Quiet as kept, and probably about how he likes it, Joe Harris has been pretty much a model of consistency for the Brooklyn Nets.
So far in 2017-18, he hasn’t been a great deal better than his breakout season last year when he averaged 8.2 points through 21.9 minutes per game, but he is growing into more of the sharpshooter the Nets envisioned and need.
In his 52 appearances last year, before he went down with a shoulder injury, Harris shot 42.5% from the floor, but was a reliable 38.5% from long distance.
In the small (and early) sample size of this season, Harris is posting 8.6 points in 20. 4 minutes per game, shooting 46.4 percent overall and 38.9 percent from three. The scoring elevates Harris from 13.5 points per 36 minutes last season to a slightly better 14.8 points this go ‘round. Like we said, consistency.
But he has a chance to do better, to meet his off-season goal.
Before last week, Harris was hitting 47% of his field goal attempts, and about 42% from 3-point land. Like last season, he was hoisting seven shots per game, and 2.6 beyond the arc, but, as the numbers suggest, he was hitting his shots at a much more efficient rate as the Nets entered November.
Then, in his last two games, versus the Suns and Lakers, he hit a trough, shooting 1-of-7 from deep, his worst two-game stretch since last January. The Nets need him to do better. He needs it too ... to meet a goal he set in the summer. He wants to make 40 percent of his shots beyond the arc.
“That’s just a personal goal of mine,” Harris said at training camp at the Naval Academy. “I hovered around 38 and 39 percent last year. If you look at all the top shooters in the NBA, guys that might be specialists — like how I see myself as a good shooter and specialist — they’re always 40 percent and above. So that’s a personal goal for me to get into that elite 3-point shooting percentage.”
Of course, at this point in the season, the difference between 38.9 percent and 40 percent is one good night.
And Harris has a history of starting slow. Last season, in his first eight games, Harris shot 42.4% from the field, but only 28.6% from downtown. He went on a tear from December through March when he got hurt, shooting better than 50% in February.
Now, there are some who would like to see Harris settle into a “Kyle Korver role” with the Nets, but that parallel is more or less “that white guy can shoot” thing. Besides, Allen Crabbe has that role in mind for himself. After all, it was Crabbe who finished right behind Korver last season.
So, Joe Harris should focus on being Joe Harris, which isn’t all that bad if it looks like this.