Although he had just been acquired at the trade deadline, the Philadelphia 76ers ultimately opted to waive forward Ignas Brazdeikis to free up a spot on the back end of their roster. On Saturday, the team quickly moved to fill that spot while addressing an area of need in the process.
Per a Twitter report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Philly has signed veteran big man Anthony Tolliver to a 10-day contract. He reportedly worked out for the team last week.
Tolliver — whose last NBA action came with the Memphis Grizzlies during their stay at the Orlando, Florida bubble campus — has seen the floor for 10 teams over the course of a 12 year career in the Association.
In 719 career games, he has averaged 6.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per contest.
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Tolliver Has Been a High-Level Floor-Spacer for a Decade
Although Tolliver probably won’t be winning many foot races at age 35, the 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward can provide some things the Sixers need. Namely, frontcourt depth and another outside shooting threat.
Despite the fact that he connected on just 34 percent of his triples in 2019-20, he is a career 37.3 percent shooter from deep with nearly 900 makes to his credit. As a member of the Detroit Pistons during the 2017-18 campaign, he connected on almost 44 percent of his 4.6 attempts per contest.
Sixers coach Doc Rivers has often espoused the quality of his squad’s three-point looks over sheer quantity. Clearly, though, Philly could benefit from an uptick in its long-range output.
So far this season, the Sixers are averaging just 29.5 attempts from deep per game, a bottom-four mark league-wide. Consequently, they are also generating the fifth-fewest points on shots from behind the arc.
That inability to stretch the floor as well as some of the other elite teams has played a key role in the Sixers ranking 14th in the NBA offensively (with an O-rating of 111.4).
Some of that is simply part of the team’s identity; having a non-shooter in Ben Simmons running point and a big man like Joel Embiid anchoring the offense dictates a certain style of play. However, the Sixers could still be better and adding players like George Hill and Tolliver should help.
He’s a Smart Defender, Too
Whether or not Tolliver can remain with the team beyond his first 10-day contract remains to be seen. And whether he does or not, he likely won’t be playing a lot of minutes during his Sixers tenure.
Still, he has skills that the Sixers covet. In addition to his shooting potency, Tolliver is also the kind of defender that should fit right into the team’s elite-level front.
Although his athleticism has largely been middle-of-the-road and he is somewhat lacking for size, Tolliver is aided defensively by a high basketball IQ. More often than not, he’ll be in the right spot, making the proper read and doing what he can to make winning plays.
His impact has shown itself in the numbers, too. The last time he played major minutes for a team — the aforementioned ’17-18 season with Detroit — his team conceded just 105 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor. That same year, opponents were nearly five percent less effective from the field when he was the closest defender.
He is the sort of team defender that should perfectly complement Philly’s rim-protecting bigs and perimeter ace in Simmons
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