It took Gary Harris 48 games to put up 72 points. Well, sort of.

In Harris’ rookie season, Harris finally scored his 72nd point in game 48 of the season. Frankly, that’s not even fair, as Harris hadn’t played in 26 of those contests. He also actually had 77 points by the end of that 48th game, a 3.5 average over the 22 games he’d played in. Harris only had 188 points his rookie year, rarely seeing enough minutes to even find a rhythm. His highest scoring game was also his first action of the year, a 13-point outing in game eight he’d match again in game eighty-one. His averages of 13.1 minutes and 3.4 points in 55 games simply told us we didn’t know much about G.

No, we’re not friendly enough for me to call him “G”, though I was lucky to snag an early interview with him a couple seasons back after he started showing some early promise in games. More on that in a second.

This season, Harris scored 72 points in two games. Two new career highs of three dozen apiece. In consecutive games? Not quite, but twice in the last nine. Harris is putting things together quickly this season, and his game is blossoming on several fronts. Here’s a few highlights from the first 36-point outing, against Kyrie Irving, no less…

When I’d spoken to Harris a couple years ago, he’d made a big jump from his rookie to sophomore seasons. I was asking him about another offseason in the gym, and he’d barely let the question finish when he reminded me about his place as a shooting guard in the league, “I’m not the best yet.”

The point for him wasn’t at all to be pointed, and he was calm and clear. Harris has a goal, and he knew that was the answer to the question. He was still working, and is still working. Whether he achieves his goal or not, he intends to keep pressing himself until he’s the best. Or at least, at his best.

Even so, some of what he’s gotten himself up to this season will make your head spin. Like, 360 degrees, even.

Harris has now cracked the league’s top 20 in five categories, though you could argue one of them (minutes) might have inflated the other four. But did you know that Gary is also top-20 this season in:

  • 2-point percentage (20th at .562)
  • Steals (tied for sixth at 63)
  • Steals-per-game (fourth at 1.9)
  • Steal percentage (ok, apparently this is mostly about steals, but still. 10th at 2.7)
  • Minutes (19th at 34.8)

Harris is also on pace for his first thousand-point season, with 565 points in the Nuggets first 37 games (he’s played in 34 of those), and is also seeing career highs in assists and you’ll be shocked to hear, steals.

Even more telling about Harris’ attitude for improvement is his humility. Here’s him tooting his own horn (koff koff) post-game after that first 36-point-splosion. He fills the time talking about… Mason Plumlee.

Even more impressive about last night’s 36 was that 20 of them came in the first quarter, the best single quarter of scoring by a Denver Nugget since Ty Lawson was in town. His post game interview yet again quickly deflected the credit to his team.

He’s not the best yet, but he’s sure making progress. But that’s G. Oh, yeah… I actually don’t call him “G”, but in addition to all of the above, Gary is a pretty funny and thoughtful dude. You can see the same for yourself by checking out his twitter feed. His handle is @thats_g_, in case you thought Old man Olson was trying to get all linguistically hip before he broke one.

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P.S. Enjoy watching Gary, and all of the rest of the Denver Nuggets at Stiffs Night Out this Saturday. I’m damned jealous I won’t be there to join you.

Stiffs Night Out is this Saturday!

We’re having our Nuggets watch party on Saturday, 7:00 PM. Come join us at The Celtic on Market to watch the Nuggets beat the  Sacramento Kings. Super Mascot Rocky will be there, as will the Denver Nuggets Dancers. We’ll have prize giveaways including Nuggets tickets and memorabilia. 

Come meet fellow Nuggets fans and enjoy great food and drinks while cheering on our beloved Nuggets. 1400 Market St. in LoDo.