Gary Harris put up 23 points, six rebounds, six assists and a pair of crucial steals against the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night to help seal the victory for the Denver Nuggets. Harris is one of those underappreciated players outside of Denver, but Nuggets fans have watched him add to his game every single year. Drafted as a player who might be too small to defend bigger shooting guards at the NBA level and who didn’t necessarily have the explosiveness of a premier NBA athlete, Harris has reshaped both his body and his game to flourish at both ends of the floor.
His night tonight was emblematic of his growth. He’s got a much-improved handle which allows him to be a primary ball handler when needed, leading to growing assist totals. He has incredibly quick hands which create steals in crucial moments, and a much quicker first step to allow him to turn the corner on dribble handoffs and head straight to the rim.
He hit from deep, drove the hoop, finished at the rim in the waning seconds and created multiple fast break oppportunities to allow Denver to close out this victory and run their record to 5-1. Non-Denverites might not quite understand the appeal of Gary Harris, but he needs no introduction - and not even a nickname - to have the hearts of Nuggets fans.
He’s the very definition of a home-grown talent, and Denver is looking forward to a lot more highlight packages in the coming seasons. If Denver is making a serious run into the playoffs this year, Harris will feature prominently in those plans.