Bill Simmons delayed his annual trade value column which for fans has become an unofficial ranking of the best players in the NBA. The list is Simmons' attempt to take into account both a player's skill and his value in dollars and cents to determine who would be traded for whom straight up. The No. 2 player would be traded only for the No. 1 player, and so on and so forth.
It is always an entertaining read, and as with everything Simmons writes, is sure to spark debate.
The lowly Orlando Magic could not have expected to have much reference in this list. Not after a league-worst 20-62 season and a year removed from trading away a superstar player. The hope with that deal was to put the team in position to make a future free agency or draft move in a few years and collect young talent. The goal was not to have someone crack this list until deals started getting made.
A deal got made. And someone cracked the list.
Bill Simmons of Grantland joined the chorus in praising Tobias Harris' late run with the Magic and taking advantage of the opportunity given to him. Harris finished 42nd on the list, a pretty impressive feat for a guy that was not a rotation player for the Bucks before the trade. Orlando gave Harris a chance and he turned heads.
Harris has been a revelation: 6-foot-8, plays inside and outside, shoots 3s, rebounds … I mean, how in the f*ing f* of f*s did Milwaukee not know what it had here? He didn't show ANY flashes in practice? I'm profoundly confused by that trade. He's been a 20-10 guy for the past month and he's only 20 years old. Are you kidding me?????
Harris averaged 17.3 points per game, shot 45.3 percent from the floor and grabbed 8.5 rebounds per game in 27 games with the Magic. Harris posted a 17.0 PER with Orlandoo. This was a case of more playing time leading to more confidence leading to some really great play.
And he IS only 20 years old.
There are some people who think Harris can be THAT guy or a foundational piece for the Magic. It is easy to race ahead with how well he played at the end of the season. But slow your horses. He is just 20.
Harris will have a lot to improve upon this season. He could spend some time working on becoming a more efficient scorer. More particularly, he needs to improve his 3-point shooting. Harris shot 31.0 percent from beyond the arc. If he can spread the floor he becomes a much more dangerous player.
He also has to find a way to get others involved and be effective when he is not scoring. Harris had a 9.6 percent assist rate and seems like he could do a whole bunch more as a playmaker for the Magic.
Maybe he has all that in him. Maybe he does not. It probably will not happen in one year.
Harris though has a bright, bright future. And the Magic seem very happy to be a part of it . . . so long as other teams don't offer the 41 players ahead of him.