The Philadelphia 76ers made it clear on Wednesday that they have their sights set on a Finals appearance.
Ahead of this week's trade deadline, the 76ers have traded Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala and multiple future draft picks to the LA Clippers for Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott.
Officially official. #HereTheyCome https://t.co/Li0KzzjPnN- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 6, 2019
While six players are included, the centrepiece of the deal is Harris, who is in the midst of a career year with averages of 20.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. His fit won't be seamless on a team that is already loaded with offensive-minded players, but the 26-year-old has the potential to elevate Philadelphia to another level.
How Tobias Harris fits in with the 76ers
Harris has been one of the most accurate shooters in the NBA this season. Nearly a quarter of his shot attempts have been catch-and-shoot 3s, and he's made 40.8 percent of those opportunities.
With that volume and that accuracy, Harris has been on the same level as Kyle Korver, Kyrie Irving and Bojan Bogdanovic to name a few of the league's best shooters.
The 76ers were already among the better 3-point shooting teams statistically speaking, but Harris will only give Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid - three All-Stars who do their best work inside the 3-point line - more room to work with as Wilson Chandler's replacement in the starting lineup.
Once a small forward, Harris is exclusively a power forward now, making him a matchup nightmare for opposing bigs. He can comfortably get his shot off against most defenders at his position and he has a quick release for his size, making him a legitimate shooter.
Harris is also a threat to put the ball on the floor.
Despite the success he's had from the perimeter this season, a higher percentage of his field goal attempts have actually come on midrange pull-ups and drives to the basket. Harris has a smooth floater he can go to in those situations and he's been a solid finisher in the restricted area.
The combination means teams can't simply run him off the 3-point line, adding yet another dimension to one of the league's more talented cores.
Harris, however, is far more than just a shooter, which is where his fit with the 76ers could get complicated. He's been the leading scorer for the Clippers this season with a lot of his scoring coming as the ball handler in pick-and-rolls, where he puts that trusty midrange pull-up to good use.
The 76ers will have the option of staggering Simmons, Butler, Harris and Embiid, giving them quality offence for 48 minutes per game, but there's a possibility that Harris will be turned into more of a spot-up shooter when sharing the floor with those three in crunch time. He'd almost make more sense on the 76ers as the third option as opposed to the fourth, although there's no denying that Harris gives them the talent to score against almost any defence they're likely to face in a deep postseason run.
Take a team like the Milwaukee Bucks as an example. How do they defend a lineup of Simmons, Redick, Butler, Harris and Embiid? One of the guards would likely guard Redick - an elite 3-point shooter who is always on the move - but putting the other on Simmons, Butler or Harris gives the 76ers a mismatch they can exploit.
The same goes for the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics, whether it's figuring out who Kyle Lowry and Danny Green match up with or Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart.
Beyond the 3-point shooting and pick-and-roll, Harris has the skills and size to attack smaller defenders in the post. He's made 47.1 percent of his shot attempts with his back to the basket this season, a strong rate considering his go-to in the post is a fadeaway.
It would be one thing if Harris was a liability on defence, but he's capable of holding his own in most matchups. With Simmons, Butler and Embiid next to him, the 76ers have a terrifying amount of versatility and size, with Simmons, Butler and Harris each being able to switch and Embiid being one of the league's premier rim protectors.
With this being the last year on Harris' contract, it makes the trade a huge gamble for the 76ers due to the amount of draft picks they included, but one that would pay off in a big way if all goes to plan.
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