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Don’t overlook Tobias Harris’ impact on and off the court

Tobias Harris is flourishing under new head coach Nick Nurse and continuing to embrace the Philly community.

Philadelphia 76ers v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Philadelphia is a tough city. Nothing is easy within the city limits, and the same rings true for the sports franchises.

Jrue Holiday was asked prior to a recent matchup against the 76ers for his thoughts on his career and current role with the Celtics.

“If you know anything about Philly...if you can play or live here, you can make it pretty much anywhere.” Holiday said. “I think those first four years were really big for me because I grew as a person, I grew in maturity, and then I became an All-Star my last year, then I got traded to New Orleans.”

In essence, what Holiday expressed is an expectation and right of passage in regard to Philadelphia. There is a current member of the team who would more than likely agree with Holiday’s sentiment.

Much has been said and written about the contract and performance of Tobias Harris. Nevertheless, he has maintained professionalism and he has done the necessary things to help the 76ers remain relevant in the conference. Last year in the playoffs he was the catalyst for the sweep over Brooklyn after Joel Embiid went down with an injury. Through the start of this season, he has proven to be the person who is able to do whatever is asked of him.

The offense is running through Tyrese Maxey and Embiid, however the clear third option has emerged with Harris at the forefront, as the team adjusts to the absence of Kelly Oubre, Jr. Harris is currently averaging 19.5 points while hauling in 6.8 rebounds per game. He is in the last year of his contract, and while that makes him very marketable in a trade, he is proving his value each and every game. He is taking quality shots, shooting 55.9% from the floor, 35.7% from three and 89.1% from the free-throw line.

Off the court, he has become a man about town, settling into the restaurants and local shops, making Philadelphia his residence, which is roughly less than 100 miles from his native Long Island.

“I’ve been here for some time, I embrace anywhere I’m at,” Harris said. “I live in Philadelphia, I’m a resident here, so I’m always figuring out different places out in the community to be a part of and to support...I support a lot of local coffee shops, and there are different restaurants that I go to, and I respect that scene and the hard work that people put into establishing small businesses for themselves.”

Harris has been seen or portrayed as a scapegoat during his tenure as with the 76ers, and he discussed the interesting dichotomy of being on the team and member of the community

“It is all part of being in the community, and being somewhere and embracing everything about it outside of sports, so it is fun for me to be out, explore, and meet new people, and build relationships, it’s big, [however], I try to keep it low key.”

Harris has let his game do the talking with consistency, a hard work ethic and a team-first attitude. His minutes are up and he’s made the most of his opportunities. He’s maintaining his efficiency from the field and beyond the perimeter.

Harris is playing with intelligence and a level of comfort that will propel Philadelphia toward continuity, cohesiveness and more wins.

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