SHENZHEN, CHINA - OCTOBER 12: Joe Harris #12 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during the match against the Los Angeles Lakers during a preseason game as part of 2019 NBA Global Games China at Shenzhen Universiade Center on October 12, 2019 in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.
(Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)

Clean Sweep breaks down all things Joe Harris, who will have an expanded role on the Brooklyn Nets in the bubble in Orlando.

Welcome to the newest version of Clean Sweep, Elite Sports NY’s Brooklyn Nets podcast. The first seven or eight minutes of the episode include some housekeeping and general information for the podcast going forward.

In short, this is going to be a solo show, hosted by me, but the episodes are only going to be 15-25 minutes long and include an article plus a Twitter thread with links, film, statistics, and resources to expand on whatever the topic of the episode is.

In episode 19, we’re taking a look at Joe Harris. First things first, no matter what happens during the NBA restart in Orlando, re-signing Harris should be a priority this offseason. He’s an elite three-point shooter who is a perfect fit for a team that will feature Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving — and maybe a third star — in the offense.

Harris can surprise people with his ability to put the ball on the floor at times, but he’s at his best from beyond the arc. Although he’s not a superb defender, he’s not a liability on that end of the floor.

Of course, all it takes is one team to offer Harris a boatload of money to take the Nets out of the running, but barring a ridiculous overpay, Brooklyn needs to put Harris near the top of its “to-do list” this summer.

Expectations For Joe Harris In The Orlando Bubble

What can Nets fans expect from Joe Harris in the bubble? Well, it’s best to temper whatever expectations we have considering all of the uncertainty with the NBA’s restart and the current state of the Brooklyn Nets. There’s a new coach, almost an entirely new roster, and Harris struggled in his first real playoff action as a rotational player last season.

Struggles In 2019 Sixers Series

Harris started off red hot in the Nets’ 2019 playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers. He drilled three of his first four triples, all in the first quarter. He gave the Nets a shot of life early that helped propel them to a shocking Game 1 victory.

Unfortunately, this was the high point of the series for Harris. It all went downhill after the first quarter when Sixers head coach Brett Brown switched Jimmy Butler onto Harris. He was a non-factor for the rest of the game. The Sixers ended up throwing a bunch of defenders onto Harris for the rest of the series and used a top-locking strategy to keep Harris from coming off of screens with clean looks at the hoop.

In a pivotal Game 4 where the Nets had a legitimate chance to even the series and put the Sixers on their heels, Harris came up empty. He was 0-for-6 from deep in a four-point loss. If he hits two of those attempts the Nets win the game. Of course, it’s not really that simple, but Harris’ disappearing act couldn’t have come at a worse time.

But Harris’ struggles were about more than Philly’s adjustments. He was out of sync all series long and even when he was seeing wide-open looks, he couldn’t convert.

Joe Harris As The No. 2?

There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it, Caris LeVert is going to be Brooklyn’s No. 1 option in Orlando. No other player can go off for 50 points and he’s the main shot creator the Nets have available. As it stands, Harris is going to be the No. 2 option offensively.

This poses a problem for a variety of reasons. First off, we saw the Sixers adjust to Harris by tossing Butler, an elite defender, onto him. Teams will throw good — and sometimes great — defenders at Harris in the bubble. It’s hard to see him getting a ton of clean looks.

On the bright side, we have seen Harris succeed in very small spurts as the No. 2 option. After all, the Nets have been so banged up over the last two years, he’s had to step up to fill that role on numerous occasions. In November, he did so admirably against the Chicago Bulls, racking up 22 points and eight assists in the win. Harris did most of his damage at the rim and with his passing.

With that said, the Nets are going to be facing better competition than Chicago at the bubble. But still, if you’re looking for optimism, there’s a tiny sliver of hope.

Jacque Vaughn Shaking Things Up

Interim head coach Jacque Vaughn has no choice but to shake things up. The roster crunch due to surgeries and coronavirus-related opt-outs is putting the Nets in an awkward position. Rodions Kurucs appears to be the likely starter at the four — with Michael Beasley another option after he serves a five-game suspension for an anti-drug policy violation.

With the thin frontcourt, Harris has talked about playing some stretch four. It sounds ridiculous because Harris is best suited to play the two and three, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Vaughn is going to be throwing a bunch of rotations at the wall and seeing what sticks. Harris at the four isn’t going to become the norm.

And even with all this said, it’s wise to avoid over-analyzing anything we see go down in the bubble. Although the Nets are planning on using these games as a way to evaluate players for the future, we just don’t know how conducive the restart is going to be for long-term evaluation.

The bottom line with Harris is simple: Don’t expect much from him — or the Nets — in Orlando, but that shouldn’t affect Brooklyn’s decision to re-sign him in the offseason. He’s still one of the best shooters in the NBA and a potential puzzle piece in Brooklyn’s quest for a championship.

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