The beginning of the 2020-21 season has been a rough one shooting wise for Gary Harris. The seventh year veteran out of Michigan State was shooting just 13.8 percent from three-point range prior to Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers. While the rest of Harris’ game has looked strong out of the gate, shooting is the most important swing factor for perimeter players playing in the Denver Nuggets offense. With Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray constantly putting pressure on the rim with pick and roll, dribble handoffs, post up attempts, and even isolations, other players on the floor are tasked with spacing the floor well.
On Saturday, Harris did his job and then some, pouring in 21 points on 7-of-11 from the field and shooting 5-of-8 from three-point range. Though many of Harris’ shots were open jumpers, they were the shots the Nuggets needed him to him. The entire premise of Denver’s scheme is built around action in the middle of the floor, but without the spacing around that action, everything falls apart. Harris made shot after shot tonight and was an efficient performer, helping Denver win in blowout fashion against a vastly undermanned Philly squad.
Let’s see if Harris can continue putting pressure on opposing teams with his outside jumper going forward. Without Michael Porter Jr., the Nuggets have desperately needed the floor spacing. If Harris can provide that, Denver will be a much better team for it.