Opening Tip: How Harris can help the Mavs

January, 20, 2014
Jan 20
8:00
AM CT
The Mavericks aren’t expecting miracles from Devin Harris, as Mark Cuban put it.

They know the 30-year-old guard will need some time to play his way into shape and sharpen up his game after missing the first half of the season while rehabilitating from summer toe surgery. However, the Mavs have relatively high hopes for the impact Harris can make as the primary backup at both guard spots.

Is it asking too much for Harris to make the kind of contributions that he did in 2005-06?

You might remember Harris starting the majority of the Mavs’ playoff games while they made their first Finals appearance, but he came off the bench during the regular season, averaging 9.9 points and 3.2 assists in 22.8 minutes per game. Harris might not have the same quickness and explosiveness he did as a 22-year-old in his second NBA season, but that kind of production shouldn’t be considered unrealistic.

His role will be awfully similar. Harris, who has primarily been a starter since that season, is once again a change-of-pace point guard who will also see significant time at shooting guard. He’s immediately the Mavs’ best defensive guard, faint as that praise might be, and considers it his duty to push the pace, particularly when he’s paired with fellow speedsters Monta Ellis and Shane Larkin.

“I’m definitely going to try to speed the game up,” Harris said before his season debut Saturday night. “I think we’re one of the last teams in fast-break points. My goal is to try to impact that along with defensively being sound.”

The hope is that Harris’ presence allows Rick Carlisle to reduce Ellis’ heavy workload. Jose Calderon's minutes could also be cut, especially against elite offensive point guards.

Harris had a decent debut despite the Mavs’ lopsided loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, scoring six points and dishing out two assists while playing 17:24. It’ll probably take a couple of weeks for Carlisle to figure out exactly how Harris fits in the rotation, but he checked in for Calderon at the 3:22 mark of the first quarter and slid to shooting guard a couple of minutes later when Larkin came in for Ellis.

“He’s worked hard and he did well considering this is the first game, it’s been months and this is a major surgery,” Carlisle said. “It speaks to how hard he’s worked. This game gave us an opportunity to get him what would be considered at this extended minutes. His workouts have been intense, he’s done well with them and he hasn’t had any setbacks.

“He’s a guy that can help us for sure.”

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Rick Carlisle

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.

Galloway & Company: Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Mark Cuban talk

Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Marc Stein

Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: The Standoff

Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Ramona Shelburne

ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.

Fitzsimmons and Durrett: Buy or sell

Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Marc Stein

ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsS. Dalembert 6.8
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.2