I want to start the discussion of Gary Harris by showing a comparison of his stats to Donovan Mitchell and Klay Thompson. I mention Mitchell because there is an observation out there that the Nuggets somehow blew the 2017 Draft by trading down with the Jazz and missing on Mitchell. The Thompson’s comparison is simply because he’s the best two-guard in the game (apologies to Harden fans). If you click either link, you can see that all three are pretty comparable, with Mitchell having the slight overall statistical edge. This is a full-season comparison of the Nuggets starting SG and the most recent playoff darling and the standard at the position, This is how good Gary Harris is at basketball. That’s why everyone involved in the Denver-Utah trade last summer is exactly where they should be. There’s no debating Mitchell’s talent and immediate impact. It still doesn’t mean he’d have fit on the Denver squad.
Gary’s backup, like Chandler’s is contingent on what happens with Will Barton. Considering the rumored October contract offer and later rejection by Barton, it may be that he’s wanting to step out of the shadow of The Core. He also may covet a starting role, something Barton deserves but may never get in Denver.
Let’s work under the assumption that Barton is gone. That may free enough money to match an offer (or pay what their qualifying offer is) to Torrey Craig, an option again at the two spot.
There’s also Malik Beasley. Part of the puzzle for the Nuggets this year, what will save them in the pocketbook and on the floor next year, is the development of the so-called ‘second-tier’ of young players. Juancho, Lyles, Beasley, Lydon, Morris and Craig fall into this category. Among those five, Denver needs three to develop into quality (or at least serviceable) rotation players. Beasley and Hernangomez are the most important of the group and can give relief at the most-needed spots on the floor. Should Barton leave, Beasley could step directly into Thrill’s spot. Same size, similar skill set, similar disposition. He needs to get stronger and he needs to pay more attention to defense. Sound familiar?
Beasley is a slightly younger, more raw Barton.