Gary Harris single-handedly saved the Nuggets from losing a costly game against the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this month. When the Lakers looked like they were about to take the lead from the Nuggets on the heels of one of LeBron James’ great late game surges, Gary Harris came to the rescue. It was started when Nikola Jokic found him wide open in the corner while being double teamed, putting the Nuggets back up by five points. What ensued was an 11-0 run from not the Nuggets, but Harris himself.
With this in mind, I am here to ask my fellow Denver brethren to please lay off the Gary Harris slander I have been seeing this year. Is he having a bit of a down year? Yes. Have injuries troubled him this year? Also yes. However, one down season should not warrant incessant requests of him being shipped off in hypothetical, crazy trade deals which will never happen (looking at you Anthony Davis crowd.)
If you want to use numbers, then please be my guest. Ever since his rookie year, Harris has vastly improved in many facets of his game save for this year. His rookie year, he averaged 3.4 points per game (PPG), 0.7 steals per game (SPG), and 0.8 defensive rebounds per game (DRPG). The next season, these numbers skyrocketed to 12.3 ppg, 1.3 spg, and 2.2 drpg. Ever since then, he has improved his craft every year and he also is arguably the Nuggets’ best defender on the squad along with Paul Millsap. He is averaging a better defensive rating for the team this season than last year, and also has only allowed two players to score 10 points on him this season when matched up with Harris per NBA.com/stats, those being Caris LeVert of the Brooklyn Nets and star shooting guard of the Portland Trail Blazers, C.J. McCollum (as of March 5th).
If Harris hadn’t dealt with injuries for the better half of the fall, his season would be different. Harris has played really well of late, averaging 12.8 points, shooting 51%, and is a +12. Harris has been very solid on defense in his last ten, and it’s obvious that he’s starting to get into his rhythm.
With all of this in mind, let’s cut Harris some slack and let him continue to be a major part of the Denver Nuggets’ future plans. One “down,” season for someone who has been so instrumental to the team’s success does not warrant throwing him to the wolves just yet. Harris’ game is getting better and better and the more healthy he gets, the better this Denver Nuggets team is going to be.