Philadelphia 76ers power forward Tobias Harris didn't mince words on ESPN's First Take on Friday. He said the team hasn't lived up to expectations this year but didn't make excuses.
He did say, however, that the time away from basketball during the coronavirus pandemic has allowed the team to build chemistry.
"I'll keep it real," Harris said. "We haven't had the best chemistry throughout the whole year. It took us a while to kind of get everyone together. We battled injuries from the start to the end."
Harris (19.4 points per game) is the only Sixers player to appear in and start all 65 games. Injuries have limited point guard Ben Simmons to 54 games and center Joel Embiid to just 44 games.
Simmons, Harris, Embiid, Josh Richardson and Al Horford have started only 19 contests together. And the Sixers are just 11-8 in those games.
"We haven't met our expectations so far this year," Harris said. "But we have a new opportunity in Orlando to go out and just play ball and really scratch a new surface of what we can accomplish."
Harris was clear: This team can win the title. It will just have to go through a top-heavy Eastern Conference to do so.
Philadelphia will resume its season Aug. 1 against the Indiana Pacers before finishing the year against the San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets. Of those eight teams, only the Pacers, Raptors and Rockets have a winning record.
The window is still open for the Sixers to win the title. When the players reunite, they will try to reset their chemistry and prove they're a contender.
"I believe that when we go out here and go hoop, we have a chance to win a championship," Harris said. "We're going to be healthy, a lot healthier than we were before. Having Ben to be recovered and fully healed is big for us. And we just gotta go out there and play basketball. This, for us, is kind of like an AAU tournament."