The Sixers’ solution to their ‘Tobias Harris problem’ is clear after win vs. Mavs

Note: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links, Schneps Media may earn a commission.
Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris (12) celebrates his 3-pointer as Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero (5) reacts during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

The Philadelphia 76ers have had their struggles following Joel Embiid’s meniscus surgery. One player, in particular, has received much more heat than anyone else on the Sixers. That player is Tobias Harris.

Harris fell into a slump after the All-Star break, shooting well below his season field goal percentage of 50 percent. Over this four-game stretch, Harris averaged just under 11 PPG on 32 percent FG%. During a long period without the reigning MVP, his slump wasn’t very timely. This poor level of play began to beg the question:

What is the Sixers’ solution to their Tobias Harris problem?

Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton, right, defends against Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris (12) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Initially, many jumped straight to the conclusion of benching Harris. His level of play was more than subpar, as even an undrafted rookie was outplaying him in his position. During his slump, benching him made a lot of sense. That idea, however, was much easier said than done.

Up until now, Harris has done everything the Sixers have asked of him regarding adjusting his role with the team. After everything, to now ask him to come off the bench could be interpreted as the ultimate slight to a player who, whether or not one wishes to admit it, has been a core leader for the team. Furthermore, Harris proved why that idea is ridiculous as he began a new hot streak in Charlotte. 

Regardless of how bad the Charlotte Hornets may be, Harris played a very good game to put an end to his shooting slump. Scoring 31 points on 13-19 shooting, he led the way in a Sixers victory. While this performance was solid, he followed it up with an even better performance. Harris again led the way for Philadelphia by recording 28 points and six rebounds in the Sixers’ second-straight win.

Though he scored fewer points, Harris hit some incredibly clutch shots to secure a victory. Before hitting either of those shots, he also fought for a key offensive rebound that led to two second-chance points. While many fans remain frustrated with Harris, he did prove why he’s an NBA starter. 

Regarding how the Sixers would deal with Harris, the solution became very evident. Simply let him play. Harris is a player who goes through peaks and valleys, going on hot and cold streaks. His most recent cold streak just happened to come at an unfortunate time. As he continues to play, he’ll have more games like his previous two. That said, he’ll also have more poor performances. Regardless, come playoffs, it won’t matter all that much. 

The true beauty of adding Buddy Hield to the Sixers is that Harris becomes the true fourth option with Embiid in the lineup. Both Hield and Maxey will get a plethora of open looks as Embiid returns to action. Even with Embiid off the floor, additions like Kelly Oubre Jr. and Kyle Lowry will take more pressure off Harris.  To put it simply, when Harris is hot, he will certainly help the Sixers.

However, if he’s cold, the other players will likely step up, and his poor performance won’t matter as much. In previous years, the Sixers didn’t have scorers like Hield and Oubre to take the weight off Harris’s shoulders. This is a much more complete team than any other team in the Embiid era. A healthy Sixers run in the playoffs should scare a lot of people, including the Boston Celtics.