Philadelphia 76ers: Tobias Harris is a really good dude

(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

Between his on-court prowess and his off-court generosity, it’s not hard to see why the Philadelphia 76ers valued Tobias Harris so highly in free agency.

Tobias Harris is a really good dude.

On the court, the Philadelphia 76ers‘ 6-foot-9, 235-pound Tennessee product has effectively become the living embodiment of the modern-day NBA combo forward ideal: A big, position flexible wingman who can score from all three levels, switch out on opposing defenders one-through-five, and knockdown outside shots like a supersized shooting guard.

But Harris’ on-court abilities aren’t the sole reason Elton Brand handed the 27-year-old forward a four-year, $180 million max extension, or traded two first-round picks and Landry Shamet to bring him to town in the first place. No, Brand specifically targeted Harris three(ish) months after pulling off a similar trade for another 6-foot-8 forward because of his pristine fit in the team’s burgeoning culture.

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While Harris may not have the accolades, reputation, or All-Star appearances of his former teammate Jimmy Butler, you will never hear a bad word about the combo forward from any of his former teams, or the 50 odd players he’s shared the court with.

Can Butler say the same? I digress.

No matter how you feel about the decision to commit big money to Harris based on his (albeit) limited sample size in a (Sixers) red, white, and blue jersey, you can’t knock how he’s already started to use said money – in a community he’s called home for all of six months.

On the eve of opening night, Harris held a ‘community draft‘ of sorts to donate a combined $1 million to charities in the greater Philadelphia area. Held at the Mastery Prep Elementary School, Harris’ event exemplified the power a professional athlete – one in his mid-20s no less – has to make a difference and inspire those around him.

Oh yeah, and the very next day, Harris led the 76ers to their first win of the season in a true blue South Philly street fight against the Boston Celtics at the Wells Fargo Center. Splitting time between the three and the four, Harris led all players in minutes, rebounds, and 3 pointers made to a 15-15 double-double, while keeping an at-times stagnant offense humming through a back and forth bout before bursting out to a game-winning fourth quarter.

Harris also has a 40 percent 3 point shooting percentage on the season, though that isn’t particularly hard to do when you’ve only attempted five shots.

Next. Matisse Thybulle got the last laugh on Boston. dark

With an encouraging handle and an ability to score at will from pretty much anywhere on the court, it’s not hard to imagine Tobias Harris replacing Jimmy Butler as the Philadelphia 76ers’ fourth-quarter closer for the 2019 season and beyond – and unlike Butler, he’s going to do so while setting an excellent example for fans the world over of using an elevated platform for good.