Buried on the bench during his time with the Milwaukee Bucks, Tobias Harris was set free in a trade with the Orlando Magic. His performances in Orlando begged the question: why did Milwaukee not play him?
Milwaukee isn’t exactly the cream of the NBA crop talent-wise, so there certainly has to be some head-scratching going on in Milwaukee after the trade. How could they not have seen the type of potential Harris has? Regardless of Milwaukee’s reasons for not giving Harris a real chance, the Magic got a player that has plenty of potential.
Harris, who turns 21 in July, answered some of his critics’ doubts when he was coming out of college in the 2011 NBA Draft. Some of the knocks against Harris were his lack of aggressiveness on the boards and his overall reliance on the finesse game, particularly when driving to the rim.
As a starter, Harris was almost a lock to get Orlando double-digit rebounds and while he still can be more aggressive under the basket, he proved that he’s not scared of getting physical down low. The area Harris needs to improve the most is still his defense, which is natural for a player of his age. Luckily, it’s not a lack of effort on his end it’s more a lack of understanding which will continue to improve with experience.
Offensively, Harris looked to be a complete player with a rare skill set. Standing at 6-foot-8, Harris is able to handle the ball effectively while having the ability to play inside and out. His 3-point shooting and overall efficiency with his shooting is something the Magic will look for him to improve on, as he was prone to taking difficult shots off the dribble.
However, he stays active off the ball, which helps the entire team, and he’ll continue to improve as a scorer.
While it’s still too early to tell if Harris is a lock to be a future All-Star, the Magic got themselves a strong player able to play either forward position who also showed flashes of leadership potential amongst his teammates.