Joe Harris
AP Photo

Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Harris understands what it means to put on a Team USA jersey at a major international tournament.

Playing for Team USA brings serious prestige. Some of the greatest basketball players in history have worn the jersey and represented the country on the international stage. As a result, Brooklyn Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris knows he’s privileged to be at the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

“It’s obviously an honor to be here, to represent your country,” Harris said after Team USA’s victory over the Czech Republic via USA Basketball. “We are all extremely proud to wear USA across our chests. This is something that not a lot of people have the opportunity to take part in, to have this experience.

“We are all privileged and honored to be here, but we also have that competitive streak in us where we are here to uphold the gold standard that USA has had in the past Olympics, past World Cups and past World Championships.”

Team USA rolled to a victory in their opening game against the Czech Republic. Harris finished with nine points, four rebounds, and one assist in 20 minutes. His nine points were the most of any bench player in the game.

Unsurprisingly, Harris was 2-for-3 from three-point range. The NBA’s best three-point shooter from last season (47.4%) is on the floor to knock down threes, first and foremost.

Zone defense is legal in international play and there are no restrictions. As a result, Team USA needs to have lights-out marksmen to force teams to revert to man-to-man defense.

But it’s unwise to pigeonhole Harris as a catch-and-shoot threat and nothing else. He’s deceptive off the bounce and has a knack for knowing when to attack wild closeouts.

Harris and Team USA will square off with Turkey on Tuesday morning (8:30 a.m. ET) in their second of three games during the first stage of group play.

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