The Orlando Magic are more than likely trying to tank and develop young talent in the 2013-2014 NBA season. However, if their young players develop faster than expected, this is a team that could potentially make some noise and surprise the NBA community a great deal in doing so.
Obviously there are high hopes for rookie guard Victor Oladipo this season as he makes his foray into the league. Oladipo has the potential to be a playmaker on both ends of the floor, but no one knows how quickly he’ll adjust to the NBA style of play. Center Nikola Vucevic could also be in for a big year after putting up impressive numbers last season, averaging a double-double.
The player with arguably the highest upside on the Magic, though, is forward Tobias Harris. Harris came to the Magic from the Milwaukee Bucks at the trade deadline last season as part of the package in exchange for J.J. Redick. In 27 games with the Magic, he was incredibly productive, averaging 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 blocks in 36.1 minutes per game while shooting a solid 45.3 percent from the floor.
At just 21 years old, Harris has a ton of upside to go with an already vast array of skills. He could be a dangerous option on both ends of the floor for the Magic this season. However, they have to use him correctly for that to happen this year.
Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn recently said that he doesn’t know what Harris’ role is going to be in Orlando this season, per Evan Dunlap of the Orlando Pinstriped Post. Vaughn added that he doesn’t know if he’s going to start Harris or bring him off of the bench.
This might just be me, but bringing Harris off of the bench seems like an enormous mistake. Considering their other healthy options at power forward right now are Jason Maxiell, Solomon Jones and Andrew Nicholson, Harris is clearly the best forward on their roster right now. If the Magic are interested in tanking and playing poorly, then minimizing Harris’ role and making him a bench player is what they want to do. If they want to build a core for the future base on their youth and talent, though, they need to feature Harris as much as possible this season.