What you need to know about Tobias Harris

Posted at 4:37 PM, Feb 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-18 14:04:15-05

The background:

Tobias Harris grew up in New York, where he played high school ball. He was named a McDonald's All American in 2010 before going to play under Bruce Pearl at University of Tennessee. As a freshman, he played a hybrid position mixing point guard and forward; expanding his versatility as a player.

In 2011, Harris declared for the NBA draft and was selected 19th overall by the Charlotte Bobcats. Charlotte traded him on draft night to the Milwaukee Bucks. In 2013, he was traded to the Orlando Magic. Last season in Orlando, Harris was averaging 17. 1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.

The present:

Harris has a few things going for him. He's young. At 23-year-old, Harris hasn't peaked yet. He also hasn't shown that his potential is tapped out. It's there. He's been criticized for being 'selfish' on occasion, but you could argue that the Pistons need more aggressive scorers. 

Harris is arguably position-less. Is he a small forward? A big forward? A guard? Or perhaps a mix of all three? In this respect, Detroit is a good fit for him. With Reggie Jackson as a solid starting point guard, and Steve Blake as a very respectable back-up, Harris could fit into any number of roles in positions two through four.

Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy isn't shy about trying new things with lineups and moving players around which means there will likely be a bit of experimentation with their new addition. Marcus Morris, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Stanley Johnson and Harris can all conceivably fill two through four. Flexibility is almost never a bad thing.

Harris has admitted defense is not is strong suit, but Stan Van Gundy is the perfect coach, and the Pistons are the perfect gritty, no-nonsense team to get him up to speed. It's hard to imagine Van Gundy would be prepared to expect less from Harris on this side of the ball than he does from the other guys on the roster.

The upside:

Getting Harris in a trade is cheaper than getting him during free agency. According to Detroit Free Press Pistons writer Vince Ellis, Stan Van Gundy was interested in Harris last offseason (when he was a restricted free agent).

Waiting to trade for him means the Pistons get a young, versatile player still oozing untapped potential for about $16 million a year.

This free agency period could be one of the craziest yet, with the salary cap jumping to an unprecedented $90 million or so. Detroit would almost assuredly be paying $20 million or more a season for Harris had they waited until the offseason. This way they keep all their young assets without spending a fortune, meaning their pockets will be plenty deep come July.