A whole lot of names were being discussed in trade rumors yesterday, but not once did I see Tobias Harris brought up. While surprising, Harris fits the one massive need the 76ers have had since the Jimmy Butler trade earlier this season; three point shooting. Looking at his career deep ball average, 36.7%, you’d immediately think Philly blew up their bench for a slightly above average three point shooter. However, Harris has shot north of 40% each of the last two seasons, and is currently sitting on a career high of 43.4%. The addition of Harris is less about what he can do and more about what this means for Joel Embiid. It’s not a secret that Philly has no offensive spacing. Last year in the conference semi finals, Boston peppered Embiid with delayed traps and double teams. With no credible long range shooters outside of Redick, Embiid was stuck, and Boston took the series in 5 games. Until Ben Simmons stops having nightmares about shooting behind the three point line, Embiid’s issues over a seven game series weren’t going anywhere. While early season acquisition Jimmy Butler is shooting above his career average from deep this year (37%) it isn’t enough to alleviate the pressure of the franchise big man. This is where Harris will have the most impact.
The massive issue for Philadelphia though, is their lack of good basketball players on the bench. Notable yucky basketball players, TJ McConnell and Furkan Korkmaz, are going to need to maximize their output in their expanded roles. However, a key aspect of this trade is going to be Boban. If he can be even slightly serviceable, it makes Coach Brown minute management significantly less stressful. Coach Brown had just about as bad a showing a coach can have last year against Boston, but he did finish fourth in Coach of the Year voting last season. If he coaches like the mastermind he last March, and not the timeout hoarding idiot he was in May, this teams bench may not be much of an issue at all.
The pros and cons of this trade are clearly extreme. Until further notice, Harris is a rental, and with Jimmy Butler also a free agent next year, the 76ers may have stripped their entire team to finish fourth in the East. I do truly think though, if they can bring back at least one of Butler or Harris, they have a strong core going forward. Only time will tell, and with Philly going all in around the deadline, business is picking up in the East.
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