Evan Fournier says FIBA World Cup could have helped Tobias Harris

Before the FIBA World Cup began, Team USA saw several players withdraw from its player pool. With players such as Anthony Davis, James Harden and Bradley Beal choosing not to play, the Americans didn’t field as good a team this year.

Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris was one of the players who withdrew from the FIBA World Cup, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.  Harris reportedly decided not to play because he wanted to focus on the upcoming season.

But Orlando Magic wing Evan Fournier told Marc Stein of the New York Times on Sunday that Harris could have developed his game if he chose to play.

Fournier and Harris were teammates on the Magic during the 2014-15 season and for about half of the 2015-16 season before Harris was traded to the Detroit Pistons. 

“But friends of mine like Tobias (Harris) … it was a great opportunity for him to just see something different and compete. I don’t think they really realize how beneficial this is for their career,” Fournier said.

Fournier, who played for France in the FIBA World Cup, mentioned that players such as Davis and Harden didn’t need to play since they had won in 2014. Fournier and France defeated Australia 67-59 in the third place game Sunday for this year’s FIBA World Cup.

Harris surely could have benefited from playing in the FIBA World Cup. The FIBA game is different compared to the NBA. Driving lanes are harder to attack, and there’s an increased emphasis on quality defense and shooting.

Still, Harris also had good reason not to play. The Sixers are heading into a season where they’re positioned to be one of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, along with the Milwaukee Bucks.

This upcoming season could be the one where the Sixers make a leap, and Harris figures to be a huge part of Philly’s success. Last season Harris averaged 18.2 points per game in 27 games with the Sixers. He shot 46.9% from the field, and he averaged 7.9 rebounds a game.

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