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Evaluating Tobias Harris

The 20-year-old had a strong half-season with the Magic.

Tobias Harris
Tobias Harris

At the 2013 NBA trade deadline, the Orlando Magic acquired Tobias Harris. from the Milwaukee Bucks as part of their rebuilding effort. The deal cost them J.J. Redick, a pending free agent who wasn't in their future plans despite their fan-favorite status, and they didn't get any draft picks in return. Some fans wondered what Rob Hennigan was thinking in trading Redick. Was Harris, a second-year pro who couldn't get off the bench in Milwaukee after a string of early starts, really worth a veteran of Redick's caliber?

Harris' performance in pinstripes answered that question, emphatically and in the affirmative.

Tobias Harris
No. 12
Power Forward
Points Per Game Rebounds Per Game Blocks Per Game
17.3 8.5 1.4
Points Per 36 Rebounds Per 36 Blocks Per 36
17.3 8.5 1.4
PER Rebound Rate Block Rate
17.0 13.3 2.9
FG% 3FG% FT%
45.3 31.0 72.1
eFG% TS%
48.7 52.4

All statistics in this table from Harris' player page at basketball-reference. Career-best statistics highlighted in gold; career-worst statistics highlighted in silver.

Harris, 20, displayed his versatility and energy with the Magic. He can play either forward position, though Orlando primarily had him at power forward. He also had the trust of the coaching staff, which gave him a long leash; in Milwaukee, a club fighting for playoff position when it dealt him, a defensive miscue could earn him a long benching. The rebuilding Magic, in contrast, could afford to let the former Volunteer work out the kinks on the court.

Harris' efficiency as an offensive player leaves a bit to be desired; he shoots plenty of threes, but not at a particularly high percentage, and he's prone to taking difficult shots off the dribble. Creating off the bounce is one of his strengths, but too often he'd settle for a difficult shot when he was unable to get all the way to the rim.

But Harris can score even without having plays called for him, thanks to his activity off the ball and on the offensive boards. That ability compensates a bit for his shot selection, and if he plays within himself more often, he'll become more efficient without costing himself many offensive opportunities.

Those critiques are real, but make no mistake: Harris is a versatile scorer who averaged 17.3 points per game at age 20. He's probably not a future All-Star, but the Magic have themselves a good, productive young player here.

Grade: B+

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