For long time NBA fans, it seems like just yesterday Devin Harris was being referred to as the next big breakout player. From when he was drafted by the Washington Wizards 5th overall in the 2004 Draft to a draft day trade to Dallas then to New Jersey, he was often dubbed as the next superstar and a top ten player for the years in his prime. Sadly minor injuries and below expected performance level have tempered those claims.
Though he has displayed an ability to hit big shots like here in 2009 with the New Jersey Nets and here last year with the Utah Jazz, with the exception of a career year in 2008-09, he has largely been a role player and not the #1 option many thought he would be. In that 2008-09 year, he posted a PER of 21.6, good for 16th in the NBA among those that qualified, but has never topped 18.1 PER in any other year.
After being moved to the Jazz with Derrick Favors in the Deron Williams deal, he brought veteran leadership at the point guard position on a post-heavy team. When the Jazz decided to go a different direction by bringing in Mo Williams this offseason, Devin Harris became expendable and was flipped for perennially disappointing Marvin Williams.
What can Atlanta Hawks fans expect from Devin Harris and how will he fit into the team?
Pay no mind to his baby face; he has many years of experience. He will turn 30 this season in his 9th year in the league making him the veteran of this young Hawks team. Though he shot well from 3 (.374 3PG%) and overall (.526 eFG%, .573 TS%) last year, he became more of a pass-first point guard after playing more in the Jazz’s paint-oriented offense. His USG% went from 25.3 to 19.5 and his AST% from 34.9 to 51.5 from his half year on the Jazz in 2011 to last season there.
He has a small frame, coming in at 6’3” 192 lbs. but still has a quick first step and the ability to run a transition offense. The Hawks roster is stocked with mobile bigs and sharp shooters. This means an uptempo, transition and spread offense in which Devin Harris can put his speed to use. With Jeff Teague ingrained at the starting point guard spot, Devin Harris will provide a spark off the bench as well as being utilized next to Teague in the backcourt at times.
Look for Devin to thrive in this new run-and-gun offense. He just may have another career year in terms of efficiency off the bench for the first time since Dallas.
*All stats taken from Hoopdata.com