets on the team were really good at just making sure me and Matisse were good mentally," Shayok said, per Ky Carlin of the Sixers Wire. "Especially Tobias, he kinda really took me under his wing when I first got here in the summer. I went [to the G League] at peace and just ready to work."
Thanks to Harris' early mentorship with Shayok, the Delaware star has remained on Philly's radar throughout the year. Although they hardly called on the rookie to come up and help in the NBA this year, there's no doubt in my mind that Shayok will get a fair shot to compete for a spot in the rotation next season.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_