Back in 2016, Kevin Durant made the understandable choice to go play with arguably the two best shooters of all time — Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson — to see what that kind of spacing and gravity would do for his game. We got to watch the answer unfold before our eyes, as the Golden State Warriors won two championships in Durant’s three seasons with the team, reaching unparalleled levels of offensive execution and artistry.
This year’s Brooklyn Nets, led by Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, have a chance to reach that level. They currently lead the NBA with 117.5 points per 100 possessions, which would be the best in league history — and that is with the “Big Three” only playing a total of 186 minutes together this season due to various injuries and absences. There’s one player we often leave out of discussions of the Nets’ historic offense, however, and that’s sharpshooter Joe Harris.
Brooklyn’s offense has exploded this season with Harris on the court, going from 111.7 points per 100 possessions with him on the bench, to 118.3 when he’s playing, largely because of his deadeye long-range shooting ability and off-ball movement. Benefiting from an increased number of open looks due to the star power around him, Harris is making a career-high 48.4 percent of his 3s this season, second to only Utah’s Joe Ingles for players averaging at least five 3-point attempts per game.
Durant has taken notice of Harris’ uncanny shooting ability, and gave him some of the highest praise possible during a recent Twitter Spaces chat with Banksy Gonzalez, better known on Twitter as Boogie Bousins.
“Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are the best shooters I’ve played with,” Durant said, via Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. “Joe Harris is definitely right up there, getting there.”
Durant stopped short of putting Harris on the same level as the Splash Brothers, but to even be mentioned in the same conversation is a tremendous compliment. Obviously, Curry and Thompson bring other elements to the game which make them all-time greats that Harris does not, but in terms of raw shooting ability, Durant clearly feels that Harris is at least close to their level.
Harris has taken 2.2 “wide open” 3-pointers per game this season per NBA.com (closest defender at least six feet away), compared to 1.7 such attempts per game last season, and he’s knocked down a league-best 59.5 percent of them. With Durant, Harden and Irving potentially healthy for the playoffs, Harris should get even more open looks, which will undoubtedly terrify opposing defenses.
Courtesy: CBS Sports