Gary Harris has been the solution for Orlando Magic's 3-point shooting

Gary Harris is an older veteran. But he is filling his role of being a long-range threat for the Orlando Magic.

Utah Jazz v Orlando Magic
Utah Jazz v Orlando Magic / Rich Storry/GettyImages

Despite Gary Harris nearing his 30s and not necessarily fitting the younger wave of the Orlando Magic's team makeup, he is fulfilling a role the team needs. Harris has been the Magic's answer as a three-point shooter, filling in some necessary spacing for the Magic's starting lineup.

Harris has faced a lot of questions and dealt with injuries. But when he is healthy, the Magic know he is a reliable shooter and someone who can space the floor. He is their veteran, always in the right spot and able to compete defensively.

Harris easily fades into the background. But that is his role. He provides suport for the Magic's player.

What Orlando needed from him most of all was his 3-point shooting. That has been a big part that has been missing this year. And a big part that has bounced back as the Magic have made their push up the standings.

Harris is averaging just 7.2 points per game, the lowest since his rookie season. He is shooting 38.1 percent from three. And he has appeared in only 39 games thanks to a right calf injury -- he is once again QUESTIONABLE for Wednesday's game against the Washington Wizards as he continues to sit on the second night of back-to-backs.

Harris has dealt with injuries throughout his career, playing more than 60 games in a season just three times in his 11-year career. He will not hit that mark this year.

When he is on the floor, the Magic know they need him to be a shooter. His value is his ability to make 3-pointers. And Harris is coming into form as the season winds toward the playoffs, especially during the last month.

In February, he shot 48.5 percent from three while taking 33 total attempts (3.3 attempts per game). This was Harris' best shooting month since November when he played only four games. He had six games where he made multiple 3-pointers in a game and has continued that by doing so in the first two games of March.

It is certainly a boost from the beginning of the season for him.

The Magic have needed reliable shooting and Harris, finally healthy and playing consistently, has provided that.

Harris has been in the starting lineup for the last five games as well as Tuesday's game against the Charlotte Hornets. He has averaged 9.6 points per game and made 15 of 23 3-pointers in that span. Orlando's record over that stretch with him starting is 6-0. Harris scored nine points nad made both of his 3-point attempts to help the Magic survive that game.

The Magic's starting group with Harris has a +11.4 net rating in 119 minutes together (across nine games). Orlando has a 113.9 offensive rating and 102.4 defensive rating when they play together. That is among the best frequently-used lineups for the Magic.

Harris is a big part of that. He gives them a reliable shooter in the starting lineup.

So, has this helped the Magic with their notorious three-point shooting woes?

Well, he is the third-best three-pointer shooter on Orlando who plays at least 20 minutes per game (38.1 percent on the season) meaning he has a big impact on how the team shoots.

The Magic are 25th in the NBA in three-point percentage at 35.3 percent. That is not overly impressive, by any means, but it is a jump from where they were a month ago on Feb. 5 when they were 28th in the league. That month is part of the time Harris started putting it together.

A good sample to look at Harris' success is his three-point shooting during his last five games. He has taken at least four shots from three-point range in four of those five games and has made at least two threes in all five of them.

As a team, Orlando is 13-5 in games where Harris makes at least two three-pointers. The Magic do not have to hunt 3-pointers for Harris. Typically, Harris getting his shots means the ball is moving since Harris is the lowest-usage player in the starting lineup.

Harris getting threes is usually a sign the offense is healthy and moving. Harris needs others to set him up.

The Magic's scoring has looked steady during those six games with the highly efficient shooting from Harris as the team has put up at least 108 points in the five wins before Tuesday's game. The Magic have a 112.5 offensive rating in the last six games, placing them in the middle of the pack in the NBA as opposed to the bottom.

Harris has seen a huge jump for Orlando after struggling with injuries in January. That was a month Orlando went 6-10. His incredible February shooting the three-pointer played a role in the increase in team three shooting and a great 9-3 record for the Magic for that month.

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And he will be an important player for the Magic's postseason push.