When the Nets gathered this summer, the former Cavaliers draft pick that gathered the most attention was Anthony Bennett, the overall No. 1 pick in the 2014 Draft, not the No. 33 pick in the next year’s draft, Joe Harris.
While Bennett has had his moments in training camp, Harris been training camp’s most pleasant surprise in the eyes of Kenny Atkinson, showing up a shooter’s confidence, an ideal quality in the head coach’s motion offense.
“They brought me in because of my ability to shoot the ball and that’s what I’m here to do,” Harris told the Post’s Howie Kussoy and Newsday’s Greg Logan. “It’s one of those deals where if I’m not shooting or being aggressive and taking shots then I’m probably going to be sat on the bench more quickly. Their big thing with me is being able to spread the floor, whether I’m making shots or missing shots, it allows space for other guys.
“That’s my job going into games, to be aggressive and hunt shots.”
And that’s what he’s done, shooting 62.5 percent (10-of-16) from deep. His high-arching falling-away corner three near the end of the Knicks game sealed a 15-point performance and a perfect night from deep, 3-of-3. He also played a heady game on offense, showing he can handle the ball and pass. He will have to improve his defense, which he acknowledges.
You’d have been hard-pressed to see that potential in The Land, where for a season and a half, he was buried behind some of the league’s top players ... or shuttled back and forth between Cleveland and Canton. Then, mid-season last year, he broke his foot and the Cavaliers traded him to Magic who immediately waived him. But there were two staffers the Nets signed away from Cleveland who thought he had an NBA future.
Trajan Langdon, Sean Marks assistant GM, and Bret Brielmaier, an assistant coach, both recommended the Nets take a chance on him. He has a two-year, vets minimum deal with a team option on the second year. If he can play like he did in preseason, Harris would be a bargain, the kind of free agent the Nets have to hit on to make up for all those lost picks.
While some fans are impatient with the motion offense, and players talk about how hard it is to learn, Harris has no problem with a system that opens up things for deep shooters.
“I think [the system] fits me pretty well.”
- Former Cavaliers bench warmer carving out vital role with Nets - Howie Kussoy - New York Post
- Three-point specialist Joe Harris a fit for Brooklyn Nets - Greg Logan - Newsday