Brooklyn Nets swingman Joe Harris enters play Sunday as the NBA’s best 3-point shooter at 49.2 percent and absolutely should be in Charlotte next month.
Seth Curry of the Portland Trail Blazers lost his grip on the No. 1 spot with a 2-for-9 mini-slump in his last two games on Friday and Saturday.
Harris currently holds the franchise single-season record for 3-point accuracy, as his 92 makes from long range this season already have qualified him for the full-season leaderboard.
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The single-season record currently belongs to Hall of Famer Drazen Petrovic, who hit 44.9 percent from 3-point range in 1992-93. The best any player has done in the Brooklyn era was Harris himself, who made 41.9 percent from deep last season.
Not only is Harris on pace to shatter the franchise single-season record, but his current percentage ranks as the 10th-best single-season 3-point shooting performance in NBA history.
If you eliminate the three seasons (1994-97) of the shortened line, that moves up to sixth-best all-time. The five better performances, for posterity’s sake
- 53.6 percent: Kyle Korver, Utah Jazz, 2009-10
- 52.2 percent: Jon Sundvold, Miami Heat, 1988-89
- 51.4 percent: Jason Kapono, Miami Heat, 2006-07
- 50.7 percent: Steve Kerr, Cleveland Cavaliers, 1989-90
- 49.22 percent: Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks, 2014-15
The asterisk seasons belong to Kerr with the Chicago Bulls in 1994-95 (52.4 percent) and 1995-96 (51.5 percent), Tim Legler with the Washington Bullets in 1995-96 (52,2 percent) and Detlef Schrempf of the Seattle SuperSonics in 1994-95 (51.4 percent).
What this all leads to is what should be an easy conclusion: Joe Harris should be invited to participate in the 3-Point Contest at All-Star Saturday Night in Charlotte next month.
But Harris performing well in the contest might not be as simple as it sounds.
His shooting style becomes an issue in a contest such as the one during All-Star Weekend, as it involves taking 25 shots from five different spots on the floor with a minute on the clock.
For a shooter such as Nets teammate D’Angelo Russell, the contest is not quite as daunting, because Russell launches his 3-point attempt close to the floor — more of a set shot than a full-fledged jumper.
Harris, on the other hand, shoots a conventional jumper from deep. Doing that 25 times in a minute is a big ask. The shooting stroke itself isn’t the problem — Harris is as locked in with his mechanics right now as a shooter can be; everything is eminently repeatable.
Rather it’s time and effort. Bouncing up into a jump shot 25 times in 60 seconds is not only slower than shooting a set shot — for contest purposes, not game conditions — but it also takes a lot of effort.
Traditional jump shooters haven’t always fared well during the event. But Harris absolutely deserves the opportunity as he has been at or near the top of the leaderboard in 3-point shooting all season long.
You can get a look at that form several times in this video released by the NBA G League (Harris is an alumnus of the developmental circuit) highlighting Harris’ top plays from this season:
In the Brooklyn era, the Nets have been represented in the 3-Point Contest just once, when Joe Johnson finished eighth among eight participants in 2014.
Other Nets who have participated include Petrovic (1992) and Anthony Morrow (2012).
While the contest calls for shooters to pull balls off of a rack at each station, I almost wonder if they could bend the rules to have Russell pass the balls to Harris instead.
Given how well he’s hit catch-and-shoot 3s this season? I’d like his chances a lot.