Tobias Harris isn’t a perfect fit for the Pacers in free agency

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 10: Tobias Harris #33 of the Philadelphia 76ers dribbles the ball against Thaddeus Young #21 of the Indiana Pacers at the Wells Fargo Center on March 10, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 10: Tobias Harris #33 of the Philadelphia 76ers dribbles the ball against Thaddeus Young #21 of the Indiana Pacers at the Wells Fargo Center on March 10, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Indiana Pacers have some money to spend this offseason. One player they could look at is Tobias Harris, but would he fit with the current Pacers?

With seven contracts coming off the books this summer, the Indiana Pacers will have some cap flexibility to shake things up. If they choose to renounce all of their contracts, the Pacers could have up to about $34 million to spend in free agency.

Having to replace seven players puts a damper on that large number, of course. But there is a world where the Pacers could sign a max-level player and find some cheap rotation players floating around in the market.

The Pacers are in desperate need of a secondary ball-handler alongside Victor Oladipo. The popular names throughout Pacers Land have been Kemba Walker and D’Angelo Russell.

Both of those guys would be an excellent upgrade at the point guard position but Indiana could go in another direction and look for that skillset in a forward.

The obvious choice here is a guy that would be an excellent fit with a ton of teams in the NBA: Tobias Harris.

Harris has turned into such a good player over the past few seasons, teams can’t stop trading him! Or, trading for him. Just in the past two seasons, Harris has played for the Pistons, Clippers, and Sixers. Now, he has the chance to choose his own destination — and he’ll likely only do so in exchange for lots o’ money.

Indiana is included in the list of teams that could use Harris’s services.

Whether he’s worth the money he will receive is an article for another day — and in fact, was one Ben Gibson did many days ago.

Here, we will focus on Harris’s fit with the Pacers.

In terms of creation, Harris does pretty well for himself. Just 58 percent of his total shot spread was assisted during his 27-game stint with Philadelphia, placing him in the 81st percentile, per Cleaning The Glass. With the Clippers, it was even better — 46 percent of his shots were assisted (97th percentile).

From deep, Harris was assisted on 81 percent (LA) and 80 percent (Philly) — 90th and 91st percentile respectively. Three-point shooting is one area where Harris has really improved his game. Earlier in his career, he was simply a spot-up shooter — and not a great one at that.

This season, Harris shot 38.2 percent on catch-and-shoot attempts and 41.3 percent on pull-up attempts.

Where Harris really succeeds is in the mid-range, however. While many successful teams in the league have mostly abandoned that vaunted area between the arc and the rim, Indiana isn’t afraid to operate there. About 35 percent of Indiana’s total attempts came within the mid-range last season, fourth-most in the league.

On the season, Harris shot 41 percent of his shots in the mid-range — making 47 percent of them. That is pretty darn good.

Harris isn’t great at attacking the rim or finishing when he does get there — he’s been mostly average in both regards throughout his career.

On its face, a Harris signing would make some sense. He would undoubtedly fill that secondary creation role the Pacers need, and in theory, he has the tools to be a switchy defender (especially under Nate McMillan and Dan Burke’s tutelage).

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There are two large obstacles standing in the way of making this a reality, however. As discussed earlier, the cost will almost certainly be too much. It is no lock for the Pacers to retain Bojan Bogdanovic in free agency, but if you had to pin them against each other, Bogey makes much more sense than Harris.

This season, Bogdanovic did a fine job creating for himself and scored at the most efficient rate of his career (57.2 effective field goal percentage). He will also be much cheaper than Harris.

The second concern is Harris’s position. With Domantas Sabonis potentially moving into the starting lineup at the power forward position, Harris would have to play at small forward. In his career, Harris has had little success playing the 3.

In his short stint with the Sixers this season, Harris played 29 percent of his minutes at small forward and was a minus-6.7.

All things considered, bringing in Harris wouldn’t make a ton of sense for the Pacers. If he wasn’t expecting a near-max deal (at least) and didn’t have Sabonis standing in his way at the 4, this could be a real possibility for the Pacers. That, however, isn’t the case.

Next. Pacers keep busy on draft day. dark

Indiana could go in a ton of different directions with their cap space but it would be wise for them to not go in the direction of Tobias Harris.