2013-14 Season Review: Tobias Harris

Tobias Harris

By John Denton
April 22, 2014

ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic made great strides during the 2013-14 season, notching several wins against some of the best teams in the NBA and witnessing major improvements by many of their players.

Orlando had a seven-win improvement at the Amway Center this past season while beating Oklahoma City, Indiana, Brooklyn (twice), the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland. Undoubtedly, the high point in the season came in mid-February when Orlando beat OKC at the buzzer and outlasted Indiana in the fourth quarter within a three-day span. At the time, the Thunder and the Pacers were the leaders in the Western and Eastern Conferences, respectively.

Moments like those showed that the future is bright for a Magic squad loaded with promising young players such as Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris and Maurice Harkless and steadied by the veteran leadership of Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson.

Orlando is also expected to add to his talent base in the June 26 NBA Draft. Orlando has secured the third-best odds at getting the top overall pick. The draft order will be determined in the May 20 NBA lottery, a process in which the Magic have a 16.6 percent chance of winning. The team with the third-best odds has won the NBA Draft Lottery each of the past two seasons (New Orleans with Anthony Davis and Cleveland with Anthony Bennett) and teams have won the lottery from the third spot eight times in the past 17 years.

The Magic have won the NBA’s top overall pick three times in their 25-year history, ending up with franchise fixtures Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway and Dwight Howard.

Looking back on the 2013-14 season, we here at OrlandoMagic.com are going to spend the next three weeks breaking down each of the players currently on the Magic roster. We’ll look at their stats, highs and lows from the season, a favorite moment and analyze their role for the future.

So without further ado, here is today’s Magic player capsule:

NAME: Tobias Harris
HEIGHT, WEIGHT: 6-9, 235
POSITION: Small forward/power forward
AGE: 21

2013-14 SEASON STATS: 61 games, 14.6 ppg., 7.0 rpg., 1.3 apg., 46.4 percent FG, 25.4 percent 3-point FG, 88.7 percent FT.

2013-14 SEASON HIGHS: 31 points (March 2 vs. 76ers); 20 rebounds (Jan. 24 vs. Lakers); 4 assists (three times – most recent Jan. 24 vs. Lakers); 4 steals (March 12 vs. Nuggets); 44 minutes (Dec. 23 vs. Knicks).

BEST MOMENT: Harris scored a career-best 31 points against the Sixers in March and he had the first 20/20 game of his career in January (28 points and 20 rebounds) against the Lakers. But Harris’ most exhilarating and jaw-dropping moment of the season came in the February home defeat of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Harris not only had 18 points and five rebounds, but he dunked just before the buzzer to help lift the Magic past OKC. What made the play especially impressive was the fact that Harris blocked out Serge Ibaka and was under the opposing basket when the rebound bounced out to Victor Oladipo. Harris then sprinted nearly all 94 feet and dunked just ahead of OKC’s Reggie Jackson as time expired. The play showed off Harris’ speed, willingness to hustle and his desire to never give up on a play.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Harris was the winner of the 2013-14 Rich and Helen DeVos community enrichment award for his tireless work in the Central Florida community. Harris took part in 23 community events during the season, including going to a movie premier for underprivileged kids and handing out turkeys at Thanksgiving. Harris, a product of the University of Tennessee, also conducted two meet-and-greet events with the UT Alumni Association in February.

FUTURE ROLE WITH THE MAGIC: Harris had a challenging season that started with him out injured for five weeks and ended with him playing in a reserve role. Harris suffered a severe high ankle sprain in the preseason, an injury that kept him on the sidelines for five weeks. The ankle continued to be an issue at times throughout the season, but Harris still showed flashes of greatness. His hustling dunk against OKC was spectacular and his 20/20 game against the Lakers showed how he can dominate in several ways. However, Harris – who started 36 games and played off the bench for 25 games – struggled at times on defense while trying to guard quicker small forwards. Offensively, there are a couple of areas where Harris still needs improvement if he is going to grow into an elite player. He took a major step back from the 3-point line this season, shooting just 25.4 percent. Also, Harris has to become a player who makes others better by drawing the defense to him and passing to open teammates. Harris is an unquestioned weapon because he can pile up points in bunches, but he too often becomes locked in solely on the rim and doesn’t look for others in the offense. The Magic love his all-business approach and his will to be great and they are confident that he will make strides over the summer to become a better player.