Brooklyn Nets: Tobias Harris Should Be a Target in Free Agency
For a team that had just about no future a few years ago, the Nets are poised to be big players in free agency next offseason. General Manager Sean Marks has done a skillful job over the past two years in both acquiring draft picks, as well as clear up cap space. The Nets will have enough cap space to potentially sign two top-tier free agents to a max deal. However, a few of these big name free agents have already either re-signed or made a verbal commitment to their teams. So, in looking at second-tier free agents, an under the radar player Brooklyn could look at is Tobias Harris.
Now in his 8th year in the league, Tobias Harris has had a journeyman’s career. Drafted in 2011 by the Bucks, Harris has been on 4 teams including 2 different stints with the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons. Last season Harris, along with his new best buddy Boban Marjanovic, were traded to the Clippers for Blake Griffin. Harris saw drastic increases in scoring, rebounding, and assists after the trade to the Magic.
He went from averaging just under 5 points and 2 rebound for the Bucks to averaging just over 17 points and 8 rebounds per game on Orlando. Since then, Harris has been a consistent double-digit scorer. As of right now, Tobias is having his best scoring season on an overachieving Clippers team. He’s at 20.7 ppg and 8.7 rbg while also dishing out just over 2 assists per game.
The NBA over the past few years have gone away from traditional lineups and have gone smaller. There are now centers that have the ability to shoot the 3 such as Brook Lopez and Joel Embiid. One of the more important positions, however, has been the four (power forward) position. In the past, power forwards was known more for their rebounding and physicality. That has now transformed into the stretch 4 position. Basically, a player with the size of a power forward but can spread the floor with his shooting. And at 6’9, 235lbs, Tobias Harris fits the mold perfectly.
Head coach Kenny Atkinson runs a very shooter friendly system. The Nets are among the league leaders in 3pt attempts per game as they average around 40 a night. Aside from center Jarrett Allen, Atkinson likes to run small lineups which bode well for his offense. A lot of times he’ll sacrifice defense for offense as guys like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson or Jared Dudley will play at the 5(center). This is primarily because the Nets don’t have a guy with a power forward’s body that can spread the floor. Hollis-Jefferson is their closest thing, however, his shooting ability outside of 15-18 ft. is not that great.
This is what makes Tobias a good fit for the Nets. He is a big body with size that can rebound the ball on the defensive end. He also has the athleticism to guard other stretch fours in the league like the Morris twins or a Paul Milsap. On the offensive end, he is a guy that can create his own shot in a multitude of ways. Whether it be in the mid-range, post up or stepping back behind the 3 point line. He’s currently shooting the highest 3 point percentage of his career at just under 42%. The Nets have a reputation of developing players very well. Tobias could potentially become an even bigger scoring threat than he is now.
Now although this isn’t the big splash many Nets fans want in this upcoming free agency, it’s a very good addition to a blossoming franchise. Harris could be a good secondary or tertiary scorer in the starting rotation. This would mean the Nets would have potentially 3 go-to scorers between him, D’Angelo Russell, and Caris LeVert. And at 26 years old Tobias is entering his prime and free agency at just the right time.