Contract: 10-day contract (’13-14)
Years With Team: 0
Years With League: 2
Previous Teams: Cleveland
Acquired: Free Agent '14
In the D-League, Harris continued his high usage slashing mentality from his college days, but became more selfish than he was in college, oftentimes looking to score for himself. His shots are always heavily weighted towards at-rim shots; for example, with the D-Fenders, he took nearly two-thirds of his shots from inside sixteen feet of the basket, and over half of them within eight feet of the rim. He's a surprisingly effective offensive rebounder, a trait seen in virtually every stop he's been in. A bit unfortunately, though, he plays a style of game (slashing) that requires length, athleticism and strength to be fully optimized in the NBA, but he has precisely none of it. He only has a wingspan two inches taller than his height, he has a super paltry dunk rate (over an 80 game span with Cleveland, he only had six dunks--for his height, that's very poor) and well prefers the layup in his drives, and he has narrow shoulders and clearly lacks strength, as he always has since his college days. He has to compensate for that via resourcefulness--he has an aggressive first step, is shifty, and generally handles the ball well (with in particular excellent handles in his D-Fenders stint) to get to the rim, and while he's severely affected by the finishing, he knows how to leverage his poor frame and sell contact to draw fouls. In effect, he's kind of like a slashing Jamal Crawford--with a very similar style of frame and athleticism--who does not have the jumper.
But beyond drawing fouls, his finishing is somewhat spotty. Harris sported a treasure trove of sub-50% 2-point shooting throughout his college career, shot only a 54% aggregate at the rim in Cleveland even despite his tendency to slash there, and while he improved his finishing to decent in his current D-League stint, he was fairly average in his last stint with Canton. The loss of passing could be key: Harris was somewhat of a combo guard in his first several years of college, but somewhere along the way completely lost the narrative, between his third year, his two years with the Cavs, and his two years in the D-League, where he's more or less put up generic assist rates for a shooting guard. This gives defenses another option where they can just play him straight up on his drives. That, and his body frame, might lead his finishing to only suffer more with the better defenses of the NBA. The reality is, his primary source of generating points is selling contact in his drives to get to the charity stripe, which he's generally money from him, as has been the case throughout his career.
Even beyond that, he has three other major weaknesses: (1) while he's hitting his mid-range jumpers this year, at 47%, it is at a really, really small sample size, and that comes with a ton of previous concerns. Harris's D-League stint with Canton in 2010-11 saw an absolutely broke mid-range jumper, and his mid-range game in Cleveland was equally broken, seeing percentages in the low 20s there, so it is absolutely correct to be a skeptic here. Harris also has major issues hitting threes with the D-Fenders (at around 25% this season), and he also struggles with very small sample sizes here, which raises the concern whether he does have reliable NBA three point range. Harris did shoot a 35% aggregate in low samples with Cleveland, and surprisingly over 40% with Canton, but his percentages in college were more or less in the low 30s; he might simply be a 30% three point shooter accounting for the low volume here, which simply is not good enough to be respected. (2) Harris is noticeably more effective taking shots from the right than he is from the left; he's adequate at right wing mid-range pull-ups and right wing threes, but his shot is really sketchy when forced to take shots from the left, something the scouting report will easily pick up on. (3) He's just not a role player type. For two years, the Cavs tried that with him, giving him generic usage rates, but he just does not have the aforementioned shooting, and even his off-the-ball shooting performances are lacking, as evidenced by his complete ineffectiveness in corner three pointers with the D-Fenders. He fought against that box but only became more turnover prone in the process to get his points. It's kind of a Ricky Davis all-or-nothing syndrome with him: he needs the usage.
So, to summarize: in the NBA, teams can easily force Harris to drive left, will go under screens daring him to shoot jumpers, and perhaps force him to move off the ball more, all things that he appears to struggle with. Even if he gets to the rim, though, he's not a sure thing: teams can play him properly because in recent years, he does not look to pass much and his track record for actually finishing is iffy. The reality is, running an offense through him just is not wise, because he's a bit smoke and mirrors as teams have picked up on his weaknesses here: nine D-Fenders players who played over ten games so far has had a higher offensive impact than he has; similarly, with the Cavs, they were 3-4 points better offensively with him off the court in both his seasons. That might be the most damning piece of evidence: his high usage game is not a winning game. Empty stats.
Defensively, Harris is a little more interesting, but still very inconsistent. Harris has been an excellent defensive rebounder for his size in virtually every stop, from college to his two seasons with the Cavs. He's just an OK defensive playmaker who did get over two steals a game, but in very heavy minutes in his two D-League stints. The overall track record for his actual defense is more mixed: he did put up a good defensive rating in his last year in college, and also recovered in man-to-man and team defense in his second year with the Cavs. At the same time, he was completely overmatched in man-to-man and team defense in his first year with the Cavs, and his most recent history has been very spotty: with the D-Fenders, he was at the lower end of the ladder team-wise, and even among D-League guards was just fairly average as a whole. His splits are really alarming: at D-Fenders home games, he's actually an excellent defender; at road games, he's flat out atrocious, suggesting he has an on and off switch here. He has some potential, but he's just very inconsistent.
The overall picture suggests what I like to call a "hot air" player: a player to gets the numbers, but just does not get it done in the bottom line, on both ends, kind of in the Ricky Davis, Jordan Crawford-ian type aspect. He's only 24, but his game-face is more or less set, and there's little deviation from what he can do. He's probably more fun to watch in person due to combination of ballhandling and penetration, but in general he just has a lot of cold zones when it comes to personal offense, even at the rim. On defense, he's just unreliable, and he's likely set in his ways of not improving the untapped potential there is here because he's just so invested on offense.
For the Lakers on a 10-day, he kind of fills Xavier Henry's role somewhat, but might bring a lot more of the iffy finishing that we saw with Xavier earlier in the season, although unlike Xavier, he hits his foul shots. Just like with the D-Fenders' past pace, D'Antoni's fast pace and green light for guards who are able to dribble the ball will help him get his numbers, no matter how artificial they are. It will be scary to watch defenses sag off of Harris-Marshall lineups, knowing both of those guys have very iffy jumpers. Defenders just won't play him honestly, and Harris will put up his share of awful shooting nights.
Last edited by rydjorker121
on Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.