The importance of having someone to rely on in times of hardships can’t be understated. Someone to call in the middle of a torrential downpour when you missed the last bus and desperately need a ride; someone to watch over your home and feed your pets while you’re on vacation; someone who is willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure your well-being. For the Brooklyn Nets, that someone is Joe Harris.
Whether it’s acting as a mediator in the middle of alleged ‘team conflict’ in China, or it’s knocking down back-to-back triples late in the game to tie the game and take the lead as in the case of Friday’s exhibition against Portland, this team can look to Joe Harris as a security blanket—they can count on him.
Since signing with the organization back in July of 2016, Joe Harris has made leaps and bounds with every passing season. Often billed as a three-point marksman…you know where I’m going with this, “he’s so much more…blah blah, look at him drive the rim here, etc,” but to put it simply: he’s gone above and beyond the call of duty.
Every season has seen statistical improvement and the analytics are synonymous with the natural eye-test; he’s aging like fine wine. He’s adopting a well-rounded offensive repertoire; he’s consistently making the right reads and putting himself into situations of success.
Here’s an indication of his improvement via his favorite weapon of choice: the perimeter jump shot.
His efficiency should be marveled at like the grandiose artwork of the Renaissance era: his True Shooting Percentage the Sistine Chapel, his catch and shoot percentage Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. (At the end of the day, I’m just a Joe Harris supporter and a History major.)
He gets to the paint with familiarity compared to other elite marksmen of recent memory, as illustrated by his 17/34 (50 percent) shooting from inside 10 feet this season. To put that into perspective, Kyle Korver in his All-Star season back in 2014/15 attempted only 46 shots within 10 feet—Harris is projected for 349 shots. MUCH MORE THAN A SHOOTER.
Likewise, he’s making the correct decisions on the fly, he’s poised and his natural instincts and basketball I.Q have been on full display early.
Defenses tend to overplay him from the perimeter, which is usually the case if you’re guarding someone who led the league in three-point percentage last season (47.4 percent) and is shooting 54.2 percent this year. If you don’t step up for a deliberate contest, there’s higher than a 1 in 2 chance that the ball is going in and three points are going to be rewarded for Brooklyn.
Harris knows this, and he’s taking full advantage of defenses over-contesting him beyond the arc. He’s no stranger when it comes to putting the ball on the deck and driving to the hoop, last year he averaged 7.0 drives per contest and this year he’s at 5.4, but where he’s improved on is making the opposing bigs collapse on him and finding a teammate under the basket for the easy deuce.
With the ability to finish at the rim, take smaller defenders in the block with his 6’6, 220-pound frame, or find teammates on either dribble-drives or just by making the logical extra pass, his presence on the basketball court is of much significance to the Brooklyn Nets.
His contract concludes at the end of the 2019/20 campaign, GM’s around the NBA know of Harris’ worth on the hardwood, he’s going to get his money, let’s just hope that comes from the pockets of the Nets front office.
You’re not going to find a player that does not demand the ball, ignites your offense with his shooting gravity, is a gel guy in the locker room and is a media darling with regularity. He’s indicated that Brooklyn is where he wants to be, it’s where he has had a career Renaissance, so-to-speak, you oblige him by keeping him in a Nets uniform long-term—he has made himself irreplaceable.