Season in review: Tobias Harris

The NBA is at a standstill. Currently suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, the league is still trying to sort out the right path. Do they wait and see if they can continue the season or do they just call it quits and pick things up next year? While they’re working out all those difficult decisions, we might as well take a look back at the season so far and review the players.

We’ve already covered Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, you can read about them here:

Now we turn our attention to the team’s priciest player:

Tobias Harris: 19.4pts, 6.8reb, 3.2ast

After the 2018-2019 NBA season, the Sixers and Tobias Harris agreed to a five-year, $180 million contract. The move was widely criticized as an overpay but many are quick to forget the situation the Sixers were in. The Sixers had to pay either Jimmy Butler or Harris, the choice was obvious as the fit seemed cleaner with Harris than with Butler. Though the contract is large, that is the going rate for talent in the NBA. Are there better players that are being paid less? Sure. That will always be the case though as players are paid bigger contracts each and every year.

Harris had a an impossible task of playing up to his contract. He started the season off a bit slow before laboring through the month of November. Harris’ shot struggled throughout the entire month, he finished shooting 28.3% from three. Harris was supposed to be the floor-spacing third option for the Sixers’ offense but early in the season it was a struggle.

The Sixers as a unit struggled with chemistry issues and Harris was at the forefront of the blame. There were fans calling for Harris to be traded but his contract makes that difficult, and it’s far too early for that.

Constant criticism was hurled at Harris, but he just kept plugging away doing what he could to improve. Harris improved his three-point shooting in December, January, and again in February, each month better than the last. Harris even peaked at an impressive 41.7% from three during the month of February. Offensively, Harris saw a return to form and then-some. Showing to be the third option the team signed up for, Harris was doing all the right things.

Defensively, Harris has improved steadily throughout the season. Never known to be an average or even decent defender, Harris is no longer the liability that he was for most of his career. Harris really began coming into his own as a defender under Brett Brown and continues to improve each game.

Harris also developed into yet another facilitator for this team, someone who can push the ball in transition. For a Sixers team that excels in a run-and-gun offense (without Embiid), the more players who can run the break, the better. This season Harris showed the versatility a modern power forward needs. The ability to play a fast-pace and in the half-court in addition to being able to defend are what makes Harris so valuable. After Ben Simmons, Harris has been the Sixers best player netting himself a solid:

Grade: B+

Harris had his share of struggles especially early in the season but he improved throughout the season and reminded everyone why the Sixers invested so much in him. He may never live up to the contract but that’s irrelevant. What matters is that Harris is a quality third star for the Sixers and will be whenever the NBA returns.

Mandatory Credit – © Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

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