Denver Nuggets: It’s time for Brian Shaw to play Gary Harris Jr.


Oct 13, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Aaron Brooks (0) is defended by Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris (14) during the first quarter at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets couldn’t stop a nosebleed in their 131-109 loss to the Sacramento Kings Wednesday night and they continue to sit their best perimeter defender – Gary Harris Jr. Harris was regarded as the steal of the draft and yet Denver continues to sit the stand-out from Michigan State. For what you might ask? Brian Shaw has to jumble leaving J.J. Hickson (5-game suspension) on the active roster while deactivating two players – Gary Harris and Erik Green.

Shaw has gone with the three center approach, which was more suited towards the first game of the season against the Detroit Pistons. It hasn’t been much of a factor since. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jusuf Nurkic and his upside, but Shaw shouldn’t be sitting Harris in favor of Nurkic – who is averaging 3.8 fouls per game in 10 minutes.

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Denver hasn’t been much of a defensive team through their recent history and last night was a prime example. Denver went from 11th in the league in points allowed to 28th overnight – not good; especially when you’re only averaging 98.5 points per game.

Harris did it all at Michigan State. During his sophomore season, Harris averaged 16.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.7 assists over a span of 35 games. Not to mention, his defense was off the charts. Not to mention, Harris collected nearly two steals per game (1.8).

Harris could provide the Nuggets with another dynamic scoring option as well – attacking and shooting the three. In five Summer League games, Harris averaged 18.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 2.6 steals. Here’s a quote from on Harris’ success from beyond-the-arc.

"In addition to fortifying his reputation as a strong defender, Harris wants to show that he can knock down 3s. In two seasons at Michigan State, he shot 37.6 percent from beyond the arc. For the record, Afflalo made 37.3 percent of his 3s in three years at UCLA."

Denver takes on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers tomorrow night at home which could be a good time to activate the rookie — potentially to guard a Dion Waiters or Kyrie Irving for that matter.