The 76ers were aggressive this offseason, and I applaud them for that. My biggest problem is that Philadelphia signed Tobias Harris to a 5 year, $180 million deal. Most talent evaluators would say he is a good player, but he is a player that needs the ball. With the Los Angeles Clippers, Harris was having the best year of his career averaging 20.9 ppg along with career highs in field goal % and 3 point %. Then once he came to Philadelphia, he had fine numbers. The problem was efficiency. His 43.4% 3 point percentage with the Clippers dropped to 32.6% when he played with the 76ers. The reason for this is because, in Los Angeles, they were giving him consistent touches and made him a focal point. With the 76ers, his usage rating went down as well as his shooting went down. This a player that needs to be kept engaged and the 76ers don’t have enough ball to go around with Simmons, Embiid, Richardson, and Horford now. I realize the 76ers are trying to be aggressive, because they have a chance to win the title, but overpaying for Harris won’t help. Kris Middleton for the Milwaukee Bucks just got paid a similar contract as Harris, but I can justify Middleton. He fits within their system and the players the Bucks have around him. Some wings don’t need the ball at a high rate to be effective. They will be the same player no matter what their usage rate is. These players include the likes of Klay Thompson, Bradley Beal, and Kris Middleton. Then some players need a higher usage rate or else they will not positively affect the game. These players include Carmelo Anthony, Jayson Tatum, and Tobias Harris. The 76ers can’t just expect Tobias Harris to wait in the corner and be a spot-up shooter. He is just not that type of player. Now the 76ers are going to be paying him a fully guaranteed $180 million over the next 5 years to play a role that doesn’t mesh with his game. When Harris joined the 76ers, he recorded a box plus-minus score of -0.7, which means he played just below average for the team. The 76ers could have used the money they’re paying Tobias for multiple role players to make this team deeper. Tobias Harris is in a weird class of players where you know they are talented, but their game is best as a ball-dominant player. Then even when he is the go-to guy, there is a low ceiling trying to play through him. There is a reason why Tobias has been on 5 teams in 8 seasons. It is difficult to win with someone like Tobias Harris.
Article written by Bradley Patten
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Photo Credit to Elsa/Getty Images for Tobias Harris Image (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/19/sports/tobias-harris-philadelphia-76ers.html)