Five Goals for Tobias Harris’ 2017-2018 Season

AUBURN HILLS, MI - MARCH 11: Tobias Harris
AUBURN HILLS, MI - MARCH 11: Tobias Harris /

Detroit Pistons’ forward Tobias Harris is coming off a career season, and looking to improve even further. A list of five goals he can set, while aiming for new heights. 

One silver lining to the Detroit Pistons failed push for the playoffs last season was the further development of forward Tobias Harris. After impressing coaches in his 27 game stint with the team in 2015-2016, he posted impactful numbers in his second year with the team.

Harris averaged 16.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game over 82 games.

Coming off such a productive season, I set some goals the forward can aim to achieve along the path to stardom.

1. Start for all 82 games

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Sure, Harris posted some very strong numbers last season. He played a big part in the Pistons 37 wins. With Reggie Jackson out to injury, his contributions weighed heavier than most, yet he only started 48 of 82 games.

Though he averaged 31.3 minutes per game last season, he played only the third most minutes on last year’s Pistons squad. With Marcus Morris gone, he can finally get the starts he deserves.

More importantly, it may play a direct part in his development as both a scorer and a shooter this season. Provided he remain healthy, Harris is very capable of playing and producing for 82 games.

2. Average 20 points per game

A rise in minutes will result in a rise in points per game. Last season, he posted a per-36 average of 18.5 points per game. The numbers don’t lie. In an offense with a more pass-focused Jackson, and no Morris, Harris will see all the more offensive opportunity.

More importantly, when the Pistons’ forward scored last year, the team was winning games. In wins Harris averaged 17.4 points, as opposed to his average of 15.1 points in losses. Winning basketball in Detroit had a direct tie to his scoring performance.

Harris currently sits as the second highest-paid Piston behind center Andre Drummond. The team needs to see just a tad more offensive responsibility from the likely starting three. On average, the second highest-paid player on Eastern Conference teams puts up 15 points per game last season, leaving Harris just above the curve.

AUBURN HILLS, MI – MARCH 30: Tobias Harris
AUBURN HILLS, MI – MARCH 30: Tobias Harris /

3. Shoot 37 percent from three

For a Detroit Pistons team that ranked in the bottom couple teams in the league for every three-point stat, developing Harris’ shot from deep this season will be crucial. On the year, Detroit ranked 28th in percentage, 26th in attempts, and 27th in shots made.

An already established shooter, he hit just over 34 percent from deep last season. He sits just below the league average, which was 36 percent last season. Harris was the fourth-best shooter on the Pistons as of last year, behind Reggie Bullock, Jackson, and Caldwell-Pope.

In current players, he puts up the most three-point shots at 3.8 per game, landing 1.3 on average. He shoots well, and shooting better will help dig the Pistons out of the bottom half of the league in that regard.

4. Get to the free throw line

The Detroit Pistons ranked 29th among 30 teams in free throw attempts per game last season. Harris averaged only 2.8, second behind Drummond who shot 4.4. He has no problem converting free throws, after shooting 84 percent on the year, yet doesn’t make it to the line often.

Harris, who plays most of his offense from the mid-range to the post, knocked down 57 percent of his total shots from within five feet of the basket (Per It’s where he shoots most efficient, but fails to draw the foul.

Earning the and-1 on big plays is a trait that the biggest stars portray on a nightly basis. Should Harris aspire to reach that level of play, it’s something he’ll need to practice.

5. Lead the Pistons to the postseason

Detroit is gearing up for a run at the postseason, and it would only be the second time in Harris’ career. His first go around was with the Pistons when he was traded to Detroit back in 2015, and the team was shutout by the Cavaliers. He averaged 14.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in the series.

With Jackson struggling, and Drummond reaching what appears to be his limit, Harris can saddle up and be the leader this team needs. That starts with better play, and checking off the boxes I’ve laid for him previously in this post.

Next: Andre Drummond lost 30 lbs this summer

Aiding the Pistons in their push for playoffs will hold him in place on Detroit’s roster. If things start going sour, he’ll be one of the first they look to trade come the deadline. He can avoid that and become a better player, by embracing the inevitable – the Pistons are going back to the playoffs.