The Brooklyn Nets weren’t expected to play top-notch basketball right out of the gate due to Kevin Durant’s absence. However, nobody expected a team led by Kyrie Irving and supported by outstanding role players like Joe Harris, Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen struggle to win basketball games.
The more frustrating fact for Nets fans is the teams they lost to aren’t considered contenders for this season’s playoffs. The Minnesota Timberwolves’ long-standing rebuild is still far from its proper conclusion. The Memphis Grizzlies are in the midst of their own rebuilding process. The Indiana Pacers are without their star guard in Victor Oladipo when they pulled off an impressive 108-118 score.
It’s obvious that coach Kenny Atkinson has to make tweaks in his game plant in order to fully utilize his players and get back to winning ways. One of the best adjustments he could make is to use Harris more often in his offensive schemes.
One of the biggest reasons for giving him the ball more often is his impeccable accuracy from range. He led the NBA in three-point percentage last season at 47.4%. He finished with a higher long-range shooting clip than Stephen Curry, Danny Green, Kyle Korver, JJ Redick, and many other sharpshooters. This fact alone makes his expanded influence in Atkinson’s thorough game-planning more evident.
His shooting form is a work of art in itself. It’s not as textbook as Klay Thompson’s is, but his release is quick and deadly accurate. He’s a top three-point specialist that all of the league’s top defenders must be careful about.
However, his effectiveness is not limited to the three-point line. He’s an effective scorer who gets his points inside as well. His bread-and-butter is inside the paint where he makes all of his shot attempts. He’s proven himself to be a capable finisher inside as he had a 65% field goal percentage from zero to three feet from the basket last year. Fouling him’s a dangerous option as well: he made 83% of the 133 free throw attempts he made during the regular season.
He’s proven himself as a very capable scorer who can bring the team much-needed points. However, there are problems with the way the team’s set up.
The team is centered around Kyrie Irving for a reason. He’s an elite basketball player and should get as many touches as he needs. However, letting him do all the work and score 35.3 points a game at almost 24 shots per game will only tire the point guard out.
Letting some of those shots go Harris’ way will not only give him some much-needed rest but also make the Nets offense less predictable. Letting Kyrie do all the work by himself will only allow the opposition to make an easier game plan.
If Harris steps up and matches LeVert’s production, then we will definitely see more notches in the Nets’ win column.