While no one can say for sure that the trade rumors were effecting Devin Harris’ play, you can certainly make the case that our point guard’s energy has increased since Prokhorov pulled the Nets from the Carmelo Anthony saga.
With that came a surge in Harris’ assist numbers. Before coming back to earth, slightly, in the loss to the 76ers, Harris set a career high in assists with 16 against the Bucks only to break that two nights later against the Nuggets, setting a new high of 18 assists. Let’s take a look through video at some of the ways Devin was finding his teammates.
The Pick and Roll
Always a staple in NBA offenses and the Nets are no different, utilizing the pick and roll with a lot of different players. In the video you will see Devin handling three different pick and rolls. Because Harris is such a threat to attack defenses, he’ll generally draw the help of the screener’s man. Twice you’ll notice Brook Lopez’s man, Nene, having to help on Harris’ penetration, allowing Brook the time to pop for a jump shot and then to catch a roll to the basket off a nifty pass from Harris. Especially note the craft Harris puts on the ball to deliver it to Brook in clip two.
Maybe like no other game this season, the Nets were getting out on the break and finishing, dynamically in most cases, against the Nuggets. With Devin Harris’ speed, playing in the open court is a natural strength for him and it showed. What really impressed me, however, was the way he was able to deliver lob passes to Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries on the move. The passes were accurate enough that Lopez and Humphries, neither of which would be described as great leapers, were able to go up and finish. Also just take note of the last two clips, as the Nets were caught in traditional three-on-two and three-on-one breaks with Harris being the decision maker in both trips and both times making the correct play.
Driving and Drawing
Dickie V would be proud as Devin Harris was certainly a “three D” drive, drawing and dishing. With the addition of Anthony Morrow, the Nets now have someone who will fan out to the three point line and has the ability to knock down open shots. Harris, a natural penetrator is always going to be able to create those looks for his teammates, which makes the pairing of Morrow and Harris a nice thing for the Nets in the future. What needs to be pointed out in these next two clips is Harris’ maturity. Those of us who have seen Harris’ game, can remember instances where he would turn a corner like he does in these videos, but instead of kicking out to shooters, would force a shot against multiple defenders. I believe it’s a great sign that he’s now breaking down defenses and then looking for spot up shooters on the perimeter. Can only mean good things for the Nets and let’s hope it keeps up.