Kenny Atkinson says he’s to blame for Joe Harris not getting open looks
Brooklyn Nets swingman Joe Harris has always been known as a great shooter from beyond the arc, but after winning this season’s Three-Point Contest, the Virginia native is being guarded a bit closer. Teams are scheming up ways to limit his open looks, and head coach Kenny Atkinson is taking the blame.
Harris has continued to shoot the ball well. He went 5-for-6 from downtown in Monday night’s 101-85 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, scoring 15 points and three assists in 31 minutes of playing time.
Though opposing sides are watching Harris like a hawk on the court, Atkinson says he’d like to find a way to get him more open shots.
“I gotta do a better job,” Atkinson told the New York Post ahead of Wednesday night’s game against the Wizards.
“I think it’s on me a little bit to find him some more shots and help him get more shots, especially out of timeouts,” Atkinson added. “The problem — we had this with [Kyle] Korver in Atlanta, everybody is so focused on him now with his fame, his 3-point-shooting win, so I think that’s part of it. We always used to tell Kyle, ‘You’re helping the team even though there’s going to be some games where you get 15 shots and other games where you’re going to get seven, and you’re going to help other guys get shots.’”
Harris is enjoying the finest season of his career in the NBA. He’s made 57 appearances with the Nets this season (all starts), racking up averages of 13.9 points on 50.6 percent shooting from the field (career-high 47.8 percent from beyond the arc), 3.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 30.1 minutes per outing.
Most teams in today’s NBA are shooting an exorbitant amount of threes. The Nets fall into this category, and Harris, who’s leading the league in three-point percentage, seems to be on-board with the new philosophy.
“They want all of us to be more aggressive shooting 3s,” Harris said. “We took 50 3s [Monday] night, but if Kenny could have it his way I’m sure he’d want us to take 65, 70 3s a game. Obviously you’re trying to take good ones and you want it to be in the flow of the offense, but the percentages weigh out over time, and as long as you’re shooting above a certain clip from 3, you’re going to be more efficient and that’s how we want to play.”
Wednesday night’s Nets-Wizards game is scheduled to tip inside the Barclays Center at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Let’s see if Harris can keep it going from the three-point line.