Tobias Harris: The NBA's Most Underrated Star
This season Tobias Harris is averaging 20.8 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game, and 3.6 assists per game all while shooting over 50% from the field, over 40% from behind the 3-pt line, and 90% from the free-throw line. If he is able to maintain these shooting percentages for the remainder of the regular season, Harris would be just the 9th player in NBA history to accomplish this feat, putting himself in a club with the likes of Larry Bird, Steve Nash, and Stephen Curry. Despite putting up these historic numbers, Tobias Harris once again found himself watching the NBA's All-Star Showcase from his living room after finishing just 13th overall in Eastern Conference frontcourt voting.
By failing to vote him onto the 2021 All-Star roster, the NBA players, coaches, fans, and media personnel cemented Tobias' status as the league's most underrated player. Tobias and the 76ers are currently locked in a tight race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference with the newly formed "superteam" in the Brooklyn Nets, and it's safe to say that Tobias is the main factor keeping Philly in the race. Tobias Harris' presence on the hardwood is an integral part of Philadelphia's success this season as the 76ers are 32-13 with him on the floor (0.71 Win%) and just 2-3 without him (0.40 Win%). This season, Tobias has stepped up his game when the Sixers are down a superstar, averaging 20.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 5.3 assists in games where Ben Simmons doesn't play and 22.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists in games without Joel Embiid.
Even though Tobias improves his already spectacular numbers in the absence of Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons, media and fans alike leave him out of conversations when discussing star power in the 76ers' lineup. Tobias not being viewed as a star in Philadelphia is nothing new; he's been facing this disrespect ever since the 76ers acquired him from the Los Angeles Clippers in February of 2019. First, the 76ers had only three stars in Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Jimmy Butler, and after Butler was shipped off to Miami the following offseason, a narrative was pushed that the Sixers were down to two stars. Tobias hears the disrespect and chose to comment on it in an interview with The Athletic's Sam Amick earlier this year: "You know that s--t pisses me off. I ain't even gonna lie... But I also kind of get it, because that's kind of been my whole life."
Adversity is nothing new to Tobias Harris as he's been doubted for his entire career, being traded four times before finally landing himself in Philadelphia. Tobias earned a five-year, $180 million max-contract in the summer of 2019 which was met with criticism from fans and media, adding yet another chip to an already decaying shoulder. Since signing that contract, Tobias has been playing well enough to silence the haters and prove that he belongs to be considered one of the NBA's elite players.