Joe Harris’ Nets teammate Tyler Johnson backed up his decision to leave the Bubble.
Joe Harris is a big piece of these hard-charging Nets, and the comeback ethos they’ve embodied in the Bubble.
So when he departed Orlando just after Game 2 of Brooklyn’s first-round series with Toronto, in order to attend to a non-medical issue, alarm bells were raised — but not about the team’s playoff status. People simply wanted to know if Joe was alright, and how the locker room was handling the disturbing news.
Fear not, because Tyler Johnson’s comments on Thursday assured us that the team is in good hands without their premier marksman, and rightfully respects whatever it is he’s going through.
Though the Nets’ focus is single-minded this postseason — they’re an NBA playoff team, they’d like to win NBA playoff games — the franchise’s pressure is much more focused on next year, when they may be entering these months as legitimate contenders, rather than plucky underdogs.
Whether Harris will be a part of that roster has yet to be determined, even though GM Sean Marks has every intention of making re-signing him the team’s top priority.
That’s for the market to dictate, though, as well as a new-look locker room. Though Harris has clearly won over temporary teammates like Johnson, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will have more input when this conversation is reevaluated.
Harris’ Bubble averages speak volumes about what he can do when he’s best utilized, alongside a creator like Caris LeVert (or Kyrie). He also overcame a .50 dip in 3-point accuracy this season (from a remarkable 47.4% down to 42.4%) to still reach a career-high 14.5 points per game. In the Bubble, he upped that in a small sample size to 19.1 points per game and a remarkable 55.1% from range.
Harris is a weapon in the right circumstances, and to a man, the Nets appreciate that. Let’s see if it matters when the offers start rolling in for increased roles at high salaries elsewhere.