The Denver Nuggets were originally only supposed to have the 11th selection in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft, but they flipped that pick (Doug McDermott) into the 16th and the 19th picks from the Chicago Bulls. With the latter of the two selections, the Nuggets were able to get a guy that could have gone 11th in Gary Harris.
It seemed like a lock heading into the draft that Harris would be selected in the lottery, but things played out much differently than expected. With each pick he kept slipping until we were no longer in the lottery. When the Nuggets came up with the 19th pick, there was no way that they could let the versatile guard slip through their grasp.
It’s hard to really figure why Harris slipped so substantially in this draft because he has lottery-type talent. As an offensive player, Harris is a fantastic shooter that can beat you from beyond-the-arc and in the mid-range. He shot only 35.2 percent from three in his sophomore season, but that doesn’t totally indicate what you see with his shooting motion, which is fantastic.
On the other end of the floor, Harris can really shine. He averaged 1.8 steals per game in his sophomore season, but that doesn’t show everything. He’s also got good instincts on the defensive end of the floor to go with solid lateral quickness and toughness. Though he’s a bit undersized at the two-guard, he should be able to succeed on both ends of the floor at the next level. Throw in the fact that he’s still 19 years old and you have to be excited about what Harris could become as an NBA player.
Looking a bit deeper, the Nuggets actually wind up in a bit of a strange situation considering that they acquired Arron Afflalo earlier on Thursday in a trade. Had they known that they would be able to trade the 11th pick and get Harris at 19, you have to wonder if the Afflalo deal would have been made. Nonetheless, it’ll be interesting to see if Afflalo is moved again now that Harris is in tow. Afflalo is a fantastic player, but Harris is a fantastic prospect with great upside that could be a big part of Denver’s future.