The Orlando Magic and coach Jacque Vaughn are playing to win, even if they could be among the teams considered as part of a tanking contest down the stretch run of the regular season. Vaughn wants to settle on a consistent starting lineup, according to Evan Dunlap of the Orlando Pinstriped Post, and one of the more interesting storylines is where young forward Tobias Harris falls into the rotation.
Vaughn on Tobias Harris' role: "He could come off the bench or start for us. Honestly, I haven't made that decision yet."— Evan Dunlap (@BQRMagic) October 20, 2013
Harris has only played in three of the Magic's five preseason games prior to Sunday, and missed the last two games with a sore ankle. He started in just one of the three games but has averaged 12 points and 6.3 rebounds in 25 minutes per game.
Last season, he averaged 17.3 points and 8.5 rebounds and played 36 minutes an outing after being traded to the Magic from the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Harris situation is just one of many that will require Vaughn to make a decision. Harris has experience and last season showed glimmers of hope that he could become more than a very good NBA player. But he's also viewed as someone who could come off the bench behind the 20-year-old Maurice Harkless.
The broad assumption is that Nelson, Afflalo, Harkless, and Vučević are assured a starting role. Vaughn wouldn't comment.— Evan Dunlap (@BQRMagic) October 20, 2013
The Magic are still without a firm grasp of when power forward Glen Davis will return from foot surgery. Harris could theoretically fill in at power forward after gaining weight in the offseason to play alongside Harkless, but both Kyle O'Quinn and veteran offseason pickup Jason Maxiell could play at the 4.
In Harris' one preseason start against the Mavericks, he played small forward with O'Quinn, and Harkless played as a big shooting guard. That is unlikely to be a regular-season scenario with rookie Victor Oladipo and veterans Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson eating up minutes at the guard spots.
Of course, the preseason is all about tinkering with lineups. Vaughn seemingly hasn't come to a decision about Harris yet, but with a few veterans in the mix and Davis' assumed return at some point, there are a lot of moving parts to consider.