Tobias Harris has always been a solid player since coming into the NBA. However, teams couldn't get the best out of him. After stints with the Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic, and the Detroit Pistons, Harris landed in the best situation for himself when he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers to play under Doc Rivers.
His numbers reached career-high levels in Los Angeles. During the 2018-2019 season, Harris was averaging 20 points per game while draining almost 50-percent of his field goals and averaging 43-percent from three.
Knowing he would hit free agency and cash out in the summer of 2019, the Clippers took advantage of Harris' short-term success and traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers, who were gearing up for a playoff run.
Under former Sixers head coach Brett Brown, Harris wasn't the same. In his first 27 games with the 76ers, Harris averaged 18 points and shot 46-percent from the field and just 32-percent from beyond the arc.
Although the Sixers invested max money into the veteran forward with the idea of him returning to LA form the following year, Harris still came up short, despite having a decent first full season in the City of Brotherly Love.
Following the 2020 playoff run, the Sixers hit a major low point. They got swept in the first round by the Boston Celtics, Brett Brown lost his job, and Harris' contract was regarded as one of the worst deals in the NBA after a rough showing in the postseason.
As Harris stated a couple of months ago, Philly fans were ready to carry him out of his home and get him out of town. But these days, he's celebrated now that the coach who had him putting up career-high numbers has reunited with him.
When the Sixers hired Doc Rivers in the offseason, many believed it was a great move considering he's helped Harris play his best ball before. As Harris is viewed as an All-Star caliber player and notching career-best numbers once again on a top Eastern Conference squad, it's truly no fluke that Rivers knows how to get the best out of the former first-round pick. Recently, in an interview with Basketball News' Spencer Davies, Harris explained why that is.
“I would say that just the way that he’s pushed me [has unleashed the best in me],” Harris said. “I think a lot of people look at it and think like, it magically happens, but he’s a coach that pushes me a whole lot — on the floor, off the floor — and he puts me in those positions to make things happen. He shows a lot of trust in my game and knows where is best for me on the court, but also, lets me know where he kinda doesn’t want me in different situations."
Before the 2020-2021 season tipped off, Rivers mentioned that he wanted Harris to make quicker decisions and not dribble as much on offense. When looking at film of Harris last season, Rivers believed the veteran forward was trying to do too much.
This year, Harris is hesitating less and letting it fly without thinking. 46 games into the year, that strategy has resulted in him averaging 20 points per game, hitting on 52-percent of his field-goal attempts, and knocking down 40-percent of his threes.
In addition to his offense, Harris has also stepped up on the defensive end as well since Rivers claimed that defense wins championships, and the Sixers have to be one of the best in that category if they want to go far.