Glen Davis exceeded expectations in his first game back from injury and Tobias Harris started practicing with the team at the beginning of the week. All of a sudden there’s a log jam of forwards.
It’s clear from last night’s game that Big Baby is going to get the starter’s minutes at power forward until Harris returns, which looks like it could happen any game now. Then what? Solomon Jones and Jason Maxiell will slide into deeper reserve roles and after that it gets murky. There’s lots of options on the table for Jacque Vaughn, most of them depend on how he decides to use Tobias.
What position does Harris play best?
He’s going to log plenty of minutes at both forward positions but we still don’t know where he’s most effective. He’s a tweener with a power forward body and small forward skill set. His best mismatch is playing the four, but then you have to find a way to get Big Baby on the floor. Harris playing small forward creates a very big Harris-Davis-Vučević lineup yet also athletically underwhelming.
How do you feel about Moe Harkless?
Harkless has been struggling of late and shooting has only marginally improved from last season. The St. John’s product has length to wreak havoc in the passing lanes, but his perimeter defense still needs work. He’s been the starter at small forward for Vaughn throughout the season and he’s even played the small ball power forward against the Heat. He’ll definitely lost those small ball minutes to Harris and he could even see his playing time reduce at small forward too.
How do you feel about Andrew Nicholson?
Nicholson has been slowly losing minutes. After his hot shooting start, he’s currently on a 4-for-18 three point bender. He’s a better interior player than he gets credit for – on both ends of the floor – but he’s not a better option than either Davis or Harris at the four.
What role does Glen Davis play?
Last season, the Magic made Big Baby a veteran centerpiece on a rebuilding team. As the young guys develop, will Davis lose playing time? He’s certainly still one best scorers on a team that isn’t all that great at scoring. The Magic didn’t exactly hold him back last night. Also, something that’s always a factor for Orlando: the better he plays, the better trade piece he becomes.
Could Tobias Harris play 6th man?
I’m particularly fond of this option. Harris has said he wants to come back with any restrictions. But this isn’t technically a restriction. He could still get more minutes than both Harkless and Davis, he’d go up against the opponent’s second team, and he’d still be on the floor in the fourth. However, Harris is one the of Magic’s most dynamic threats, so it’s hard to justify not having that kind of talent start on a struggling team.
What do you think? Who are the Magic’s best options at forward?