Harris Hopes to Help Through Versatility

by Brian Seltzer
Sixers.com Reporter

A positive attitude, and the purposeful pursuit of improvement.

Those were two key ingredients that Tobias Harris felt were important to bring to Sunday afternoon’s practice in Toronto, where the 76ers got back to work following their second-round Game 1 loss.

Harris, like the rest of his teammates, had stretches of sound play against the Raptors. Toronto, however, proved too much in the end.

For Harris in particular, he’s offered the Sixers a diverse skill set to deploy during the postseason.

Examining first his offensive contributions, the eight-year veteran entered the Eastern Conference Semifinals having drilled 10 of his 20 3-point attempts in the playoffs. He was one of just seven players in the entire NBA to net double-digit threes while shooting at least 50% from deep.

Beyond what Harris gives the Sixers from...beyond, he’s also proven effective at scoring at two other levels as well - making him all the more tricky of a matchup for opponents.

Get Harris going to the basket, and he can finish strong at the rim. Give him room around the foul line or the elbows, and the 26-year old can steadily stroke it.

Overall, he’s 8 for 17 on mid-range jumpshots in the postseason, according to stats.nba.com.

Harris, of course, is more than just a scorer. He boasts a solid handle and quality facilitating touch, his per-36 minute assist numbers increasing by more than 50% in the postseason (2.9 vs 4.5).

And as demonstrated in Saturday’s loss to the Raptors, Harris also provides the Sixers with a pivotal presence on the backboards. His rebounding - especially in the first half, which saw him bring down eight of his team-high 15 caroms - generated extra scoring opportunities that were needed to keep the Sixers within striking distance.

Harris finished the evening with his third postseason double-double (he had one in the first round versus Brooklyn as well).

What about Harris has stood out to Brett Brown lately?

“His versatility,” the head coach said Sunday. “We can put him in a pick and roll, he can make a three, he can guard a guard, he can guard a small forward.”

“I think for me it was just more anxious to get out there and play, obviously being traded and part of a new team,” said Harris, when asked about playing in the postseason for the second time in his career. “Overall I think it’s been good. I’ve been focused and healthy, and those are things I pride myself on.”

Looking ahead to Monday’s second go-round with the Raptors, Harris & Co. are intent on taking a split back to South Philadelphia.

In order for that to happen, he knows that the Sixers will have to do a better job of being physical with and showing a crowd to Toronto’s two standouts from Game 1 - Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam.

“The beauty about the playoffs is how you make an adjustment, how you come back game-to-game, and to be locked in and focused to win,” Harris said. “I think I’ve done a great job of that, our team too. We look to bring that into Game 2 and be ready to play.”

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