People think of many different things when they hear of Tobias Harris. Some people remember when Tobias was a leading scorer for the Los Angeles Clippers under current Sixers coach Doc Rivers. Others remember his All-Star snub a season ago for the Sixers. Others remember the down year he’s had this season. Most only think of him as the league’s most overpaid roleplayer, and yet, it’s in big thanks to him that the 76ers are going into game 4 against the Toronto Raptors with a 3-0 lead.
Tobias Harris has been great this postseason. In over 40 minutes a game this series, Tobias is averaging 19.0 points per game along with 9.3 rebounds per game and 3.0 assists per game. More importantly, Tobias is shooting 58.8% from the field and over 60% (63.6%) from beyond the arc. In the regular season, Tobias shot 48.2% from the field and 36.7% from three. The usual counter of a lower volume doesn’t apply here either, as Tobias has taken nearly the same amount of threes per game this series (3.7 per game) as he did in the regular season (3.8 per game). His growth in percentages comes almost solely from a lack of hesitation and an acceptance of Moreyball.
To make matters even better for the man in possession of the richest contract in Sixers history, his defense has been much improved this series. During the season, Tobias averaged 0.6 blocks per game and 0.6 steals per game. In the series, he is averaging 0.7 steals with 1.7 blocks. He has gone from a disinterested defender to a key defensive asset, which is especially important with Sixers’ star defensive wing Matisse Thybulle out for any away games.
Tobias Harris’ mindset during this playoff series has been different than we have seen before. He isn’t hesitating. He’s engaged on defense. I know it’s an extremely small sample size, and I know that there’s a chance that all of this great play could fall off of a cliff, but this just doesn’t appear to be the case. Tobias has been steadily improving his game since the new year, and the addition of James Harden to the starting 5 left his role even murkier. Yet thanks to the faith of Doc Rivers, and Tobias’s willingness to alter his game, he just might be able to show Sixers President Daryl Morey why he deserves to stay.