No one has seen more ups and downs in a season quite like Tobias Harris. His recent struggles have been hard for the Sixers to overcome, especially with the absence of Joel Embiid – and now Tyrese Maxey. Harris is the epitome of a rollercoaster player.

We’re at the top 

There have been many stretches in Harris’ career as a Sixer where he’s played like an all-star. This season, Harris is averaging 17.5 points on 49% shooting (35% from three), 6 rebounds, and 3 assists, which, on a stat sheet, isn’t bad at all. His impact on the team may not seem so prevalent on the court at times, but it goes beyond what fans can see. He’s a leader, a mentor, and the type of character every team wants in their locker room. When he’s playing at his best, this team is nearly unbeatable.

There are many instances where Tobias’ play, whether it’s his scoring, defense, or other overlooked stats, have lead the Sixers to victory this season, even though it doesn’t seem like it. Just recently, Harris led the way to victories against both the Hornets and Mavericks, which made it feel like he was getting out of his recent slump. Or so we thought.

And here comes the drop 

Following those two games, Harris put up, let’s say, less than stellar performances. Actually, it was pretty unacceptable, especially against two teams who are fighting for draft positions. This is just a testament to how Harris’ season has gone. And let’s face it, Tobias has been and always will be a streaky player. He seems to always go on cold stretches that happen at the worst times.

It’s easy to understand fans’ frustration with his shortcomings when there’s no Joel or Tyrese to pick them up. He absolutely needs to play better and take over the major scoring portion when they’re not playing; there’s no excuse for it. Only scoring a total of 8 points against the 13th seed in the West isn’t going to cut it now, and definitely not in the playoffs.

Entering the loop 

Tobias is in his contract season. This is the final year of his five-year, $180 million contract with the Sixers, and none of those five years have been easy. He’s made a lot of sacrifices in his role and style of play for this team, which is not easy, but it isn’t an excuse either when Embiid and Maxey are not playing.

It’s normal if the shots are not falling; not everyone plays great all the time. That doesn’t justify some low effort and poor decision-making that ends up infecting the rest of the team. The biggest factor for Harris right now to get back into a good rhythm is confidence. He needs to play with confidence, get to his spots, and be more aggressive. Whatever happened in the Charlotte and Dallas games, he needs to find a way to continue to put that same effort out there every night.

It’s not that Sixers fans need to give him a Trea Turner standing ovation, but while he’s on our team, we still have to support him. It’s ok to boo and let him know we’re frustrated, but he’s just as frustrated, if not more. Hopefully, he’s able to climb his way out of this slump before the playoffs and bring back that all-star Tobias we know and miss.

Photo: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

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