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Sixers’ Doc Rivers effusive in his praise for Mike Scott: ‘He’s had a phenomenal training camp’

By his own admission, Scott felt he had a poor season a year ago but earned the praise of Rivers this training camp.

Sixers forward Mike Scott expects to rebound from a subpar season under new head coach (and his former coach) Doc Rivers.
Sixers forward Mike Scott expects to rebound from a subpar season under new head coach (and his former coach) Doc Rivers.Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

One reason Mike Scott has become a fan favorite with the 76ers? His sheer honesty.

Scott never points fingers, except at himself.

He talked early in training camp about how he didn’t play well in 52 games with the Los Angeles Clippers under new Sixers coach Doc Rivers.

Scott played well after being traded to the Sixers in February 2019. He was a key part of the rotation for a team that took the eventual champion Toronto Raptors to seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The inconsistency returned last season. Scott acknowledged his rough time in 2019-20, attributing some of his late-season struggles to a knee injury. In the first-round sweep by the Boston Celtics, he averaged just five minutes per game. Now, less than four months after the end of last season, he has clearly caught the eye of Rivers.

“Mike Scott has had a phenomenal training camp. Not a good one, a phenomenal one,” Rivers said on Monday after practice. “I am really happy for him. I think he had a shot with me the first time, and I think he knows what I am looking for out of him. You can see he has come in very comfortable, I would say that would be the word. And he has been great.”

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Scott is brutally honest in his assessment of his own game. When asked about the things he learned from last season to implement this season, he said, “Just trying not to [stink]. I don’t know. I just didn’t play well.”

The 6-foot-7 Scott said he now weighs 236, 10 pounds lighter than he weighed toward the end of last season when he experienced knee pain that forced him to miss three of the seed games during the NBA’s restart.

Scott helps the Sixers most when he can provide toughness and three-point shooting. His spot is the corner three, and while he didn’t play well, Scott shot 36.9% from beyond the arc last season. (The league average was 35.8%.) He fully expects to throw his weight around this season, minus the 10 pounds.

“I think every now and then you need to let somebody know you are there, hard foul every now and then,” he said. “I know that part is getting away from the NBA, but I feel that is needed at points.”

Scott averaged 4.8 points and 14.4 minutes in 52 games playing for Rivers and the Clippers before joining the Sixers. Even with those low numbers, he shot 39.1% on threes.

He will be given the green light from Rivers, who says he wants Scott to “shoot the ball, be solid, play defense.”

“I thought he fouled a lot,” Rivers added. “I think he would be better without fouling.”

Scott, who says he has passed the test of camp, appears to be regaining his confidence after a rough season a year ago.

“My knee feels great, the timing is getting back, rhythm is getting back,” he said. “So, yes, it is starting to come along. There are still improvements to be made, but today I felt great. ... I feel last year I didn’t really shoot the ball well, didn’t play well, and let everything kind of get to my head. This year I feel like I am back to the year before.”