Shooting Guard, Michigan State
Sophomore, 19 years old
6’4″, 205 lbs.
2013-14 Stats: 32.3 MPG, 16.7 PPG (42.9% FG, 81% FT, 35.2% 3FG), 4.0 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 1.7 TOPG
Measurements: 6’6.75″ wingspan, 8’0″ standing reach, max vert/no step vert – didn’t test, 4.6% body fat
Cumulative Ranking: 12th | Bryant’s Ranking: 14th | Scott’s Ranking: 11th
Gary Harris: THE BREAKDOWN
Scott: Maybe it’s the Tom Izzo effect, because Gary Harris, like his teammate Adreian Payne, seems ready to contribute right away in some capacity. Harris is a very heady player — doesn’t make many mistakes, knows what to do with the ball and where to be on the floor — and he’s just a two-year college player. He may not have the athleticism of many two-guards, but he’s a knock-down shooter when set, handles the ball well and shows good defensive instincts. I think he’d be a nice addition to the Kings bench should they trade back.
Bryant: Much like Nik Stauskas, Harris would provide the Kings with an excellent back-up SG who could produce really quickly. Harris isn’t quite the shooter Stauskas is, but he loves the long-ball: 49% of his shots last year were from three, and he made 42% of them. He’s got enough athleticism where it isn’t an issue, and he’s a significantly better defender than Stauskas. I don’t know that the Kings biggest need is a 6’4 shooting guard, but Harris reportedly (says ESPN’s Chad Ford) wants to prove to NBA teams that he can play PG. Not sure if that’s possible, but it does add a bit of versatility.
Scott: I know that’s a new development, but to me, it doesn’t seem that far-fetched. Harris’ feel for the game on the offensive end means it’s only natural that he takes the reins on occasion. And that always makes your team more dynamic. For the Kings, it could mean playing Isaiah off the ball more or running bigger lineups with Harris and McLemore. I’m confident Harris can defend both guard positions.
Bryant: I agree defensively, and that’s probably the most appealing part of Harris’ game. He was a bulldog for the Spartans last season, and he’s probably a better defender than McLemore already. And even if Harris doesn’t make the transition to PG (a 16.8% assist rate and a 26.8% usage rate don’t exactly back him up on that front), you’re right that the versatility would be a great add. While Marcus Smart is higher on my draft board than Harris, the one benefit Harris has over Smart (or even Dante Exum) is he’s already as good a defender AND he’s a much, much better shooter at this point.
Three Questions with Ed Isaacson of NBADraftBlog.com
1. How NBA ready is Harris defensively?
Ed: I think Harris is more ready than most other shooting guard prospects in this draft to be able to defend at the NBA level. I know there may be some concerned with his height compared to many other shooting guards, but he has a great feel on how to defend all different types of players, whether it’s pressuring them out on the perimeter or forcing them to make moves to their weak side. The one area where Harris will likely need to work as he moves into the NBA is getting stronger and learning to be a more physical defender to help him counteract opponents’ potential size advantages.
2. What do you think of ESPN’s Chad Ford reporting Harris is trying to convince NBA GMs he’s a point guard at the next level?
Ed: I’m not so sure that he is trying to convince teams that he is a point guard, as much as showing that he does have the ability to handle some point guard duties and help create for others. I think it is more a case of showing that he has a lot of the skills that we discussed Nik Stauskas having making reads off the dribble.
3. In your eyes, is Gary Harris a future starting two-guard on a winning NBA team, or would the Kings simply be taking a long-term reserve?
Ed: I absolutely believe he can start at the 2 in the NBA, and have no reason to doubt he could do the same for a winning team. I think a lot of Harris’ natural skill has been hidden being part of Michigan State’s offense, and I think people will be pleasantly surprised once they see him in a more open floor environment.
A Royal Pain – Sacramento Kings Cumulative Big Board