With the NBA Draft Lottery behind us, we shift our focus directly to the June 26th NBA Draft. Over the next month we’ll look at some of the top prospects in the draft, along with players that the Magic either reportedly worked out, or interviewed at the NBA Draft Combine. Michigan State sharpshooter Gary Harris is next.
Following two productive years at Michigan State, shooting guard Gary Harris is on his way to the NBA. The number 11 recruit in ESPN’s Top-100 in 2012, Harris took the Big Ten by storm with his smooth shooting stroke and tenacity on defense. He joins teammate Adreian Payne in the draft class, and could hear his name called as early as the late lottery.
|Points||Assist %||Usage %||TS%|
After his freshman year where he was highly efficient, Harris’ shooting numbers dropped some his sophomore season thanks in large part to a heavier workload. Overall, Harris took 3.3 more shots on a per-game basis his sophomore season, including two more three-pointers per game. However, despite his lower shooting numbers, Harris’ three-ball started falling more consistently late in the year, and he was able to find his teammates at a much higher rate.
|Height w/ shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Max Vert|
|6’ 4.5||205||6’ 6.75”||8’ 0”||N/A|
One of the best shooters in this draft, Harris is somewhat the whole package. He has a silky smooth touch, solid mechanics and great range. Harris is able to shoot the ball effectively in a multitude of ways as well. He’s good coming off screens, and can be utilized as a spot up shooter as well. Last season, with his feet set, Harris made 40 percent of his shots, and off the dribble knocked down 41 percent of his shots, both statistics via DraftExpress. Harris has also shown the ability to create space off the dribble, thanks in large part to his strong frame.
To go along with his solid shooting, Harris is also a tremendous defender. He has the capability to guard both guard positions, and do so well. Harris has shown off solid fundamentals, and great awareness both on and off the ball while at Michigan State. Harris is also not afraid to use his body to be physical with his opposition, and has very good anticipation skills which allows him to be dangerous playing passing lanes and occasionally blocking shots as well.
- One dimensional offensively
While there’s always room for great three-point shooters in this league, Harris doesn’t do much more exceptionally well offensively. He’s below average creating for himself and teammates and isn’t a great ball handler at this point. Harris also struggled to get to the free throw line, getting to the charity stripe just 4.1 times per game. Harris’ inability to create and finish around the rim off the dribble could be a big issue, especially early in his career.
Despite having a strong frame, Harris lacks in other places. He’s not very explosive, which limits his ability to finish around the rim even more. Harris also has a below average first step and overall quickness. He has just average size for a shooting guard, and could have some issues with bigger guards despite being fairly strong.
Harris is a very interesting player going forward. He has prototypical “3-And-D” guy written all over him. However, his one dimensional offensive game could end up hurting him in the long run. There have been other players who were predominantly shooters in college that transformed their game in the NBA, Los Angeles Clippers guard JJ Redick for example, but will Harris be able to do so?
With the 12th pick right in the range for Harris, the Magic could prove to have interest in the sharp-shooter. Orlando will undoubtedly be in the market for a shooter this offseason, either in the draft or free agency, and Harris could be a great fit. While he’d have to come off the bench with Victor Oladipo having a grip on the starting shooting guard spot moving forward, Harris could be an excellent fit off the bench moving forward.