Harris Quickly Catches Fresh, Promising Feeling

by Brian Seltzer
Sixers.com Reporter

Eight seasons and more than 500 games counts for a good chunk of time in the NBA.

But for all that Tobias Harris has experienced, the 26-year old says he’s never felt anything like what he’s feeling now.

High internal expectations.

The confidence that comes with collective swagger.

Belief that attaining a title is truly possible.

After putting up 22 points, six rebounds, and six assists Sunday versus the Los Angeles Lakers, Harris still had played a mere 61 minutes for the 76ers, his fifth and newest team.

Not only did he have two wins against quality opponents to show for his efforts, but a pretty good sense of the type of situation he’s entered into - even if there’s been no personal basis for comparison.

“When you’re going to the game, you’re expecting to impose your will, and that’s a good feeling,” Harris said Sunday at The Center. “In my career, I’ve never been a part of that. To be part of it now, I love it.”

Retrace Harris’ path, and his immediate attraction to the Sixers becomes perfectly understandable.

Harris broke into the league in 2011, playing his first campaign with the Milwaukee Bucks. Since then, he’s been with the Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, and - up until last Wednesday’s blockbuster - the LA Clippers.

Just once has Harris been to the post-season - with the Detroit Pistons in 2016, when the squad was swept in a four-game series by LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Needless to say, for as much as the Sixers coveted Harris, the former no. 19 pick has long sought to suit up for a winner.

“I was just like, wow. This is going to be a really great opportunity to go to a team that is looking to win a championship. That was the most appealing thing to me, and I was happy about it.”

A pair of impact performances in front of a raucous home crowd, of course, makes it easy for the positive vibes to flow.

Between outings against the Denver Nuggets and Lakers, Harris has totaled 36 points on 57.7 percent shooting (15-26 fg, 5-8 3fg), plus 14 boards and nine dimes. Far more promising, however, has been his initial fit with the Sixers’ top unit.

It’s still so ridiculously early, but let’s run the numbers anyway.

In 30 minutes together, Harris, and fellow starters Ben Simmons, JJ Redick, Jimmy Butler, and Joel Embiid have combined to generate a 22.9 net rating - 121.4 points per 100 possessions on the offensive end, and 98.6 points allowed per 100 possessions on the defensive end.

Count Embiid among those who are encouraged.

“It’s only been two games, but I think we’ve got a chance,” he said Sunday. “We got to keep working, keep getting better, and learn how to play with each other.”

Harris too has chemistry on the mind. That, plus the Sixers’ ultimate goal.

“We’re not really playing these games just to win,” he said. “We’re playing them to win, but also be the best team that we can be all around. We’re just trying to get better each and every night any way possible.”

Catch the feeling, fresh as it may be, and don’t let go.

 

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