The Brooklyn Nets uncovered a diamond in the rough, establishing fourth year shooting guard Joe Harris as a legitimate three-point sniper. Harris had a career year this season, improving his numbers across the board and appears to be a key piece in Brooklyn’s future.
The 2017/18 season was a somewhat a coming out party for Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Harris. With career highs in minutes (25.3), points (10.8), rebounds (3.3), assists (1.6), field goal percentage (49.1) and three point percentage (41.9), Harris put the league on notice with his ability to consistently hit triples on the move. With shades of J.J Reddick and Kyle Korver in his game, the fourth year guard has aligned himself for a substantial raise this offseason.
On Fire from Deep
Harris finished 16th in the league in three point percentage, shooting a career high 41.9 percent from deep. More impressive was his ability to effectively utilize pin downs and screens to get open. On catch and shoot opportunities, Harris converted at a 41.2 percent rate and sunk a staggering 48.1 percent on pull-ups. The Nets adopted the league’s space and pace philosophy, amplifying Harris’ strength as an elite three point shooter. Teams around the league will be loitering around the opportunity to sign Harris as shooting is at a premium.
Entering the NBA, Harris lacked the physical tools as an elite defender. Standing at 6’6, 219 lbs, he only possesses a 6’6 wingspan and lacks the quickness of elite small forwards. Additionally, he isn’t quick enough to guard shooting guards and much too small against even the smallest power forwards. However, this season saw Harris’ IQ on the defensive end improve markedly. Not known for his jumping ability or skills as a shot blocker, my favourite defensive play was when he met Draymond Green at the summit.
There is no doubt Green is one of the best defenders in the NBA with one of the highest offensive IQ’s but its always good to see an overconfident 6’8 power forward get blocked by smaller players. Harris’ hustle back was a huge surprise, exemplifying his growth on defense.
Best Game of the Year
In the Nets 121-114 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Harris’ ability to make shots on the move was on display. In 27 minutes, Harris scored 30 points on just 14 shots which included a sizzling 6-7 from three point range. This game validated the Washington native as a legitimate three point sniper. It seems fitting his best performance came against the team that drafted him in 2014.
Where to next?
Brooklyn must decide what direction they’re heading in. Harris’ shooting ability is at a premium and there will be a host of clubs honing in on his free agency. The good thing for the Nets is money is tight and all clubs are under pressure from the cap. However, the league covets three point marksmanship and teams may shell out a decent contract to lure Harris away. At 26 years old, the Washington native is moving into his prime years. Luckily for Harris, he does not rely on athleticism to get buckets thus he still has a solid career ahead of him.
If this season is anything to go by, coach Kenny Atkinson has heavily adopted the space and pace philosophy. Brooklyn would be silly to let Harris simply walk out the door considering he fits the mould perfectly. However, Harris was selected 33rd overall in 2014 and flipping him into a first round pick is appetizing. The Nets are still a few years from contending thus trading him for a first rounder is a huge win if Brooklyn choose to do so.
If the Nets elect to offer him a hefty raise, I would have no problems with it. Harris has played exceptionally well and transformed himself into a commodity the league is hunting for. His grade would be higher if he could create his own offense but he struggles in that area.
As a pure shooter and improving on defense, he has earned himself his spot in the league.
Season Grade: B+