While the Orlando Magic continued their free-fall on Wednesday night with a 112-109 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, their 12th loss in their last 13 games, they didn’t go down without a fight. More importantly in terms of salvaging a seemingly lost 2013-14 NBA season for this team, they saw some promising signs from Tobias Harris.
Playing 34 minutes on the night, Harris put up 19 points, 12 rebounds and one assist on 7-16 shooting and while getting to the line and knocking down all five of his free throw attempts. He did still miss both of his attempts from long-range, but it was a nice change to see Harris have a solid overall outing.
In the offseason and even the preseason, there was talk about Harris potentially making a push as an All-Star this season. With the way he performed after being traded to the Magic at the deadline—averaging 17.3 points, 8.5 boards, 2.1 assists, 1.4 blocks and 0.9 steals per game on 45.3 percent shooting as a 20-year-old—that wasn’t a far-fetched notion.
However, after being sidelined by injuries to star the year, Harris has gotten off to a slow start. In his 21 appearances prior to Wednesday, Harris was averaging just 12.8 points, seven rebounds and 1.3 assist per game. What’s worse is that his shooting percentage has dropped nearly three percent and his three-point percentage—which was just 31 percent last year—has dropped almost 10 percent off his numbers from his time with Orlando last year.
Despite both his and the team’s struggles this year, though, Harris has started to come on lately, having a slew of big games with a few disappointing ones littered in. This season for the Magic is predicated on developing young talent and Harris is a monster part of that. To improve their future and making this season of theirs watchable, let’s hope Harris is shaking off the rust of not having a preseason really and is hitting his stride this year.