To the chagrin of many fantasy basketball owners, including this corespondent (in two leagues, no less), the Tobias Harris factor remains a question mark. Due to an ankle injury, the resplendent forward hasn’t been able to prove or disprove pundits’ expectations of what is expected to be a big year for him. Of course, he’s not destined for an Anthony Davis-type rise but for someone projected above the likes of Kenneth Faried, Andre Drummond, and Eric Bledsoe, he can be a major addition to any squad.
Ranked at No. 67 by ESPN’s preseason 2014 projections, Harris came in at four spots above Wesley Matthews, 15 above Isaiah Thomas, and 21 above Evan Turner. Needless to say, those three players have been contributing significantly to their real and online squads. With Harris’ return on the horizon, exactly what type of fantasy contributions can we expect from him?
Let’s take a look at last year.
After being traded from the Milwaukee Bucks, where he got a pittance of playing time, Harris blossomed in Orlando into the would-be star we’re excited to see once again.
The numbers tell it all. After being traded to the Florida team at the end of February, just a few days after the 2012-13 All-Star break, Harris saw a major uptick in stats.
Though he saw a drop in shooting percentages, his points, assists, rebounds, blocks, steals, and three-pointers made all saw a nice elevation.
If taken just as we saw him post-All-Star last year, Harris would presently be a 17.3/8.5/2.1/0.9/1.4/1.0 (three-pointers per game) guy. That statline is not something to be taken lightly.
What’s more promising is his other stat chart, touting more advanced analytics, shows that he’s a player with high impact.
His ratings (OffRtg, DefRtg, and NetRtg) leave a lot to be desired but we’re more interested on what he’ll provide to the Magic stat wise.
Post-All-Star game, he had an assist percentage of 9.5, an offensive rebound percentage of 6.2, a defensive rebound percentage of 20.2 (that’s especially great for a small forward), and an overall rebound percentage of 13.1. That means that whenever he takes the court you can expect him to nab those particular categories in the percentages listed.
To add on to that, he’s also someone who was used considerably by the Magic (his usage percentage was 22.7% post-All-Star) and, most telling, had a PIE (Player Impact Estimate) rating of 11.1%. PIE, now used by the NBA itself to chart MVP candidates, is a metric that plots a player’s impact on the games they play, with no handicap to era or opponent.
Currently, Chris Paul’s PIE is 18.3%. LeBron has a 20.5% PIE. James Harden has a 14.3% PIE. So, despite playing with a laughable Magic squad last year while learning on the job, Harris posted a PIE that came in at 78% of what Harden’s is now.
There’s the crux that now that Harris will be surrounded by more talent his numbers might drop but all it takes is a look at shot charts to see that that shouldn’t happen.
In fact, Harris might be the perfect complement to Orlando’s offense as it stands.
This is the 2013-14 shot chart for the entire Orlando Magic.
Now look at the 2012-13 shot chart of Tobias Harris.
Where he has excelled (the green) is either where the Magic are already finding efficient shots, or where they need them. In a highly weak Eastern Conference, Harris can easily propel into superstar status. 19.0/9.0/2.0/0.8/1.3/1.2 maybe?