CLEVELAND — Tobias Harris is your quintessential teammate.
The 76ers power forward takes it upon himself to mentor rookies and young teammates. Before the pandemic, he organized team dinners and functions on the road. And the 10th-year veteran has been known for making sacrifices for the good of the team.
Yet the 28-year-old’s individual play will go along way in determining how successful the Sixers (2-1) are this season. They need him to be a lethal scorer, one who can compliment Joel Embiid.
As crazy as it sounds, they’ll need him to play more like he did in Sunday’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers than in Tuesday’s season-opening victory over the Washington Wizards.
A lot of it has to do with good rhythm.
Against the Wizards, Harris made just 3 of 13 shots, missing all four of his three-point attempts, to finish with 10 points in 31 minutes, 18 seconds of action. He also turned the ball over twice, had zero assists and graded out at minus-7. The best part of his night was grabbing eight rebounds.
He was more aggressive in Friday’s victory over the New York Knicks, finishing with 17 points on 7-for-14 shooting. Harris also graded out at plus-32. But he had, by far, the best performance by a Sixer in Sunday’s loss to Cleveland, making 4 of 6 three-pointers en route to finishing with 16 points before sitting out the fourth quarter.
For the most part, the Sixers looked overwhelmed and lost while playing without All-Star center Joel Embiid (back tightness). But it was a positive sign to see Harris in rhythm for the second straight game after struggling in the season opener and preseason.
It’s obvious that Harris is adjusting to playing with new teammates Danny Green and Seth Curry in the starting lineup.
“For me, it’s just to go out there and do the things I do best,” he said. “I’m a rhythm player. So finding my rhythm as we continue to progress game after game. At the same time, just being aggressive when I need to be and doing whatever I can for us to win.”
Harris will look to continue his productive streak in Tuesday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors at the Wells Fargo Center. Embiid is listed as probable with back tightness.
Furkan Korkmaz is out with a left groin strain and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. The reserve swingman suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss.
Typically, minor strains sideline players for a week to 10 days. Assuming Korkmaz has a moderate strain (grade 2), 3 to 4 weeks would be a conservative return-to-play ballpark.