The plan for the Atlanta Hawks in the 2012-2013 NBA season was to rely more heavily on Jeff Teague in their offense, especially with the departure of Joe Johnson. However, one of the most important roles for Atlanta would be Teague’s backup. They needed a player who could come off of the bench and not hinder the them with Teague off the floor. That’s where ninth-year veteran Devin Harris comes into play.
This season is Harris’ first in Atlanta after spending the two previous seasons with the Utah Jazz. Coming into the season, the Hawks knew that this would be a different role for Harris as he had been a starter for his past six seasons in the league. Harris hasn’t shown any discomfort in his new role, though.
In 24.2 minutes per game, Harris has averaged 9.4 points, two rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game this season. He’s also shot the ball with solid efficiency, hitting on 44.8 percent of his field goal attempts. The most important thing he has given the second-unit of the Hawks is his veteran poise and leadership.
Harris’ experience has also been important with all the injuries that the Hawks have dealt with this season. For instance, Teague has missed a handful of games this season, but Atlanta hasn’t suffered too terribly because Harris is more than capable of stepping in and playing a starter’s share of minutes. That type of value can’t be understated.
At 30 years old, Harris is on the back-end of his prime as a professional basketball player. However, in his first year as a backup since his sophomore season, it seems like he is settling quite well into a new role. The days of Harris averaging 16 points and seven assists per game are probably over, but it seems like he is going to be able to contribute in the NBA as a backup based on how he’s performed this season.