Name: Devin Harris
Weight: 185 lbs.
Birth Date: February 27, 1983 (age 26)
Birth Place: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Drafted: 5th pick of the first round in 2004 by the Dallas Mavericks
Experience: 5 years
Contract: 8.4 Million
Devin Harris, without a doubt, is the fastest player in the NBA with the basketball, and with the Nets hoping to run a lot more this year, that may make Devin even more productive. I mean in last week’s preseason game, Devin was catching the ball at half court on the inbounds from made baskets. This makes it very easy for Devin to use his speed to his advantage. Devin uses his speed to break down defenders on the top of the key and get into the lane. This was part of the reason the Nets were so good from the corner 3 spot last year. Devin would get into the lane, causing either Bobby Simmons or Jarvis Hayes’ man to sink to help.
Devin also used his speed to get into the lane and finish. It wasn’t just his speed though, Devin was able to use the pick and roll with Brook Lopez effectively last year. When Brook started developing himself as a threat last year, teams had trouble hedging screens involving Devin. Devin was able to attempt 443 lay-ups, and he finished 245 of them. For a guard, Devin is a terrific finisher, combining that with his speed makes him very dangerous. Here is the rest of his shooting breakdown:
Most of Devin’s threes come from the top of the key, which makes sense since that is where the PG spends most of his time. With that being said, Devin wasn’t the most consistent shooter last year, sure he could knock a shot down, but you weren’t entirely comfortable when he pulled up for a jumper. His eFG% on jumpers was slightly over 41%.
Despite shooting a little more than a true point normally would, Devin still was able to put up terrific assist numbers. Devin averaged 9.2 assists per 48 minutes, and he averaged 5.1 assists per every bad pass turnover (as defined by 82games.com). Out of his 476 assists, Devin got the most assists on three point baskets (159 to be exact). This can be attributed to what we talked about earlier in terms of using his speed to get into the lane.
It’s funny, Devin was a terrific defender over in Dallas, but as soon as he came over to NJ (especially last year) the defense has been lacking. It just doesn’t make sense either, Devin has all of the attributes to be a terrific defender. He’s long and quick, so that must mean the will isn’t there. It sort of makes sense if you think about it. Devin wasn’t a starter in Dallas until their playoff run into the finals. So to earn his time, he had to do whatever it took to get on the court and he didn’t really have to worry about scoring, but as soon as he got to NJ, a burden to be productive on offense was placed on him. Because of that, I think Devin forgot about defense.
Last year, Devin allowed the PGs playing across from him to acquire a PER of 18.6 (remember the average PER is 15). He wasn’t forcing them into bad shots (eFG% of 51%) and he wasn’t forcing turnovers (only 3.5 per 48 minutes).
With the departure of Vince Carter this offseason there has been a lot of talk about who is going to step up and be the leader of the Nets. A lot of people (including myself) naturally threw Devin’s name to the mix. Others said just because he is the best player on the team that doesn’t make him a leader. Well, from all accounts, Devin is much more vocal this year and he is embracing the fact that his teammates are looking for him to lead them.
We all know that Devin has what it takes on the offensive end, but to take the next step and become an elite player, Devin needs to go back to playing the type of defense he was playing while in Dallas , while keeping up his offensive output. The physical tools are there, so he just needs the correct mindset, and I think with him becoming more vocal this offseason, he has the correct mindset.
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