The Toronto Raptors will emphasize surrounding their collection of stars with solid shooting threats in the offseason. Doing so would fix arguably the most significant issue that this Raptors team had last year. One player that could be an ideal fit for this squad is former Orlando Magic guard Gary Harris.
After scoring as many as 17.5 points per game in a season during his seven-year stint in Denver, Harris was traded to Orlando in the Aaron Gordon deal. While the Magic have been one of the worst teams in the NBA with Harris in the fold, that record comes through no fault of the veteran sniper.
Harris averaged 11.1 points per game in around 28 minutes per contest. Even as Orlando was trying to get their young backcourt of Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony, Harris was getting shots up consistently. He even graded out as the most efficient shooter in the league from the left corner this season.
Toronto has both an MLE and some substantial cap space to spend this offseason, which would put them firmly in the running for Harris. A solid shooter and defender that could take on a Sixth Man role with Toronto, Harris should be high atop Toronto’s list of potential free agent signings.
How can Gary Harris help the Toronto Raptors?
Harris connected on 43% of his shots and 38% of his 3-pointers last season. His advanced numbers (subscription required) show that Orlando scored 2.2 more points per 100 possessions while allowing 1.7 fewer points per 100 when Harris was on the floor.
The Raptors’ failure to milk production out of Svi Mykhailiuk has been well-documented, and Harris would represent a clear upgrade over him as a Gary Trent Jr. backup. If he becomes Toronto’s first guard off of the bench, he’ll get the greenest light imaginable from 3-point range. A career 36% 3-point shooter, Harris has been consistently effective.
On defense, Harris has proven to be a quality on-ball stopper in both Denver and Orlando. Even if his acumen in this area starts to decline with age, he should have enough baseline competence to fit into Toronto’s scheme.
While it feels like he has been in the league forever, Harris will only be 28 when next season starts. Even if his solid defense takes a very small step backward, he should still be a quality performer on both ends. The MLE could come in handy when trying to secure Harris.
Harris has spent large chunks of his career on some also-ran Nuggets teams before Nikola Jokic broke out as well as tanking Magic squads. The opportunity to help Toronto move into that contender tier is something that might appeal to Harris.