Rob Mahoney, writing for the NY Times’ Off the Dribble blog thinks that Devin Harris deserves more love. He may not be the up-and-coming PG of the future when he first came into the league, but Mahoney thinks with the proper offensive system and coaching behind him, Harris would be better appreciated for what he is – a very good players on a bad team:
Given the circumstances, it’s not difficult to see why Harris isn’t more heralded. In addition to the aforementioned factors that have barred Harris from reaching prominence, consider Nets Coach Avery Johnson. Not only does Johnson employ an offensive system that makes poor use of Harris’ speed, but he plays his starting point guard -– and one of his team’s top two players -– just 31 minutes a game. That’s fewer than most every starting-caliber point man in the league, and for no particularly persuasive reason; the Nets have no point guard controversy, and Jordan Farmar -– a decent but clearly inferior player to Harris -– is the beneficiary of Johnson’s apparent distaste for Harris’ style. Harris isn’t without faults, but he’s far too good to sit for Farmar’s sake, and Johnson’s allocation of minutes borders on inexplicable.
I do have to quibble with this idea that he should be playing more minutes. Harris has been battling the “injury prone” label for most of his career and I think Avery and the trainers have done a great keeping him on the court. And while Farmar is not the greatest, he’s a perfectly capable back-up in this league. I do agree that the Nets play at too slow a pace. They’re just not creative enough on offense (and good enough shooters), to milk the shot clock to 2 or 3 on every possession then force an 18-footer.