25 May GETTING TO KNOW BROOKLYN NETS JOE HARRIS
Name: Joseph Malcolm Harris
Born: September 6, 1991 (age 29) in Chelan, Washington
Height: 6 ft 6 in
Weight: 220 lb
College: Virginia (2010–2014)
NBA draft: 2014 / Round: 2 / Pick: 33rd overall Selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers
2021 Salary: $16,071,429
Joe Harris arrived in Brooklyn in 2016 a castaway, a former second-round pick who’d been waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers after a season-ending injury. During his first year with the Nets, Harris started only eleven games, and the Nets finished with a league-worst 20 wins. Since then, Harris has turned himself into quite possibly the best sharpshooter in the NBA. The Nets, meanwhile, have loaded up with Hall of Fame talent and all-league personalities in Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden. For the second time in three years, Joe Harris finished the regular season leading the NBA in three-point percentage. Harris shot a blistering 47.5% from beyond the arc for the season, averaging 14.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per game for the Brooklyn Nets. He is just the fifth player to take the top spot in 3P% more than once in their NBA career. Everyone always talks about the big 3 on the Nets but people forget how valuable Joe Harris is to the Nets.
How are you feeling these days?
I feel fine to be honest, and I’m ready to go. Everybody else in the organization would echo the same. It was kind of an unusual sort of injury, nothing in particular that really stood out. It wasn’t even painful by any means. It was just one of those things where I had a little weakness in the hip, in the glut area, and I’m back close to 100 percent right now.
After shooting 42.4 percent from 3-point range last season, good for seventh in the league, you returned to the top of the charts this season in shooting 47.5 percent on a career-high 6.4 attempts per game. How does that make you feel?
I really don’t think about it that much. Obviously, it’s just a byproduct of the work that has been put in. I pride myself on being an elite shooter in this league, so those are the marks I’m trying to reach.
Are the Nets where you expected them to be right now?
This is the point every organization in the NBA is trying to get to in terms of expectations. You hope to get to championship level expectations as a team. But for us as a team, it’s not anything we really discuss. We’re trying to be as in the moment and present as possible. It’s a cliché thing to say, but you can’t look too far ahead. We have to really focus on getting better every day, especially here as of late it’s been great for us just in terms of having quality practice time. It seems like it’s one of these things over the course of the season where the amount of games, the amount of injuries or COVID protocols, whatever we were dealing with, we didn’t have guys together a lot for full practices. We’re trying to take advantage of these days right now to be especially prepared going into this Boston series without really trying to think too far ahead or farther down the road in terms of championship expectations or anything like that.
How do you like playing in Brooklyn?
I love being here. I grew up in the complete opposite end of the spectrum. But ever since I’ve set foot in New York I’ve loved being here, especially in Brooklyn. I just love all the different little pockets of neighborhoods. I love kind of eating my way around the borough. There’s so much to do. Convenience. Easy to walk around. I love the commute to the practice facility, coming in here, having the view of Manhattan, Statue of Liberty. And then, I think the people make the place. I love coming to work every day and all the people that are in here. And I’m lucky too that a lot of my friends that I went to school with at Virginia, they live and work in the city, so it’s been one of those things where it’s a good benefit coming into work every day, but then also being able to have a lot of people here and enjoy the social setting of New York.
What drives you?
I would just say I’ve always been sort of internally motivated, just to do well for myself. I don’t really get caught up in what everybody says or thinks. I have a lot of just personal initiative just to go well — and compete against myself almost.
Growing up, the Sonics were the closest NBA team to you and they moved when you were in high school. Were you a big fan? Was that a big deal?
I was a big Sonics fan. The only NBA franchise in the area. Obviously Portland is there but everybody gravitated toward the Sonics and the Seahawks and Mariners. It was unfortunate, it was tough when they left. For me, I was honestly more of a college basketball fan growing up. I loved the Sonics and I watched them all the time, but I wasn’t as heartbroken as some of my friends.
Who were your favorite players or teams growing up?
I was really just a fan of the game in general. Anytime basketball was on it, I was watching it. I kind of gravitate more toward the guys that played for the Sonics. I was always a big Ray Allen fan. He had some unbelievable seasons in Seattle. I loved Rashard Lewis when he was there. I was pretty young when Gary Payton and Detlef Schrempf and Shawn Kemp were having some good years with Seattle, but I had posters of them and stuff on my wall as a kid. I’d say, any notable Sonic over the years, that was probably my favorite players.
If you could play anyone in the history of the NBA in a game of H-O-R-S-E, who would it be?
Michael Jordan probably. Just to share the court with him would be pretty sweet.