Even if the Nets are able to sign one of the big name free agents, I think Devin Harris is key for this team. Avery Johnson has signed as the Nets' new head coach, and he's already stated that Harris is his point guard, now the young guard needs to stay healthy and play the role that he played a couple years ago.
Harris is one of those point guards who's very capable of being a play maker both passing and scoring, but he needs to find a balance between the two. Half of Harris' problem is that he just can't stay healthy. Last season he only played in 64 games because of injury, and to show you what he can do when he's on the court, let's look at his averages from the past two seasons.
64 Games, 16.9 PPG, 6.6 APG, 3.2 RPG.
69 Games, 21.3 PPG, 6.9 APG, 3.3 RPG.
There are his numbers for the last two years, now see the games he's missed haven't been all that many, but at the same time the injuries always nag throughout the season, so basically he put those numbers up playing through injuries. Especially last season, people have been down on him, but putting up almost 17 point and 7 assists per game isn't bad at all.
New Jersey does have some cap room, and I personally think they will make series runs at Amare Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, David Lee, and Chris Bosh, but even if they get one of those guys, they still need a second scoring option, and a point guard to run the team. Harris can be that guy if you can stay healthy.
Another thing to think about is that the Nets signed a coach that knows how to work with young point guards. Believe it or not, Harris is just 27 years old, and still has a year or two before he reaches the point where he really can't get a lot better. Under the coaching of Avery Johnson, I think that he should get better at making decisions on the court, and leading his team.
All that being said, I really believe that Devin Harris has to be productive if the Nets have any chance at succeeding next season. If he has yet another disappointing, injury-plagued season, the Nets are going to have one of the worst records in the NBA again.
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