Harris' playoff performances are both disappointing and mystifying

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Putting it mildly, the NBA bubble is turning into an abattoir for Tobias Harris. Matching up with the Celtics in the first round was an enormous task for the Sixers even with a healthy Ben Simmons. Without him, Harris is disappointingly Mickey Mousing around in Disney World.

It’s an awkward time to have a dry spell. Joel Embiid is playing inspired, “empty the tank” basketball and the Sixers’ highest-paid player, Harris, can’t hit an elephant in the butt with an ironing board. Harris is 0 for 10 from three-point range against Boston and 16 for 48 overall through three games. In fact, the numbers are trending uncomfortably downward for the 28-year-old over his last several playoff games. It’s like he’s shooting jumpers on the janky rims at the Jersey boardwalk.

No one is harder on Harris than himself. His work ethic, dedication and passion for his craft are well-documented. He wants to play well for himself, his teammates and the city of Philadelphia. He deserves a ton of credit for the galvanizing, jovial vibes which floated through the team when the squad started to quarantine, resumed practice and transitioned to the Orlando Bubble. He’s a leader, flat out. 

Those facts are what makes his playoff swoon that much more mystifying, because he puts the time in and you would think good karma alone would propel him past his paltry 33 percent shooting clip this postseason. Those are clearly less than ideal numbers for a player signed to a five-year, $180 million contract.


When asked about his team now being down 3-0, a deficit no NBA team has ever come back from, Harris told reporters, “We’re truly not worried about that stat. All we can do is control the next one and control our effort, our energy, our spirit.”

Based on what the Sixers have shown thus far against the Celtics, the team’s effort, energy and spirit have been squished under the heel of some jump-shooting leprechauns from Beantown.