Philadelphia 76ers: Tobias Harris gets no All-Star respect

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Despite playing a vital role in the Philadelphia 76ers’ success so far this season, Tobias Harris has once again been snubbed by the All-Star voters.

Tobias Harris is a classic NBA glue guy.

Sure, he can take over a game and lead the Philadelphia 76ers in scoring, as the 27-year-old swing forward has scored 25 or more points 10 times over the 2019-20 season’s first 50 games, but when was the last time we had a Tobias Harris game?

Maybe that one game against the Brooklyn Nets earlier this month?

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In the Sixers’ 108-91 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, Harris led the team in scoring with 29 points on 20 shots, and yet, he was understandably overshadowed by Ben Simmons and his 28-10 double-double to the point where I totally forgot how instrumental he was to the win.

That lack of flash might explain why Harris was overlooked, yet again, as an All-Star game reserve.

After failing to be voted into the game as a starter, an outcome that admittedly was woefully predictable, some fans in the 215 still held out hope that Harris would sneak into the game as a coach-selected reserve to represent the East alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and may never happen due to how Harris plays the game.

While Harris is clearly one of the best players in the league at what he does, and he’s being paid handsomely for it, 3-and-D wings are a dime a dozen, and seldom get the appreciation they deserve because of their perceived lack of involvement in the game.

Because Harris is only occasionally tasked with running the show on the offensive side of the ball, hunting mid-range buckets in the paint like a millennial Carmelo Anthony, outside observers sometimes forget just how important his role is as an intermediate between Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Harris is also the Sixers’ highest volume shooter from 3 point range, where the ninth-year forward takes an average of five shots a game.

Harris is also a deceptively effective defender, according to ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus. I know, I know, that is hardly the rub of Harris as a player, but as crazy as it sounds, he’s actually ranked the third-best defensive small forward in the league with a 3.09 DRPM, below only LeBron James, and Kawhi Leonard, and maybe even more surprisingly above Jimmy Butler.

Now granted, those numbers may be a tad unreliable, as Simmons is typically tasked with covering an opposing team’s best wing scorer, but still, impressive stuff for Harris.

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Maybe number 12 was looked over because he’s the third-best player on an underperforming Philadelphia 76ers squad, or maybe it’s because the coaches polled genuinely believe that players like Khris Middleton, Bam Adebayo, and Domantas Sabonis are more impactful players, but if I were coaching one of the teams, I’d personally love to have Tobias Harris on my team, as his 3-and-D skill set fits perfectly on any team in the modern NBA.