Brooklyn Nets: Joe Harris proving he’s still quite the bargain

Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Joe Harris reportedly turned down larger offers to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets last summer for two years and $16 million. He’s still looks like a bargain.

Joe Harris stayed with the Brooklyn Nets as a free agent last summer because he felt a great deal of loyalty to the organization that gave him a chance to show he was an NBA player.

Harris never really got that chance after being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft.

Shortly after the Cavs drafted Harris, they signed LeBron James back from the Miami Heat and began a process of remaking the team as a championship contender.

So instead of an opportunity for a team that needed lots of help everywhere, Harris got lost in the shuffle as Cleveland remade itself. He played in 51 games as a rookie, starting one, and averaged 2.7 points in 9.7 minutes per game, shooting .400/.369/9-for-15.

His rookie season also included 12 separate assignments to the NBA G League’s Canton Charge, where he played in 11 games and averaged 14.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 31.5 minutes per game, but shot just .391/.261/.733.

Harris’ second year with the Cavs saw him play 10 games in Canton and just five with Cleveland before a shoulder injury ended his season and a trade to the Orlando Magic sidetracked his career.

Harris was dealt to Orlando for a heavily protected 2020 second-round pick that will likely never get to Cleveland. The same day the Magic got Harris, they cut him and he was out of the NBA.

In July 2016, Harris got a two-year veteran’s minimum deal with the Brooklyn Nets. He made his way into Brooklyn’s rotation in 2016-17, averaging 7.2 points and 2.8 rebounds in 21.9 minutes per game on .425/.386/.714 shooting in 52 games.

He broke out last season, playing in 78 games and setting career-highs with 10.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 25.3 minutes a night, while shooting a very solid .491/.419/.827.

With bigger offers on the table, Harris returned to the Nets for two years and $16 million.

When Allen Crabbe went down with an injury in the preseason, Harris was inserted into the starting lineup at small forward, with Caris LeVert shifting to shooting guard.

Harris may not yield that spot.

In what has been a breakout campaign following a breakout campaign, Harris was hot again Saturday night for the Nets, scoring a season-high 24 points — 19 in the first half — in Brooklyn’s 116-100 loss to the Golden State Warriors.

In just 21 minutes, Harris was 9-for-12 from the floor, hit 4-for-6 from 3-point range while adding two assists and a steal.

He was the only rotation regular with a positive rating, finishing with a plus-3 in a game the Nets lost by 16 points.

Through 13 games, Harris is averaging 14.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists while playing 29.2 minutes a night. His shooting? Off-the-charts ridiculous — with splits of .571/.578/9-for-11.

Harris leads the NBA in 3-point shooting and is 13th in the Association in overall field-goal percentage.

He’s constantly moving and when he gets an open shot from 3, you could put them all on a loop and they’d look practically identical. Harris gets into position to shoot before the catch and everything happens in one smooth, repeatable motion.

It’s the beauty of fluidity combined with machine-like repetition.

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Not bad at all for a guy who a little more than two years ago didn’t have an NBA job.