He’s made October’s training camp very intriguing.
Harris has put himself in the running for the starting power-forward job next season. It was a position held by Glen Davis before Big Baby sustained a season-ending injury Jan. 30.
Is it fair that Big Baby loses his job because of injury? At this stage in their rebuild, I can’t imagine the Magic guaranteeing an incumbent anything.
I suspect the job will be open and that the club could try to trade Davis, 27, to clear more cap room if possible. He has two more years at an average of $6.5 million, figures that could also work against the Magic in trying to move him.
Harris, 20, is still on his rookie deal in this, his second season, and will make just $1.6 million next season.
Harris scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds with three steals and three blocks in the Magic’s 97-92 win against the Washington Wizards on Friday night. He was coming off a 29-point, 9-rebound effort Wednesday in Charlotte against the Bobcats.
Coach Jacque Vaughn said that Harris --- an afterthought in Milwaukee --- "is taking advantage and using this growth period to showcase his game...He's been good for us."
This is not to discount the efforts of Davis, who was having his best season before fracturing his foot Jan. 30.
The Magic started their slide after losing him to a disclocated shoulder earlier in the season, and by the time he returned, their hopes effectively vanished.
Glen could well re-establish himself at the position in camp, and turn Harris into a sixth-man type.
But Harris -- whom already has passed Andrew Nicholson in the pecking order – has shown enough to earn the chance to unseat Davis.
Davis and Harris are completely different players with different kinds of games – well, except for their love of launching shots.
Davis, 6-feet-9, 285 pounds, is a bulldozer around the paint, a relentless rebounder and the Magic’s best interior defender.
Harris, 6-8, 226, is much more versatile offensively than Davis and has a go-to guy mentality. He’s a decent defender and rebounder, although not as consistent yet as Big Baby, a six-year pro.
Harris is a ‘tweener: He’s lacking a power forward’s power inside, and would be challenged to defend small forwards.
He played mostly small forward in Milwaukee before being traded to Orlando.
The Magic certainly don’t want Harris to disturb the progress of promising small forward Maurice Harkless, who started his 50th game of the season Friday night.
Davis and Harris could offer Orlando an interesting tag-team, especially depending on match-ups.
The question: How would Davis --- an emotional powder-keg and co-captain --- accept coming off the bench if Harris is the choice?
It’s a rather intriguing storyline heading into training camp, thanks to Harris’ surprising play.
Brian Schmitz is the Magic Insider for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@magicinsider.