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Joe Harris: 3 numbers to target for the 2019-20 season with the Nets

After a stellar showing last season when he posted career-highs all across the board, Joe Harris is expected to be a vital piece for the re-tooled Brooklyn Nets in the 2019-20 NBA season.

The 28-year-old sharpshooter out of the University of Virginia started 76 games for the Nets and was one , if not the, most efficient players throughout the team’s surprising run.

His stark improvement was not left unnoticed, as he was also included in coach Gregg Popovich’s 12-man pool for Team USA in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup last September.

He averaged 8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.3 assists on 52.6 percent shooting from the field in his first tour of duty for the star-spangled banner.

With high-profile acquisition and multiple-time scoring champion Kevin Durant sidelined for the rest of the year, Harris’ contributions at the wing spot will be more vital than ever for a Brooklyn team looking to establish itself as one the Eastern Conference elites.

Let’s take a look at three important numbers that Harris has to improve on this season.

Up scoring to 17-18 points per game

Riding the bench for much of his first two years in the league with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Harris  made huge strides in his career since joining Brooklyn in 2016. After tallying 8.2 points in his first year in a Nets uniform, Harris upped his average by 2.7 points in the two ensuing seasons.

He notched a career-best 13.7 markers last season — good for third in the team behind D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie.

If he continues his upward trend in scoring, numbers suggest that Harris will be averaging close to 16.4 per game this season.

With Brooklyn in dire need of scoring production outside of Kyrie Irving, it’s not hard to envision Harris amping up that average to 18 per game, if he manages to keep his stellar shooting averages. He led the league in 3-point shooting percentage with a franchise record .474 mark last year.

Improve free-throw attempts to 2.8 per game

Harris is and will always be spot-up catch-and-shoot type of player. After cementing himself as one of the premiere shooters in the league today, defenders will more likely lock-in on him and try to run him off the three-point line.

Judging by his recent Team USA stint, Harris is also capable of putting the ball on the floor and getting himself on the foul line. He shot a remarkable .827 clip from the stripe last season, but only got himself to the line 1.8 times per game.

To fully maximize his free-throw prowess, he needs to up those numbers to at least 2.8 trips each night.

Manage minutes to just 28 a game

Harris has become one of the most durable NBA players today, having suited up for a combined 154 regular season games in the past two seasons. He logged in a career-high 30.2 minutes per game last year — which speaks volumes to his vast improvement and the Nets’ lack of wing depth.

Coach Kenny Atkinson will have plenty of options at the wing this year, especially with a healthy Caris LeVert, Rodions Kurucs, Wilson Chandler, Garett Temple, and Taurean Prince.

A slightly lower usage rate at 27 to 28 minutes per game ensures that Harris will have fresh legs come playoff time and help Brooklyn for a possible deep postseason run.