Why Tobias Harris could have his best year yet for the 76ers this season

Tobias Harris, 76ers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Tobias Harris, 76ers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

Throughout his tenure repping the Philadelphia 76ers, veteran forward Tobias Harris has become somewhat of an afterthought, being almost exclusively tethered to the negative connotations of his albatross contract instead of his rock solid contributions.

Admittedly though, Harris flying under the radar has not been surprising. In fact, after registering 18.7 points in his first four seasons with the 76ers, the 31-year-old logged a meager 14.7 points per game last season — his lowest scoring output since 2015-16 with the Orlando Magic.

Doc Rivers has forced him into metamorphosing as a strictly spot-up threat last season. Among all the team’s regulars in the previous campaign, Harris finished sixth in usage rating. In comparison, look at his ranking on the same department in the previous three seasons: 2nd, 2nd, 3rd.

Tobias Harris could have his best season yet for the Philadelphia 76ers this season

That script is bound to be flipped this season. With Nick Nurse inclined toward diminishing the team’s iso-centric attack and James Harden projected to miss most, if not all games due to his religious devotion to the get-me-out-of-here playbook, Tobias Harris would undoubtedly be thrust into a more prominent role offensively.

Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey would naturally be the one-two punch taking on most of the scoring load, but Harris should neatly succeed as a third option on an offense that should thrive with more spontaneity which has long been his strong suit. Throughout his career, Harris has been the most effective when given the freedom to seek mismatches for himself and find his spots in non-static configurations.

Better yet, attendant consequence of a drop-off in efficiency should not cling onto him with more usage — his 48.8 percent field goal shooting since donning the 76ers colorway suggests otherwise.

The Philadelphia 76ers need all the help they can get as they navigate through the hard-to-predict waters of moving on from their disgruntled sidekick in their bid to remain in the championship hunt. A more assertive and free Tobias Harris will be critical to the team’s plans this year and given the signs we have seen, that should materialize after a one-year interstitial on that end.