Tobias Harris had a disappointing playoff run. He missed shots that he usually makes and it made some fans question whether or not he was worthy of a max deal. Harris is a very good player that will probably receive the max regardless of whether or not he re-signs with the Sixers, but the team should make every effort to ensure that he resigns with them.
Averaging 20 points per contest and shooting 48.7/39.7/86.6, Harris was yet another strong addition from the Sixers front office. The 6’9 combo forward helped provide the spacing that the team needed. A threat to drill long-range shots if given space, Harris has the requisite awareness to really play to the strengths of a starting five that will be inexperienced playing together yet again and given his predicted cheaper price, should be a ‘no-brainer’.
The Sixers need shooting and even though after the trade Harris shot just 36% from 3, compared to the 43% he shot from beyond the arc while at the Clippers, he still provides spacing the Sixers need. His shooting percentage from three-point range has increased every single year, except in his first season with the team after a trade. It takes a slight dip then improves to new highs after every trade. So what this tells us is that his shooting will most likely return and the slump we witnessed is natural. It is logical to assume that he will shoot better next year with an entire offseason to get better with this personnel.
Harris is also a swiss army knife of a basketball player and has been asked to fill a different role on every team he has been on. With an offseason of knowing what the team expects from him, he should be able to perform at a much higher level. Brett Brown is also is a flexible coach and will likely be more than happy to incorporate the types of plays Harris likes to run.
This compromise on offense would probably look like Harris becoming a ‘catch-and-shoot’ player when Simmons is the floor and allowing him to carry the ball up the court when Simmons is resting. This would give Harris the offensive freedom to drive to the basket or shoot off the dribble, both things he is capable of doing.
The recent playoff rollercoaster showed us that Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid were the glue keeping the team together when the going got tough. Both of these players have a history with injuries. Having Harris allows the Sixers to rest their great players and let the forward close out games, which he showed he is already more than capable of doing, during his time with the Clippers. A glaring need for quite some time now has been the void when the starters sit down. The offensive production drops once the bench are deep into their minutes, keeping Harris would ensure that spark of efficiency remains as somebody that can carry the load late into games.
For these reasons, the Sixers should make resigning Tobias Harris a priority. There is no question that giving Harris the max will be an overpay. So the question cannot be ‘Are the team overpaying’, but ‘Is he worth overpaying for?’
The answer is yes. He is young, he works hard, and he fits a need. It is always better to have talented players that may be marginalized in their role than role players who are just not as talented.