Mike Scott hasn’t had the opportunity to help contribute to the Sixers much this season. As he’s dealt with a knee injury since the New Year’s Eve game against the Orlando Magic, Scott has been in and out of Philly’s rotation.
First-year Sixers head coach Doc Rivers raved about Scott during the condensed training camp back in November. As the two former Los Angeles Clippers reunited this year, Rivers believed Scott looked much better than he did when he coached the veteran forward a couple of seasons ago.
With a strong offseason, Scott was expected to be the primary backup to starting power forward Tobias Harris. Five games into the 2020-2021 NBA season, Scott averaged 16 minutes off the bench. During that time, he contributed to four points-per-game while shooting 26-percent from three.
Although his numbers weren’t pretty, Scott and other 76ers were granted a grace period as the quick turnaround to a short offseason allowed players to get into a rhythm. Unfortunately, Scott’s progress was derailed by his setback.
After playing in the first five games of the season, Scott missed the next six. As he appeared on the court for three games following his injury, the veteran forward tweaked his knee again, giving him a place on the Sixers’ injury report for weeks.
For the next 13 games, Scott sat on Philly’s bench in street clothes as a spectator. Although he suffered a setback during his second multi-week absence, the veteran finally returned to the floor on Saturday against the Phoenix Suns.
“It’s definitely humbling,” Scott said on Monday in regards to his unwanted time off. “I definitely wanted to be out there with my teammates. It was probably the longest I’ve ever spent away [from my team] dealing with the injury. So, I got to learn a lot, saw where I could help, and I’m just glad to be back out there.”
With the bench unit struggling, Scott hopes to help give them a boost as he’s now back in the mix. “[We have to] match the energy [of the starters],” Scott explained. “Even if the starters are off to a bad start, the bench’s job is to bring the intensity, match the energy, and keep it going.”
Lately, the Sixers have struggled to do that. Granted, the recent absences of Scott and now Shake Milton haven’t helped. But the reserves had shown signs of struggling before the unit was down two players. Scott and the 76ers hope to change the narrative on Monday night in Utah when the Sixers take on the Jazz.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_