Brooklyn Nets: Joe Harris win at Three-Point Contest big for Brooklyn

Brooklyn Nets Joe Harris Three-Point Contest All-Star Saturday Night (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
Brooklyn Nets Joe Harris Three-Point Contest All-Star Saturday Night (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage) /

For the 2nd straight year, a guy the Brooklyn Nets pulled off the scrap heap won a trophy at All-Star Saturday Night as Joe Harris won the Three-Point Contest.

Another All-Star Weekend, another win for the Brooklyn Nets and their player development system.

Joe Harris took down Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings to become the first player in Nets’ franchise history to win the Three-Point Contest at All-Star Saturday Night in Charlotte.

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Last year in Los Angeles, it was Spencer Dinwiddie who shone through with a win in the Skills Challenge.

Two players, both out of the league for significant chunks of time in 2016, taking home trophies during the NBA’s signature midseason event.

Harris was the first of the 10 shooters in the competition to take the court and set a high standard, catching fire toward the end of his round and finishing with his money-ball rack in the right corner.

He banged home all five shots on that rack to close his first round with a score of 25.

That stood up through the other nine shooters, with Curry reaching the final with a 27 and Hield putting up 26.

Harris again led off in the final round and went one better — again finishing with a perfect money-ball rack for a score of 26.

Hield was next up and couldn’t match Harris’ hot shooting, finishing with a 19.

That left Curry, acknowledged by many as the greatest pure shooter in the history of the game and a former Three-Point Contest champion in 2015.

Curry was also shooting in his hometown of Charlotte, where his father Dell Curry was a standout shooter for the Charlotte Hornets in the 1980s and 1990s.

Curry gave it a run, hitting every ball on his first and fourth racks before arriving in the right corner for his five money balls needing all of them to force a tiebreaker.

His first two were true, but his third ball hit both sides of the iron before bouncing away, clinching the win for Harris, who set a new record with his 51 total points out of a possible 68 over the two rounds.

Afterward, Harris told the media (via of the respect he has for Curry and also of the culture the Nets have created.

"“Steph is the greatest shooter of all time. Shooting off the rack is not indicative of being a better shooter than Steph Curry. I don’t want anyone to get it twisted at all. For me to come in and win on my first time, it’s surreal.“It’s been an honor for me to be here, for me to participate this weekend, and it’s something I’ll remember for a long time.“I think if you look at the makeup of our Brooklyn Nets team, it’s a lot of guys who have been castoffs and given a second opportunity.“I personally was one of those guys and I got lucky going into a situation to a team that had an emphasis on culture and I’m sort of a byproduct of that system.”"

Harris signed a two-year free agent deal with the Nets in July 2016, a little more than six months after he had been waived out of the NBA by the Orlando Magic after being traded there by his first team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Last summer, Harris signed another two-year deal with the Nets, this time fully guaranteed at a total of $16 million, and has rewarded Brooklyn with his best NBA season so far. He entered the All-Star break second in the NBA in 3-point shooting at 47.1 percent.

That is a similar ascent as that experienced by Dinwiddie, last year’s Skills Challenge winner. Dinwiddie signed with the Nets in December 2016 from the NBA G League after being waived by the Chicago Bulls seven weeks earlier.

Initially signed to a non-guaranteed three-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, Dinwiddie re-upped with Brooklyn in December, signing a three-year, $34.3 million extension that kicks in next season.

The two players are now shining stars and glowing examples of the player development system general manager Sean Marks and coach Kenny Atkinson have built in Brooklyn. And now both Harris and Dinwiddie have the trophies to prove it.

The action kicked off on All-Star Saturday Night with the Skills Challenge, with Dinwiddie sidelined with a thumb injury and limited to commentary with the TNT broadcast crew.

The bracket was determined live this year, with Grammy winning rapper Ludacris and All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves picking numbers to determine the first-round matchups.

Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics was the winner, beating Mike Conley of th Memphis Grizzlies in the first round, Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets in the semifinals and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks in the final round.

The Slam Dunk Contest went to Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Hamidou Diallo, stealing the show with his second dunk in the first round when he called out Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, jumping over him and then hanging on the rim from his elbow while ripping open his Thunder jersey to show off a Superman-logo shirt underneath it.

Diallo beat out Dennis Smith Jr. of the New York Knicks, who missed on his first dunk attempt in the final round.

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The All-Star Weekend festivities will conclude Sunday with D’Angelo Russell of the Nets and Team Giannis taking on Team LeBron in the 68th NBA All-Star Game.