Utah Jazz: Devin Harris Returns to Form, Then Reverts to Futility vs. Raptors
After ESPN's Marc Stein tweeted last week that Jazz PG Devin Harris was on the trading block, team-centric Internet sites and the basketball media at large were abuzz with discussion, opinions and potential trade scenarios concerning the former All-Star.
On Wednesday night, the two went head-to-head in what looked to be Harris' breakout game during the contest's opening minutes, but ended in a devastating 111-106, double-overtime victory for the Raptors at EnergySolutions Arena.
During a lights-out first quarter, Harris tallied 12 points and four assists, to help put the Jazz up by 18 early, but as the game grew close, Harris faltered while Calderon rose to the occasion.
With the team hot on Toronto's heels during the second overtime period, Harris missed 3-of-4 free throws in the game's final minutes to help seal the fate of the Jazz. He finished the game with an encouraging 24 points and six assists, but his futility in the clutch was a microcosm of what has been a disappointing season for Deron Williams' "replacement."
Though the prospect of acquiring Calderon in light of Harris' prolonged slump is intriguing, I am of the opinion that there are other guards better suited to run the point for the Jazz. Some would also argue that the best option would be to stand pat and let Harris build upon this performance.
There's definitely something to be said for consistency. It's one of the cornerstone values of the franchise, and Harris is still young enough, smart enough and talented enough to turn it around.
But for the Jazz to be competitive and fight for a playoff spot, which GM Kevin O'Connor has expressed is their mission, how long can the club afford to endure Harris' inconsistency?
For most of the season, the Jazz have been forced to split time between Harris and back-up Earl Watson. Even after his statistical highs against Toronto, Harris is averaging only 9.1 points per game on 40.2 percent shooting and 0.83 points per possession, which ranks 228th in the NBA and is below league-average.
Whether it's a trade, a lineup change, or a reawakening by Harris, something's got to give. If it doesn't, the Utah Jazz may not be able to keep pace in an increasingly tough Western Conference.
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