Gary Harris spoke to the media for his yearly exit interview on Monday following the Game 7 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night. He discussed his plans for the summer and his approach to the offseason.
Asked specifically about his approach to this offseason, Harris answered, “[I’m] just taking care of my body...I know what I gotta do, and I’m going to put in the work and be ready for next year.”
Harris had an up and down season, confirming the belief in his future as a two-way shooting guard in the NBA but also bringing about other questions. Once again, Harris missed extended time with injuries, playing just 57 out of 82 games in the regular season before suiting up for all 14 postseason contests. While he was out, Jamal Murray assumed more shooting responsibility, and the playoffs finished with Harris taking a back seat offensively, focusing almost exclusively on his defensive assignments.
Time will tell if this version of Gary Harris or the 2017-18 version, a more explosive offensive threat, is the player Denver needs going forward. As Murray and Nikola Jokic showcased in the playoffs, there’s a real need for a third scorer to emerge and reduce the pressure those two most shoulder offensively. Harris averaged 17.5 points per game in 2017-18 but just 12.9 in the 2018-19 regular season and 14.2 in the playoffs. Harris showed flashes throughout the season that he had more scoring potential, but too often had his role reduced to a general floor spacer. He has more to give, and an offseason of training and rehab should help prepare him to take the next step.
Listen to Gary’s exit interview here:
Harris provided some great highlights this year, but none stood out more than his acrobatic layup in Game 1 of the West Semis against the Blazers. On a back cut pass from Nikola Jokic (something Gary needs to do more) Harris received the ball and took flight, contorting his body around the looming body of Zach Collins and finishing a smooth layup on the other side of the rim. He showed off the athleticism that gets Nuggets fans truly excited every time he attacks the rim.