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Kevin Durant: Joe Harris ‘right up there, getting there’ with Splash Brothers

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Brooklyn Nets v Washington Wizards Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Kevin Durant was on two, count’em two podcasts Thursday but the one quote that caught Nets fans’ attention was the one on Twitter Spaces with Banksy Gonzalez, better known on Twitter as Boogie Bousins.

Here’s what he said...

“Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are the best shooters I’ve played with,” Durant said. “Joe Harris is definitely right up there, getting there.”

Heresy! Harris on the same level as the Splash Brothers! Please! Some might say. Not us. We’ve been preaching just how historic Harris’s deep shooting has become.

For openers, Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports points up Harris’s accomplishments so far this season...

Brooklyn’s offense has exploded this season with Harris on the court, going from 111.7 points per 100 possessions with him on the bench, to 118.3 when he’s playing, largely because of his deadeye long-range shooting ability and off-ball movement. Benefiting from an increased number of open looks due to the star power around him, Harris is making a career-high 48.4 percent of his 3s this season, second to only Utah’s Joe Ingles for players averaging at least five 3-point attempts per game...

Harris has taken 2.2 “wide open” 3-pointers per game this season per NBA.com (closest defender at least six feet away), compared to 1.7 such attempts per game last season, and he’s knocked down a league-best 59.5 percent of them.

And as we’ve noted, Harris has moved up the All-Time list this season as well. He’s currently fifth All-Time in career 3-point shooting percentage at 43.73. Steph Curry, who’s having a good year shooting (when healthy), is two places behind at 43.26 and the injured Thompson who’s nine places back. Harris moved ahead of Steph Curry this season with his hot shooting along with his head coach Steve Nash and Kyle Korver, among others.

He’s shot at least 41 percent from deep in four consecutive seasons, leading the NBA with a 47.4 percentage during the 2018-19 season, the same year he won the 3-point shooting contest at All-Star Weekend.

Now, now, no one, not even KD, is suggesting that Harris is as great a player as either of the three-time NBA champs. Curry has a 2,000+ lead in 3-pointers over Harris’s 788 total. Thompson, despite his two lost seasons, has 1000 more. It’s just that Harris, perhaps because of who he plays with, whose shadow he’s in, doesn’t get the proper credit.

On the other side of the coin, having James Harden and Kyrie Irving as his playmakers isn’t such a bad thing. Nor is having as your head coach someone who understands the shooter mentality (and had 50/40/90 shooting lines four times during his career.)

“It’s the little stuff. Maybe I’ve missed my first few shots in the game, and we have a dead ball and he’s drawing up a play for me, and not going away from me. He’s constantly thinking about how we can get certain people looks. And on our team, guys like Kyrie and James are so good at creating shots for themselves, so a lot of times ATOs [“after time-out” plays] and different sets and draw-ups are for guys like me and Landry [Shamet] or other guys on the court to get a clean look.”

If he keeps shooting at his current pace, Harris could surpass at least one more shooter, maybe two, on the All-Time list: Drazen Petrovic who he’s already passed on the Nets All-Time list, and Seth Curry, Steph’s brother.