Should The Sixers Consider Trading Tobias Harris?

By Michael Doctorovitz, Sports Talk Philly Staff

The NBA season has not yet hit its halfway mark but it is never too early to think about potential trades. President of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, has always been someone who likes to make a big splash during the trade deadline and his teams are always involved in trade talks during the deadline and there is no reason why that should change this year.

With the Sixers currently sitting as the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 19-16 the front office should be looking to make a change to propel the Sixers through the second half of the season. The Sixers should be seeking defensive help, along with some more perimeter shooting. Perimeter shooting has been a problem in the past for this team and seems to be the achilles heal this year as well. The team currently ranks 14th overall in the NBA in three point percentage and 10th overall in the league in overall defense.

The athleticism of Tyrese Maxey has improved the teams defense recently and his emergence as the number two scoring option on the team decreases the value that Tobias Harris brings to the team. After flourishing in Doc Rivers' offense last season, Tobias Harris has seen his numbers drop so far this season, averaging 18.5 points on 45.2% from the field and 29.6% from 3. Last season Harris averaged 19.5 points per contest on 51.2% from the field and 39.4% from 3. He has played better as of late which gives him more trade value with the trade deadline fast approaching. 

While the stalemate with Ben Simmons still lingers over this team, a move needs to be made to bring in more scoring options and playmakers to surround Joel Embiid with. Harris has been a good scoring option in the past but with his struggles from 3 this year, it is much easier for teams to fall back on him a little bit on defense to help contain Embiid down low. This has been a major problem in the past: clogging the lane. If it wasn't Ben Simmons, it was Al Horford or before him it was Jahlil Okafor but this has continued to be an issue over Embiid's career and with Simmons currently not in the offense, now is the time to surround Embiid with perimeter shooting. 

Harris has improved as a defender this year and is putting up similar numbers to the past, if you don't look at the percentages. His lack of shooting well consistently from outside the arc and his dependency on shooting from mid range is the biggest issue. Last season, Harris had one of his best shooting seasons but with the drop off in consistency he has become more of a liability on offense alongside Joel.

Harris' contract also plays a big part. In the 2019 offseason, Harris signed a 5 year $180 million contract and has made little to no improvement from 2019 to 2021. The disgruntled Ben Simmons and his contract also play a part in if the Sixers decide to keep Harris but Simmons has very little to no trade value and seems like he will hold out for as long as he can until he gets what he wants.

The Sixers and Harris are caught between a rock and hard place. The team needs to improve without giving up any of their young core players, they don't want to waste away Joel Embiid's prime years, Harris has consistency issues but brings good veteran leadership to the team and has improved on defense and then of course there is the whole Ben Simmons issue which has almost caused a domino affect for this to happen. 

The NBA trade deadline is a little over a month away, February 10 at 3 p.m., and a lot can happen over a month of play in the NBA but the Sixers do need to make a move or they will find themselves making another early playoff exit, if they even make the playoffs. 


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