The Denver Nuggets have made a big addition to their backcourt. The Nuggets, who reportedly acquired the 19th overall pick from the Chicago Bulls after trading Doug McDermott for multiple picks, will add Gary Harris once the trade becomes official.
The Bulls announced first provided news of the selection:
Jeff Goodman of ESPN provides details of the deal that will send Harris to the Nuggets:
Doug McDermott has been traded to Chicago for 16 and 19, sources told ESPN.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 27, 2014
Harris is considered one of the best two-way players in the class after an impressive career at Michigan State. The shooting guard was named to the All-Big Ten First Team and earned a spot on the conference's All-Defensive Team.
This is a player the Nuggets could have justified selecting with their lottery pick 11th overall. Getting Harris and 16th overall pick Jusuf Nurkic along the way is a dream scenario for the Nuggets.
He averaged 16.7 points per game this past season as the team's leading scorer and helped lead the Spartans to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament. He has a pure scoring ability with his skill to get into the lane at will and score either at or above the rim. If opponents give him space, he is more than capable of drilling shots from the outside.
Additionally, Harris is a solid on-ball defender who is capable of shutting down the opposing team's best player.
ESPN's Dick Vitale is one of many impressed by the guard's play throughout his college career:
Gary Harris of MSU should be a lottery pick - love his all around game & Toughness— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) April 15, 2014
Of course, there are still negatives surrounding Harris as a prospect. One of the biggest issues is his height after coming in a little smaller than expected at the scouting combine, via Chad Ford of ESPN:
Gary Harris measured 6' 2" in socks. 6' 6.75" wingspan. 8' standing reach. 204 pounds. Pretty small for a two guard.— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 15, 2014
Still, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News points out that others have succeeded in the NBA at this height:
Don't think Gary Harris at 6-2.5 in socks is too much of a negative. Brad Beal is 6-3, after all.— Sean Deveney (@SeanDeveney) May 16, 2014
Harris explained that this will not affect him at the next level, via Kyle Austin of MLive.com:
It might not look good to some people, but I’m going to go out there and compete regardless, no matter how tall I am, officially, unofficially. I’m going to play my hardest regardless.
I’ve played against bigger guards in the Big Ten all year and I was able to hold my own. I know it’s a different level but just because I might not be typical size for an NBA two-guard, but I feel like I can still go out there and compete and play.
Besides the height, another problem that could hurt Harris throughout his career is his inconsistency from game to game. While he scored 22 points in an eventual loss to Connecticut in the Elite Eight, he managed only six points in the Sweet 16 battle against a good defense in Virginia.
Tom Dienhart of the Big Ten Network explained the young player's main issue:
Still, he was only a sophomore at Michigan State and was often giving up opportunities to more senior players on the roster. Once he gains more confidence, he will be able to use his unique skill set to become an elite contributor at the next level.
The Nuggets are taking a chance on a player with a lot of upside, and they will hope he can live up to his potential to become an impact player in the NBA.
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