With Joel Embiid, James Harden, and the newly broken-out Tyrese Maxey on the roster, it can be easy to forget about Tobias Harris. But he’s the Sixers’ highest-paid player and, despite his myriad flaws, he’s integral to Philadelphia’s championship aspirations.
Harris played the best basketball of his Sixers career after Harden’s arrival last season. He reshaped his approach and bought into a more condensed role. Less is more — that’s the theme of Harris’ Philly tenure. When he focuses on doing the little things and playing within a team construct, that’s when Harris really thrives.
With the new season bringing high expectations, both individually and for the team, here are some individual goals Harris should strive to achieve.
Goal for Sixers’ Tobias Harris: 50/40/90
Harris has flirted with the prestigious 50/40/90 club on several occasions — most recently in 2020-21, when he posted .512/.394/.892 shooting splits. This could be the year Harris finally makes it over the hump. It’s hard to imagine a better setting for Harris to maximize his efficiency.
If there’s one thing James Harden does well, it’s create opportunities for teammates. He’s a 3-point generating machine. He can make every pass in the book, and even last season in a diminished athletic state, he drew swarms of defensive attention every time he drove the lane. Joel Embiid also commands significant defensive attention (there’s a double team practically every time he touches the ball), so Harris should have no shortage of clean looks from deep.
To boost Harris’ odds even further, he’s coming off the best stretch of shot selection in his career. Late in the regular season and into the playoffs, Harris focused almost exclusively on spot-up 3s and drives to the rim. He cut down on contested mid-range jumpers and ill-advised floaters, instead either shooting, driving, or passing. Hopefully that continues into the new year. If Harris takes the opportunities afforded to him without trying to force the issue, he’s more than capable of smashing his personal efficiency records.