Manny Harris, Given Up On Too Easily?


Manny Harris came out with another 56 point, 16 rebound outburst at the D-Fenders game versus the Santa Cruz Warriors.  His recent outburst of scoring games led him to a call up from the Laker team.  It started with a 49 point outburst, followed by 38 points, and a 42 point game before being picked up from the Lakers.  It’s clear he has offensive talent, but, did the Lakers give up on him too early?

Jan 24, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Los Angeles Lakers point guard Manny Harris (3) dunks against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

His play as a Laker was commendable given the short amount of time he was on the roster.  He showed ability to hit from the 3-point arc, pull-up from midrange, and quick slashes to the hoop.  His most outstanding talent is his motor, which has been underrated by NBA teams across the league.  He isn’t the purest shooter, best assist man, or flashy finisher that NBA teams crave for.  Rather, he plays with a high level of intensity and is never static on the floor.  On and off-the-ball, he was constantly moving, and happened to excel in transition, where he had his best game as a professional NBA player with a 19 point scoring output, going 8 of 11 from the field with 8 rebounds against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Manny Harris Scores 19 Points Against the Timberwolves

His talent on the offensive end can be best described as smooth.  On the floor, he looks light, with an average first step off-the-dribble and good speed in transition.  Still his constant activity turned him into an effective NBA player with under twenty minutes of play.  This wasn’t his first stint in the NBA, but it was his best.  He had played for the Cleveland Cavaliers before, but never averaged 8 points per game on less than 20 minutes per game. More surprising was his rebounding ability from the wing position. He grabbed a league average of 3.8 rebounds per game, in half of the 40 minutes per game usually played.

There is hope for him at the NBA level still.  He could use some strength to withstand the rigors of an 82-game season.  Perimeter shooting can always be refined.  While he shot 40% from the field and 35% behind the arc, shot selection was never a question-mark with him on the floor.  He kept his assist to turnover ratio above 1:1, which is a reflection of his ball-handling ability, but also his basketball IQ.  He stays within the frame of his talent and doesn’t exceed it.  It leads to minimal mistakes on the floor.

While the numbers at the NBDL level are absolutely stellar, his ticket to the NBA may be found through finding a specialty.  Can he become an expert wing defender?  Can he be an expert 3-point shooter?  Can he rely on more than just his energy level to become a solid rotation NBA player?  Sometimes, it seems ironic when teams take big risks with players who have the physical tools and athletic tools, but don’t produce on the floor. They can hang onto what the potential is, what they see is possible.  That doesn’t guarantee productivity.  Still, there is always room for NBA wing players that can hit 3-point shots and defend well at the next level.  Guys like Thabo Sefalosha, Bruce Bowen, Trevor Ariza, and countless other role players have started for NBA championship teams and contenders.  Once he creates this identity for himself and becomes a self-made NBA player, scouts will notice, and he’ll have a long-term career in the NBA.  The production is too obvious to pass up on energy alone.