Playing in the city of Philadelphia on a max contract hasn't been easy for Sixers veteran Tobias Harris. After a decent first season on his long-term deal, Harris probably noticed that the criticism had outweighed the praise.
By no means was Harris underwhelming in 2019-2020. In 72 games, he averaged 19 points and 6.9 rebounds while shooting 47-percent from the field and 37-percent from three. Again, not bad -- but also not great when you consider the contract he received last summer.
Harris went into the shortened 2020 offseason knowing he needed to get better. So, he dropped some pounds, worked on his quickness, and took the advice of his head coach, Doc Rivers, by making quicker decisions with the ball.
So far, Harris has been off to a fantastic start to the 2020-2021 NBA season. In 28 games, Harris has averaged 20 points and 7.8 rebounds while draining 51-percent of his shots from the field and 40-percent of his three-pointers.
Considering he's the second-best offensive player on the Eastern Conference's top team currently, Harris deserves a bid to his first NBA All-Star game this year. However, with the way the voting results are shaping up, Harris has a better chance of being left out of the game, becoming one of the biggest snubs of the year.
In addition to possibly being left out of the All-Star game, Harris also constantly hears about how Philadelphia has just two stars on the squad in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. While he certainly doesn't hold anything against Simmons or Embiid, the veteran forward believes the Sixers should be viewed as a team that has a Big Three due to his presence.
"Yeah, you know, that sh*t pisses me off. I ain’t even gonna lie. But I also kind of get it because that’s kind of been me my whole life....
"I’ve come to grips that I’m not the flashiest player, not the sought-after hype machine type guy, you know?...
"At the end of the day, [winning is] all that matters to me, really. But I do hear it, and it does get to me at times, but I have to stay rooted in who I am and what I want to be known for at the end of the day."
An All-Star game appearance would certainly help put a "star" label on Harris and help the critics view him in a better light. But the chances of that happening are slim. While he's frustrated knowing he can't control the current narrative surrounding himself, Harris understands that winning cures all.
If the Sixers continue to win games as a team, and he continues to contribute to their overall success as an organization, then the snubs and the questions around his personal performances will soon begin to dissolve.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_