Devin Harris, who I recently described as being lost on the court, looks like he found his footing again. Whether or not his newly fanned flame of productivity is a symbol that he wants to remain on the Jazz—a team with a promising future built around a talented frontcourt—remains to be seen.
Though Harris’ recent good performances over the last four games do not exempt him from a season best described by lacking heart, he seems to be more motivated and interested in contributing throughout games. This is a drastic change from the Harris that was on the floor in the beginning of January.
From Jan. 1 through Feb. 14, a tightly scheduled span of eight games (Harris sat out the Feb. 2 game against Golden State), Harris only scored in double-digits twice and in three of those games he scored six points or less. Worse, he had four or fewer assists in seven of those contests.
Granted that lull could very well be attributed to a hamstring injury that caused him to miss the game against the Warriors, those poor performances were not drastic different to others throughout the season.
Up until the last four games Harris was averaging 8.8 points, 4.5 assists, 1.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 2 turnovers per game, while shooting 42.5 percent from the field, 30.6 percent from behind the arc, and 69.1 percent from the free-throw line. Abysmal numbers for a starter, particularly one who was once an All-Star.
How good has he been lately?
Recently, Harris (for the first time this season) scored 10+ points four games in a row. It was actually the first time he scored 10+ points in at least three consecutive games this season and he narrowly missed a six-game stretch of more than 10 points when he scored only nine in a losing effort on the road against the Houston Rockets on Feb. 19. That loss was just avenged in Salt Lake, with Harris making a significant 19-point contribution.
What should the Jazz front office do with Devin Harris?
His numbers over the last four games are what many Jazz fans expected nightly when he arrived via a trade with the New Jersey Nets, a trade that sent three-time All-Star Deron Williams to the east coast. Harris has averaged 15.5 points, 5.5 assists, 1.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals during his recent “hot streak,” a drastic improvement.
Further, he is shooting 61.1 percent from the field, and eye-popping 66.7 percent from deep and 92.3 percent from the line. Those are numbers the Jazz can live with, but is it too late?
Harris has been mentioned as being available for a trade since late January and his status with the team is still in question. With his recent surge in output it may be harder to convince the Jazz brass to part ways with Harris, who at 29 will likely have several more years ahead of him.
Harris may be realizing that though the Jazz are not set up to make an immediate run at a title this year, they chances are better than many other teams the Jazz may negotiate with (e.g. the Charlotte Bobcats).
As a young squad the Jazz are going to need some veteran players to help lead the team in the future, whether or not Harris will be a part of that future is unclear.