Tobias Harris plays the trading block

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It’s no secret that Tobias Harris‘ name has been mentioned by the Philadelphia 76ers in more than a few trade conversations in 2022.

Whether requested to be included in a proposed agreement alongside Ben Simmons in a deal with the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings, circled a team like the OKC Thunder in a glorified salary dump, or suggested as an off-season business goal to free up max contract money according to Zach Lowe , the chances of Harris remaining a member of the Sixers in the third year of his five-year, $180 million contract felt more unlikely with each passing month since the James Harden acquisition.

Unfortunate? For Harris, you bet; after bouncing around the league in the first decade of his career, Tennessee pride finally found a home in Philadelphia and finally had the opportunity to play for a consistent contender.

But hey, it’s not all bad; apparently Tobias Harris saw these rumors and took them personally because he played some of the best basketball of his career in the Philadelphia 76ers first round series against the Toronto Raptors and made the plays necessary to get his trade name. block indefinitely.

The Philadelphia 76ers can continue to build around playoff Tobias Harris.

The Philadelphia 76ers can’t win Game 3 without Tobias Harris. Like literally; Harris put the screen on the final overtime game which released a Joel Embid 3 with 0.8 seconds remaining on the clock.

Playing a man because of Matisse Thybulle’s vaccination status, Harris took the court to the Air Canada Center Scotiabank Arena with a bigger set of responsibilities than in the previous two games of the series, and he backed it up with a great all-around performance at both ends of the court.

While some will quibble with his point total, while Harris only had 11 in 46 minutes of action after averaging 23.5 in the first two games, he rounded out his stat line with 12 rebounds. , two assists, a steal, a block and a few. the best defense he’s played all season. Whether he was tasked with slowing down Pascal Siakam or moving on to OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa or even Gary Trent Jr., Harris put in maximum effort every second he was on the court and did the little things necessary to keep his team alive in a game that hasn’t seen them lead a second in regulation.

In a game that came down to a very consequential few seconds, Harris kept the ball out of Toronto’s hands at the end of regulation with a vital offensive rebound, recorded two more rebounds in overtime and blocked a Trent Jr shot. . which would have given the Raptors a lead with just two minutes of free basketball to play – in addition to the aforementioned screen that released Embiid for a shot so good it hit one. well granny Raptors fan up to the hands and knees.

Not too shabby for a player who didn’t score after 8:50 in the fourth quarter.

According to FiveThirtyEight, Harris has the highest defensive raptor rating of any Sixers player so far in the playoffs – 15th overall – and was the team’s second most impactful player behind only Tyrese Maxey. Now I know Nate Silver’s crew got a bad rap for their stats helping support Nikola JokicThe NBA’s MVP campaign, but those numbers certainly match the eyesight test, and the defensive win share stat from the NBA’s Advanced Analytics Department, which ranked Harris 10th overall.

So what can Tobias Harris do to ensure he’s still a member of the Philadelphia 76ers this fall? Easy: Play exactly as it plays now. Make quick decisions with the ball, try all 3 when they come their way, and do all the little things that make a player a favorite of his coaching staff and teammates. With Joel Embiid in place as the team’s focal point, James Harden accepting the role of an offensive floor general, and Tyrese Maxey fully emerging as an unstoppable scoring force, the Sixers’ fourth scorer must be a glue guy capable of filling roster gaps, playing his part and put his team in the best position to succeed. Luckily, Harris has a reputation as a great team guy, so that should be fine.

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