Philadelphia 76ers: Tobias Harris’ new number officially ends ‘The Process’

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

By switching his number from 33 to 12, Tobias Harris has symbolically closed ‘The Process’-era of Philadelphia 76ers’ basketball.

After taking up Robert Covington‘s number 33 jersey upon being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers back in February, Tobias Harris has officially switched jersey numbers for the 2019-20 NBA season.

And if you’ve watched the Sixers at all over the last four seasons, it’s a number you’ll recognize quite well: 12.

Yes, 12, the number worn for the better part of three seasons by everyone’s favorite 6-foot-2 undrafted free agent out of Arizona, T.J. McConnell, who vacated it upon signing a two-year, $7 million deal to join the Indiana Pacers in free agency.

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Is this development really newsworthy? Eh, but in a weird way, Elton Brand‘s $180 million commitment to a super-sized, switchable forward like Harris at the expense of a hardworking overachiever like McConnell marks a new era of basketball in the City of Brotherly Love; an era of top-heavy, win-it-all bravado.

While fans initially argued about how the 76ers should tackle free agency in the lead-up to June 30th, with seemingly everyone having a defined opinion on Harris, Jimmy Butler, Al Horford, and pretty much every player on the market, it’s not hard to understand Brand’s desire to keeping Tobias in the fray.

He’s young (27 on July 15th), a good shooter (36.4 from 3), and a genuinely great guy both on and off the court; basically everything a front office could want in a max contract third star.

Harris is also going to be a huge part of the 76ers’ offense next season, serving as the team’s primary shooting option on the wings alongside fellow Tennessee Volunteers alum Josh Richardson.

Say what you will about the team’s new philosophy, but it’s clearly a diversion from the Sixers’ style when McConnell initially came to town.

As things presently stand, only two players, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, were even on the roster the last time the 76ers missed the postseason.

That’s right, at the tender age of 25, Embiid is now the team’s most tenured player with three earned seasons of action (over five years).

Is this new brand of on the fly player acquisition as opposed to traditional player development the right way to go in the ‘Player Development’-era of NBA basketball? Probably so, but it just doesn’t feel as personal.

Next. T.J. McConnell was a homegrown hero. dark

Now sure, Harris didn’t initially pick number 33 because of Covington – his previous number, 34, is already retired thanks to Sir Charles Barkley – and he didn’t pick 12 because of McConnell (more on that here), but by cycling through arguably the two most iconic numbers in ‘Process’ history, Tobias has established his own place in Philadelphia 76ers basketball, and could eventually be the final player to wear 12 in our fair city.