Tobias Harris has come out of the gates this season on a hot streak, averaging 20 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and is doing all of that shooting an unbelievable 64.9% from the field. After another offseason of every one putting his name in trade rumors after another disappointing end to the season, Tobias looks the best he ever has in a Sixers uniform. Throughout his time in Philadelphia, Tobias’s large contract has led to a lot of criticism from fans and media, but now with Nick Nurse at the helm, Tobias looks like the player they paid for all those years ago. His sudden resurgence has fans wondering, what’s changed? Is this sustainable?
Tobias Harris has proven throughout his career that he is an effective scorer in the NBA, but there have definitely been times in Philadelphia where he looked lost on offense. A lot of his shots seemed forced or he would just be relegated to standing in the corner, where he could not consistently be an effective spot up shooter. This has a lot to do with Doc Rivers offense and how he drew up plays, which Nick Nurse has completely changed and players throughout the roster have been noticing.
All training camp it felt like every player mentioned how different the offense felt this year and how the increased ball movement made scoring so much easier. The heavy dosage of Embiid and Harden isolation plays were a thing of the past and now with a Nick Nurse led offense, there is more opportunities for players to contribute on the offensive end, especially for Tobias. Between the new scheme and the departure of James Harden, Tobias has taken full advantage of the opportunity and seems to be playing much more freely.
Tobias being a 20+ point scorer for this team immediately elevates them to being more serious contenders, especially when you factor in Kelly Oubre and Tyrese Maxey’s jumps offensively as well. The Sixers currently have four 20+ ppg. scorers which makes them a nightmare each night to game plan for defensively. If the group can keep this up, they are going to be extremely tough to beat on a nightly basis, and if the defense continues to play with the energy they have been, this Sixers team can really make noise in the playoffs.
Is this Sustainable?
As incredible as the start to the season has been, there is always a worry of believing the hype too soon, and there being an eventual slump over the course of the season. However because of how efficiently Tobias has been scoring to start the season, it makes you believe he can keep this up for longer than a couple of weeks. If he was jacking up 20+ shots a night and scoring most of his points from the free throw line, it would be easy to say a slump would be coming, but Tobias has been great in the flow of the offense and is capitalizing on the open looks.
The Sixers are not running plays specifically for Tobias but rather moving the ball around, hunting for the best shot and Tobias has been great at hunting those shots out. Whether that be easy looks in transition, attacking close outs, or simply catching and shooting in rhythm, Tobias has been incredibly efficient. Nurse has Tobias playing much more freely and when he is not over-thinking and just playing, Tobias can easily continue to average 20+ ppg this season. There will always be hot and cold nights in the NBA, but with the way this team is currently constructed and how freely they’re playing, Tobias can continue this hot start.