Joe Harris was selected with the 33rd overall pick in this year’s draft by the Cavaliers, and while second round picks aren’t owed anything by NBA rule, Harris not only made the team, but was given a two-year, fully guaranteed contract to join the roster.
On a team loaded with star talent that’s expected to contend for a title, Harris seeing anything other than garbage time minutes seemed to be a long shot.
But he’s played well when he’s gotten his chances early on — so much so that he may soon find himself being introduced with the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving as a member of the team’s starting lineup.
With the way he is progressing and as well as he is playing, Joe Harris will be the starting shooting guard sooner rather than later. Much sooner. As in within a couple of weeks (or less), one source with knowledge of the team’s thinking said. At least one member of the Cavs’ brain trust is already in favor of the switch.
It was the rookie second-round pick – not Dion Waiters or Mike Miller – playing the final six minutes of Friday’s tight game. The Cavs closed the night with Kyrie Irving and Harris in the backcourt, Shawn Marion and LeBron James in the frontcourt and Kevin Love at center. That’s a lineup they could use more and more going forward. …
What seems clear at this point is Dion Waiters’ move to the bench is long term and Marion starting at shooting guard seems short term. Someone has to fill that spot and Harris, at this point, is the likeliest candidate.
Harris doesn’t need the ball offensively, obviously, but is capable of hitting open shots at a high percentage. That makes him a perfect option to get some run with the starters, because Waiters likes to shoot the majority of time he touches the ball.
That kind of role can be far more useful to the second unit, and while Marion’s skill set makes him a great fit in any lineup, having him come off the bench to spell James (who is already logging a heavier-than-usual workload in terms of minutes) simply makes more sense.
Harris has averaged 20 minutes per game over Cleveland’s last three contests, and he’s knocked down five of his last eight attempts from three-point distance.