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Joe Harris: It’d be ‘awesome’ to shoot 50% from three, but he ‘never looks’ at numbers

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New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

In an interview with Jacob Forchheimer of GQ, Joe Harris admits it would be “awesome” to shoot 50 percent from 3-point range this season, but says he’s not about the numbers and unlike when he was younger, he “never looks” at what he’s shooting, where he stands.

He says he may see numbers randomly on the Barclays Center “ticker” but no, that’s not what he’s about.

“You see stats on the ticker before games,” Harris told Forchheimer. “Especially at home, our names will pop up with our stats. And I get it—I know it’s a very stat-focused league, and people like to see tangible evidence on how players are doing. But I’ve never really paid that much attention to it. I know when I’m playing efficiently and when I’m not, but I don’t really need to look at the stat sheet to see that.”

For the record, going into tonight’s game vs. the Pelicans, he’s at 48.4 percent, best number of his career and third in the NBA. He’s taken and made far more than the two players ahead of him, Tony Snell and Joe Ingels. And he keeps moving up the All-Time list, now shooting 43.7 percent for his career, fifth best ever.

Harris admits that the 50 percent milestone would be an achievement.

“It’d be awesome. You definitely join a rare club of guys. I think [Kyle] Korver and Steve Kerr, and then maybe Tim Legler are the only people that have ever done it. [A few other players—Detlef Schrempf, Jason Kapono, and Jon Sundvold—have managed the feat.] So yeah, that would be incredible. But two years ago I led the NBA in three-point shooting percentage and I got a trophy from the NBA. I don’t even have it. I don’t even know where the hell that thing is.”

WHAT?!?

“I don’t know. I think it’s in our facility—maybe in my locker or something.”

Harris may be nonchalant about his individual achievements, but he’s absolutely enthused about his teammates, particularly James Harden who he notes deliberately takes a back seat in scoring early in games so he can get everyone going early.

“James is an excellent shooter himself, but he’s also got a point guard mindset. He’s constantly trying to get guys involved. There are times in the first quarter where he might only take like one or two shots, but he’ll have seven or eight assists because he’s getting everybody involved. He sees it from a shooter’s perspective, and tries to get guys’ rhythms going early.”

Harris admits Harden’s passing ability, of which he is often a beneficiary, has surprised him.

“We played against him a couple different times and he dropped high 50s, and I think he had 60-something against us one year, too. So I knew that he’s obviously one of the best scorers in the league, but after playing with him I see he’s a lot more than that,” he told Forchheimer. “I would argue that his passing ability is just as good as his scoring ability, which is saying a lot.”

Harris and Forchheimer also talked about how Harris has become the “blueprint” for a lot of players whose first or even second team gave up on.

“The NBA is such a challenging place because guys get written off so quickly, and I’ve never really understood it. A kid might come in who’s 19, 20 years old, who struggled to find his footing early on. And then teams are off him when he’s 22, 23 years old, when there’s still a lot of time left to develop him.

“I even talked about this the other day with some of the Nets assistant coaches. Typically the best talent and prospects are guys that are sitting at the end of NBA benches or playing in the G League. There’s a lot of attention and focus put on guys in the draft—rightfully so—but you’re just speculating on those guys. The young guys sitting on the end of the benches are the best prospects that just need an opportunity.”

In Harris’s case, he was traded and dumped the same day he underwent season-ending ankle surgery in January 2016. The Nets picked him up the following summer after Kenny Atkinson told him that he could be the Nets’ Kyle Korver. And now, he’s surpassed Korver all time in career 3-point shooting ... and signed a four-year, $72 million contract.

The native of Lake Chelan, Washington, says he’s proud of how he’s improved his game beyond shooting from deep, on defense, rebounding, etc., surprising his superstar teammates.

“Actually, it’s kind of funny that you say that, because playing with them at the beginning of the year, there was little stuff defensively where they’d be gassing me up,” he told Forchheimer. “Whereas in the past, it wasn’t necessarily like that. You wouldn’t expect these guys to come in and have a good feel for what your game was about. But they instill a lot of confidence in me in other areas besides shooting the ball.”

There’s a lot more in the GQ interview including how he toys with the idea of changing his fashion sense, go with some chains maybe. We can hardly wait.