The usual quality of an April NBA game between two lottery bound teams merits no defense. The regular season is an arduous grind, after all, and the competitive nature that drives players through aches and pains for a majority of the year is mostly gone with nothing to play for but “pride.” It’s understandable, obviously, and a reality we readily admit.
But that hardly means a less than all-out intense basketball game featuring the world’s top athletes isn’t entertaining. You just never know when one of the best highlights of the season might come, and Los Angeles Lakers reserve Dwight Buycks gave it to us last night with this filthy cross of Denver Nuggets rookie Gary Harris.
We’re normally leery of defenders getting their “ankles broke!” on plays like these. All too often there’s a mitigating factor that contributes to their embarrassment – like a player jumping to the high side of the screen only for the ballhandler to refuse it. But not this time.
Buycks simply gets Harris here, a possession that serves as an unfortunate and accurate representation of the Michigan State product’s debut campaign.
Nobody thought the 6-4 shooting guard would set the world on fire in 2014-2015 – he slipped out of the late lottery to the 19th pick for a reason. But Harris has underperformed even tempered expectations this season, averaging 3.0 points and 12.4 minutes per game while shooting a putrid 31.9 percent from the field since becoming a permanent fixture of Denver’s rotation following the trade of Arron Afflalo.
Even more discouraging has been his season-long performance from beyond the arc. Billed by some as a potential marksman, Harris has made only 17 of his 93 three-point tries – making him the second-worst long-range shooter in the NBA among players who have attempted at least 90 treys.
There’s still time for Harris to turn it around, of course. He’s just 20 years-old and the Nuggets haven’t exactly been a bastion of professionalism this season. But playing for an organization searching for long-term answers, Harris gave Denver little on-court reason to believe he is one of them – even before he was crossed into oblivion by Buycks.
[Video via NBA]