Check out the last edition of Don’t Sleep here.
As the free agency period kicked off this offseason, there were plenty of big name players that everyone wanted their teams to sign. Players like LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan, Kevin Love, and Jimmy Butler were headlining the NBA news stories. There was one player who was overlooked as everyone was signing their new contracts. Tobias Harris, only 23 years old, was sitting quietly waiting for his payday.
I remember seeing tweet after tweet from people that didn’t want Tobias Harris on their team. This completely baffled me because most of these people are fans of teams that are in desperate need of his talents. One fanbase that I saw trying to diminish his talents quite often was that of the New York Knicks. Personally, I thought having the combo of Harris and Carmelo Anthony at the SF and PF spots would be great for the Knicks, but that’s a story for another time.
This past season, Harris’ fourth season, he had the best averages of his career. Just like Gordon Hayward, the last Don’t Sleep topic, Harris has been improving each season that he’s in been in the league. During the 2013-14 season, Harris averaged 14.6 points, 1.3 assists, and 7 rebounds per game while shooting 46% from the field with an effective field goal percentage of 48.6. This past season, he averaged 17.1, 6.3, and 1.8 while shooting 47% and boasting a 51.2 effective field goal percentage. Another fact to point out is that Harris has played himself into a starting role with the Orlando Magic as well. After only starting a total of 79 games in his first three seasons, then starting 63 games this past season should not be overlooked.
If the basic stats aren’t enough to get you to stop sleeping, then here are some advanced stats to state Harris’ case even further. His rebound percentage has hovered around the 11-12% mark, meaning that he grabs about 11-12% of all of the available rebounds while he’s on the floor. That’s not all, his efficiency rating has been growing each year and finished with a 16.7 this past season. Also, he has increased his win shares up to 4.8 while keeping a true shooting percentage of 55.1. One more interesting stat trend is Harris’ upward trend in his value over replacement player. During his rookie year, he was not any better than a replacement player, but in the most recent season Harris was a full point per 100 possessions over a replacement player.
So if that’s not enough to get you to wake up and start paying attention to Tobias Harris and the Orlando Magic, then I’ll leave with one more thing to think about. Harris was drafted by Charlotte, traded to Milwaukee, and was struggling to find his place on the team, while many young players seem to fold after more than a season in this kind of situation, Harris has improved ever since. He went from struggling and playing 11 minutes per game to starting on a young, up-and-coming team while playing 34 minutes per game. Next time you see the Magic playing on TV, you better recognize!