Tobias Harris opens up on lingering effects from COVID-19
It’s no secret 76ers’ fans have been extra hard on Tobias Harris this season. He has continually been under fire for failing to play up to his contract, and seemingly regressing from the strides made last year.
Wednesday night, we finally saw a step in the right direction from Harris, who scored 24 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished four assists in the Sixers’ loss to the Miami Heat. After missing extended time to COVID-19 this season, are we finally seeing Harris get back to normal?
After the game, Harris had this to say in regards to how he has been feeling after missing significant time due to COVID.
“Yeah, a little bit. I still feel like every day I have a cold. Honestly, I think that’s just what it is right now when you’re playing the game and your body is taking on stress — stress from activity. But for me, it’s just keep fighting through and hopefully progress over time. Obviously it’s something that you don’t really know too much about as a whole.”
Last year, Seth Curry missed time after testing positive for COVID and it took time for him to get back to full strength on the basketball court. It’s also been reported Boston Celtics All-StarJayson Tatum is another player who dealt with long-term COVID issues.
What puzzles me most is why Harris decided to bring up the fact he isn’t fully back from COVID after one of his best performances since his his issues with the virus. Not after his ugly performance against the Grizzlies? This may be reading too much into the timing of things, but Harris has been playing poorly for weeks after his return from COVID. Now that he puts together a game we expect from him, we hear about lingering symptoms? Certainly thought provoking.
So far this season, Harris has shown significant regression, especially in his shooting. Last year, he was praised for being apart of the 50/40/90 club for a majority of the season. The value of having a guy in your starting five that nails half his twos, 40% of his threes, and is trustworthy at the free-throw line had Harris as a fringe all-star.
Now, all three of those splits have dipped to about .470/.320/.840 with generous rounding up. Not to mention he’s completely scared to shoot threes again, a trait he showed in Brett Brown’s final season as head coach.
Last night was the third time in his previous 14 games that Harris shot near his old shooting splits. I won’t be convinced he is back to his old ways until I see some consistency, and it doesn’t help on two of those occasions, the 76ers lost.
The COVID issues certainly aren’t over for the 76ers, or anyone in the NBA for that matter. Just yesterday, it was announced Georges Niang became the fifth 76ers player to enter health and safety protocols this year. As we all know, Joel Embiid, Matisse Thybulle, Isaiah Joe, and Harris all missed significant time as well.
COVID issues are popping up all over the sports world as of late, and it has become a widespread issue throughout the NBA. Currently, the league’s executives have pushed for game-day testing to any player without a COVID booster shot, a rule that will be in effect starting Thursday night.
The 76ers will face the Nets Thursday on the second leg of a back-to-back. It was announced on Tuesday the Nets had seven players entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
The Nets were on the verge of not having eight players required to play against Toronto, but Kevin Durant suited up after being questionable with right ankle soreness.
Ultimately, Durant did play and did what he usually does. Scoring 34 points and leading the Nets past the Raptors in an overtime victory. Patty Mills added 30 points, a painful sight for a 76ers fan who wanted him in Philly, and six out of eight players on the Nets scored in double figures to earn the team a win.
Mandatory Credit: Kate Frese