Scott Looks to Build on Encouraging Start
Mike Scott has had seven productive NBA seasons under his belt. So why is the 76er fan favorite saying he’s just now hitting his stride?
For Scott, it’s as simple as Philadelphia - the city, the people, the mentality.
During a breakfast with media members this week at the Training Complex, Scott explained that some players dread getting traded. But when he got the news that he’d be finishing the 2018-19 season with the Sixers, he saw an opportunity for a fresh start.
“I was hype,” Scott said of the February move that ushered in him, Tobias Harris, and Boban Marjanovic from the LA Clippers to the Sixers.
From the high school hoops circuit to his time at UVA, Scott had always considered himself a primary scorer, the go-to guy. Entering the NBA, Scott knew he might not be a first scoring option, but still made scoring his priority.
Around this time last year, he started to make a change.
“[I had to] find a way to earn minutes, and do the little things,” Scott remembers.
It’s a sentiment Scott would have once dismissed. Today, it's one of his guiding principles.
Take, for instance, the 2019-20 season, which Scott is entering committed to doing those little things. Think diving for loose balls, bringing energy, running the floor.
“Do the dirty work, and do every little thing, and play with energy. I think that’s what fans like,” Scott said of his still-growing Philadelphia following.
What began as a group of loyal Scott fans united by social media became a movement, now famously known as the Mike Scott Hive. As the Hive continues to grow, Scott continues to engage with his fans, whether on social media, or even in real life.
Earlier this summer, for example, Scott made a surprise appearance at a wedding in Old City that he was invited to on Twitter.
Then this past Tuesday, he pulled up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Mister Softee truck, giving away free frozen treats, undoubtedly adding new members to the Hive with each cone.
These are just two of many occasions Scott has brought joy to Philadelphia in his short tenure.
Looking back, Scott said the Hive began buzzing at new heights following his game-winning 3-pointer in Game 4 against Brooklyn.
“It went crazy,” Scott said. “It went to a different level. I’ve never had something like that.”
When asked why his fans have built such a strong connection with him, Scott says it’s simple:
“I’m a regular person. I just play basketball. I have that chip on my shoulder that I feel like everyone that lives in this area has.”
With the city behind him, Scott is ready to help his team face the season ahead.
“It’s probably one of the first times I’m excited to get to training camp,” Scott said Tuesday. “I’m in shape, I feel good, my body feels good. It’s encouraging.”
After the summer’s roster revamp, there’s one reunion Scott is most looking forward to - sharing the floor with five-time All-Star Al Horford. The two played together in Atlanta from 2012-2016.
“Not only is [Horford] a great player, he’s a great person. You love to play with people like that. He’s humble, he’s grateful, he knows his role,” Scott said.
He added that when he’s asked about which players in the league he respects the most, Horford always makes the top of his list.
Scott looks forward to watching Horford teach and lead younger players on the team, a responsibility he and Horford will share.
For Scott, it’s all about leading by example. When it comes to connecting with young players, he aims to be authentic and natural in his demeanor, and picks his spots when it comes to speaking up.
“I’ll talk when I feel like it’s necessary,” said Scott, who added he's looking forward to working with Zhaire Smith and Matisse Thybulle when camp rolls around.
If Scott’s half season and playoff run with the Sixers were any indication, he’ll continue to be a force on the court, off the court, online, and in the city, keeping in mind the team’s ultimate goal of winning a championship.
“I know what we’re here to do.”