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Following a down year that was riddled with injuries, Tobias Harris is putting up the best numbers of his career so far this season. And yet, even with that being the case, Harris’ skills aren’t being utilized in the best way possible.
With Victor Oladipo sidelined to start the regular season as he recovered from a facial fracture, the Magic’s starting lineup lacked firepower on the offensive end. As a result, Harris carried the bulk of the scoring load in Oladipo’s absence. He was forced to do much more than he’s used to, such as run pick-and-rolls, spot-up on the perimeter, and push the ball on the fast break, none of which is his forte.
Much of that has to do with coach Jacque Vaughn playing Harris almost exclusively at small forward, which isn’t his natural position. Since entering the league in 2011, Harris has spent 57 percent of his total minutes playing power forward, per Basketball-Reference. So far this season, 67 percent of his minutes have been at small forward.
Harris has always been a tweener, and that allows him to play both forward positions depending on the lineups at hand. What has prevented him from playing more minutes at the small forward position throughout his career, though, is his jump shot. While he has evolved as a shooter over the years, he’s not someone who is going to stretch the floor on a consistent basis. If anything, it’s an added luxury to his game.