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The Philadelphia 76ers have been hit hard by the wave of COVID recently and they had to make a move in order to have the required number of players available for games. One move they made was to sign a veteran guard who can help in multiple areas on the floor.
The Sixers signed now 8-year veteran Tyler Johnson to a 10-day hardship exception and he has done some solid things for them. While he is not shooting the ball great or scoring a bunch of points, he is doing other things on the floor that aren’t seen in the box score.
The Sixers have needed a little bit of toughness and Johnson has brought that to this team out on the perimeter.
“We haven’t been around him that much to know him, but he’s been in the league for a long time,” said coach Doc Rivers. “He’s a tough kid so we like that about him. He’s got some grit which is something this team needs. It’s good to have that on our team. You can get a 10-day guy, hopefully, it’s longer, but you want him to be able to play. It’s rare that you get that opportunity. For us to get him was a good pickup.”
One thing Johnson does bring to this team is his ability to handle the ball and run some offense should the time call for it and he also has confidence. In his team debut against the Atlanta Hawks, he missed his first two triples, but then knocked down the third one which shows that he won’t pass down open looks.
“It’s been great,” said Tobias Harris. “I think you can see his basketball smarts out there on the floor. He’s been in the NBA for some time and played for so many teams and systems and you can see his defensive reactions out there are at a very high level. Just his ability to make plays, he knows how to play basketball and that’s key.”
With Shake Milton still in the COVID protocols, the Sixers have been able to rely on Johnson to run the offense a bit. Even when Milton does return, there is a chance that Johnson could stick here for a bit longer and maybe the ball in his hands.
“Depending on who he’s on the floor with,” said Rivers. “When he’s on the floor with Tyrese (Maxey), what he has is fine. If he’s on the floor with Furk (Korkmaz) or Shake, let’s say, then probably more. We’ll see depending on who he’s on the floor with, for sure, but he’s a good guard. He goes downhill, I love that he missed the 3 the other night, and then took the next one. It shows a lot of confidence. He has a lot of confidence in his game which I like as well.”
Johnson will still have to build chemistry with his new teammates, but one thing he does have right now is their confidence in him.
“He just goes out there and plays,” Harris finished. “He knows his spots, he knows his positions, he doesn’t do too much, he just plays an extremely solid game. He’s helped us. Even in the Atlanta game, we obviously didn’t win that game, but I remember saying ‘Tyler just knows how to play basketball. He’s moving, he knows how to play’. So, that’s a credit to the teams that he’s been on and systems that he’s played in. I think he’s really gonna help us.”
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