The Philadelphia 76ers currently hold the best record in the Eastern Conference. They are 13-6 on the year and are coming off of a big win over the Lakers on Wednesday night, January 27. Joel Embiid led scoring with 28 points, shooting 8/18 from the field. But who was the real hero of the night? Tobias Harris. Harris hit a game-winning shot over Alex Caruso to beat the Lakers 107-106. Harris recorded 24 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and shot 62.5% from the field in that game. The Tobias Harris player profile is showing out in his ninth year in the NBA.
The 76ers have been included in multiple trade rumors this season. They even offered Ben Simmons to the Rockets for James Harden back on January 14th. Now, they are included in multiple rumors of trading for Bradley Beal from the Wizards. But, is it worth it? Maybe Elton Brand and Daryl Morey still believe there is work to be done. Tobias Harris certainly seemed like an overpaid addition to the team in 2019 when he signed a five-year, $180 million deal, but he is currently showing out.
After being part of the Clippers/Pistons trade with Blake Griffin, Harris played well with the Clippers. He was a consistent starter for them, starting 87 games for them between two seasons. In the games he played in Los Angeles, Harris recorded 20.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 34.2 minutes per game. He shot 48.7% from the field and 42.6% from three-point range on 15.7 shots per game. That season, he shot the best effective field goal percentage there than with any other team in his career (56.9%). He also recorded a 2.45 box plus/minutes with them, making him an effective player.
Harris was traded to the 76ers during the 2018-2019 season, where he finished off the year playing and starting in 27 games for them. Harris’s play declined steeply in his first “season” in Philadelphia. He averaged 18.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists, on inefficient shooting. Harris shot 46.9% from the field, 32.6% from three, and 84.1% from the charity stripe.
Next season was somewhat better for him. Harris played 72 games in the 2019-2020 season last year and averaged 19.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game on slightly better shooting. He shot 47.1% from the field, 36.7% from three, and 80.6% from the free-throw line.
The playoffs gave him a bad reputation in the 2019-2020 season. The 76ers were without Ben Simmons in the first round against the Boston Celtics and were swept when they needed Harris most. Harris averaged 15.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, and four assists in the four games they played in the playoffs. He shot a dreadful 38.3% from the field, 13.3% from behind the arc, and 78.9% from the free-throw line. During that span, he averaged a -10.2 plus/minus score per 100 possessions.
Fans of the 76ers certainly saw Harris as a negative from the playoffs. They just signed him to a $36 million per year deal the previous summer and he was seriously hurting their team. This season, however, Harris seems to be on a new mission to show his worth to the team.
In 19 games this season, Harris is averaging 20.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. He is shooting the best in his career from the field, 52.5%, and his best from distance, 46.1%. Harris is shooting 62.1% from 10-16 feet and 50% from the 16-3p range, which are career highs in those areas. He has a 2.6 box plus/minus and 1.5 win shares on the year. He has a plus/minus of +11.5 when he is on the court, per 100 possessions with the 76ers. Harris is an average defender, but a solid defensive rebounder for the 76ers.
After making a game-winning shot over the defending champion Laker team, Harris is ready to show he means business for the up and coming 76ers team. Philly fans should be ready to get what they paid for in Tobias Harris because he is stepping up in the ninth year of his career. The 28-year old is not done yet and looking to make a statement this season. His time to prove himself will come in the Eastern Conference playoffs this season.