Brooklyn Nets 2017-2018 Player Grade: Joe Harris

Brooklyn Nets Joe Harris. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Joe Harris. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Our season grades continue today with Joe Harris. Harris improved every facet of his game from last season, and was among the Brooklyn Nets most reliable players this year. He earns a B+ for the 2017-2018 season.

The Brooklyn Nets don’t catch a lot of people’s attention. They didn’t have a single national TV game this past season. They’ve been one of the worst teams in the NBA for several years now. They lack superstars, and have been deprived of their draft picks for years.

For these reasons, a lot of casual NBA fans have likely missed out on something the Brooklyn Nets do as well as almost any team in the NBA–develop players. Last week, we wrote about Spencer Dinwiddie’s remarkable ascension this season. This week, it’s Joe Harris, who went from barely seeing the court in Cleveland to a staple of the Nets bench the last two seasons.

This season, Harris improved his most significant statistical category. He upped his scoring from 8.2 points to 10.8 points per game. He shot the ball more, and his efficiency was way up, from three as well as on two-pointers.

Last season, Kenny Atkinson told Harris: “We want you to be our Kyle Korver.” After this season, it’s abundantly clear why. The Nets have employed ways to get Harris rolling, and he’s risen to the occasion. His 41.9% from three this season was tied for 16th best in the NBA.

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As befits his role, Harris excelled off screens. His 1.11 points per possession on such plays put him in the 75 percentile league-wide, per Harris’s effective field goal percentage on catch-and-shoot was 61%, among the best marks in the league. He also shot an impressive 50% on pull-up threes (25-50).

The Nets gradually ran more plays for Harris, including this nice double screen on Cleveland. Kevin Love reacts too late on the close, and Harris gets a wide open look:

Without screens, Harris is active and intuitive in space:

Not Just a Shooter

Harris has dramatically improved his three point shooting since joining the Nets, but his ascension in other facets of the game that have helped him reach another level. When players close on his shot too quickly, Harris makes them pay:

Harris has clearly gained confidence in his offensive game. He doesn’t even need to throw up a shot fake. If defenders close too far, Harris is willing to blow past them, even if it’s LeBron:

While his game revolves around coming off screens ready to shoot, Harris has ascended as a pick-and-roll handler. It’s still not something Brooklyn goes to often, but when they do, the results have been impressive. Remarkably, his 1.02 points per possession as a pick-and-roll handler is tied for ninth in the NBA. The players he’s tied with? Chris Paul and LeBron James. You read that right. Sure, he averages fewer than one possession per game, but it’s still a sensational number.

Watch him attack a bigger, dangerous defender in Jerami Grant against the Thunder:

Most of the focus is on Harris’s offense, but that’s not to take away from his defense. It’s just difficult to draw much from defensive numbers. Nonetheless, the Nets defensive rating was nearly the same with Harris on or off the court. He gives effort, and has decent size for a wing, but defense hasn’t been an area of strength for his game. He can get better, and with continued effort, it’s likely he will.

Next: Brooklyn Nets 2017-18 Player Grade: DeMarre Carroll

Harris was a joy to watch this season. He’ll be a free agent this off season, and he’s earned himself a solid pay day with his play this season (and the Nets can fit Harris into their books). Wherever he ends up, Harris has proven himself to be an asset to any NBA team, and his growth over the past two seasons showcase a player with an ability to continue to grow into a very good NBA player.