It is no secret that Gary Harris has struggled offensively for most of this season. Harris is shooting just 31 percent from three on the year, which is the lowest mark of his career since his rookie year.
The tides may be turning for Harris though as his offense has found a spark as of late. Harris has made a 3-pointer in each of the Nuggets last five games and is shooting 47 percent from distance (7-of-15) during that span.
It might be a small sample size, but from where Harris’ offense has been for most of the season, it truly is a step in the right direction. What Harris has really showcased over the last few weeks is a confidence that seemed to be — at times — lacking during the season.
"I’ve always been me. At the end of the day I’ve always been me and I’m always going to be me, so I don't worry about none of that,” Harris told the media after the Nuggets victory over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night.
It is that unwavering confidence that really makes you think this was just a slump for Harris. Even though the sample size of the season is much greater than the last five games, it never made sense that Harris offense could fall off so quickly.
“It’s basketball, you’re going to have ups and downs. That’s part of the game,” Harris said Tuesday night. “I’m not going to quit. I’m not going to worry about it. My teammates trust me, so I’m going to go out there and try to be confident every time I step on the court.”
It is something as simple as shots are just not falling? Or should we be concerned about Harris offense long-term? One thing is certain and that is Harris is going to keep shooting and if he can make them, his confidence will only continue to grow.
“Just seeing a few shots go in that’s it. I am going to keep shooting,” Harris told the media after the Detroit game. “Even when I was struggling, the name of the game is keep shooting. If I don't shoot, can't make them.”
A big play is something that can spark a player, which is exactly what Harris did in the Pistons game. Not only does Harris grab a nice steal defensively, but he then takes the ball to the rim and absolutely yams it on Svi Mykhailiuk.
Gary Harris dunked all over Svi Mykhailiuk pic.twitter.com/y5YIc6yqPr— Fastbreak Breakfast (@fastbreakbreak) February 26, 2020
Plays like that are what really show Harris’ value to this Nuggets team. What he brings to the table defensively is what Denver needs on a nightly basis and is something Harris has truly brought to the table all season long.
Just rewind to the Nuggets game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday. The Nuggets were squaring off against a few old friends in Malik Beasley and Junacho Hernangomez. Beasley came into the game averaging over 20 points per game during his short time with the T’Wolves and was absolutely on fire offensively.
What do the Nuggets about that? They put Harris on Beasley, whose offense was practically non-existent all night. Beasley finished the game with 17 points, but most of those came when Harris was on the bench resting. With Harris as the primary defender, I can only remember Beasley scoring two points as Harris made life incredibly tough on the former Nuggets player.
That bucket was also incredibly similar to the one we saw above. An opposing team running a DHO set that Harris absolutely blows up. You really would think teams would stop trying to run those against Harris, but they don’t, and he continuously makes them pay for it.
Harris leads the Nuggets with 1.3 steals per game this year and has averaged over a steal a game in each of his last five seasons. No matter who the Nuggets are playing, they have the capability to put Harris on their best player and he will almost always shut them down.
As the Nuggets push to contend for a title, having a player on the team like Harris is only going to help them get there. There is no denying what Harris brings the Nuggets defensively and if he can continue to knock down shots offensively, Denver is only going to be more dangerous come playoff time.