NBA Playoffs: 3 X-Factor Sixers that could surprise us, 2 that could fall flat

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Tobias Harris

Harris is my second Philadelphia 76ers’ X-factor that could surprise us this postseason. I am not here for the Tobias hate that seems to circulate regularly in the Philadelphia media. It has to be written every time we discuss Tobias, he is overpaid for his contribution to the current team. Ok now that we have gotten that out of the way, we must look at Tobias while ignoring his contract to judge him unbiasedly.

This season, Harris has been struggling to figure out his role as Tyrese Maxey is having a breakout year and solidifying himself as part of the Sixers Big-3 alongside Joel Embiid and James Harden. Naturally, that bumps Harris to the fourth option on offense, and with fewer touches comes inconsistency and making it hard to get into an offensive groove.

As of late though, Harris has found his stride and is shooting incredibly efficiently. On the season his field-goal percentage is a career-high 50.1% and in March he had 6 games where he shot higher than 60% from the field including two games over 70% shooting and one game at 83.3%(!) With fewer shots available to him, Harris is finding how to make the most of the ones he does get and is much more important to this team than many realize.

Tobias is remarkably close to the extremely elusive 50/40/90 club.

This is when a player shoots 50% from the field, 40% from the three-point range, and 90% from the free-throw line. He is 1.1% off the three-point percentage of 40 and 2.6% off of the free throw percentage of 90. There are only 9 players in NBA history to ever achieve that feat in a single regular season.

What is most interesting to me is the fact that everyone seems to have a such short memory and forgets what Tobias did last playoffs for this Sixers team. As memory serves, Embiid was in and out of the lineup due to injury and Harden struggled to mesh with the team he joined only two months prior. Harris was the one that steadied the ship averaging 17 points and 8 rebounds on 50% shooting in the series against Toronto and Miami.

Harris was also the most effective defender on the team last postseason and raised his game to match the height of the moment. I expect nothing less from Tobias these upcoming playoffs and I think we will be talking positively about him as a reason we win games.