ESPN and Sports Illustrated have weighed in on their top 100 NBA players headed into the 2017-18 season and both publications are taking note of Gary Harris’ potential. ESPN has Harris coming in at 90 while Sports Illustrated views him more favorably at 56.
Despite staying under the radar, Harris is poised for a breakout. Sports Illustrated crunched the numbers Harris put up on the offensive end last season.
“A surprising number of fans—and even people within the league—haven’t yet caught on to the fact that Harris is one of the NBA’s best shooters. When ‘wide open’ last season by NBA.com’s designation, Harris sank an incredible 50.6% of his three-pointers. Overall, he leveled out at 42% from beyond the arc, good for eighth overall. Thus begins the case for Harris (14.9 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 2.9 APG) as an exceptional off-ball threat. A shooter of his caliber is exactly what any offense would want to balance the floor for its offense. What makes Harris all the more difficult to cover is that he might slip away at any moment; a momentary diversion is all Harris needs to dart into open space and fundamentally change a possession. Great playmakers see the game through a certain geometry, timing out which teammates are available when. Great cutters, like Harris, can make sense of the inverse. On every possession, Harris parses the spaces between players to find which ones—if sprinted through at just the right time—might prove fruitful. Operating in that way demands a certain caliber of playmaking, but it’s Harris who finds the means to produce 17.2 points per 36 minutes.”
On Harris, ESPN noted:
On a per-possession basis, Harris rated as one of the NBA’s most efficient offensive two-guards last season, ranking ahead of Klay Thompson, DeMar DeRozan, Devin Booker and Andrew Wiggins among others in Offensive RPM. Harris connected on 54 percent of his corner 3s, which ranked fourth among the 137 players who attempted at least 50 of them.