Gary Harris: Draft Profile/NBA Breakdown
NBA Position: Shooting Guard (2)
College: Michigan State
Hometown: Fishers, IN
High School: Hamilton Southeastern
Michigan State sophomore Gary Harris surprised some last season when he returned for his second season in East Lansing. A shoulder injury and a (relatively) early exit from the NCAA Tournament in 2013 made that decision less of a surprise when it came to be. Harris had an up and down sophomore campaign, particularly with his jump shot, but a strong postseason by the MSU standout makes it likely Harris won’t pass up an NBA payday for the second time. That being said, let’s look at Gary Harris and how he translates to the league.
Strengths: Gary Harris has two traits that translate to any level of basketball. He has great size and strength that should allow him to hold up in the long, grueling NBA season. He is also an elite defender for his position. Even on off nights shooting, Harris brings it at the defensive end of the floor. That was only enhanced by his two seasons in East Lansing playing for Tom Izzo. Harris is an underrated athlete and he plays well in transition both on and off the ball. His ability to shoot off screens will make him a valuable asset in the NBA. He has the potential to be a great 3-and-D guy in the league. Harris came into college with a reputation as a shooter and for the most part he upheld those expectations. He has the range to extend out to the NBA line as well. Sure, he struggled at times with his jumper this season, but his mechanics are good and everyone slumps at some point or another. The important thing is he shot the ball well at the end of the season when it counted and demonstrated any shooting slump he encounters will be temporary. His last strength is his age. Harris is young for his class as he doesn’t turn 20 until September.
Weaknesses: Improving his ball handling should be a priority as Harris preps for the NBA. He was loose at some times with the handle it cost the Spartans some turnovers at inopportune times. He could improve his playmaking ability. Because Harris played with so many good players in college he was often the one getting set up in positions to make plays. If Harris can find ways to create for his teammates more he could end up being someone who can stuff the stat sheet each and every night.
Overall: Harris came into college with an NBA body, it’s never been a question as to his physical abilities in comparison to the pros. If he continues to be aggressive and make plays for his teammates, he has the talent to earn multiple All-Star selections. At the very least I see at least a decade of solid production for the Fishers, Indiana product. I don’t think there’s any doubt this kid will live up to his draft spot no matter where he’s selected.
NBA Comparison: Best case: Bruce Bowen. Worst case: OJ Mayo