Why the Denver Nuggets Gary Harris is Better Than Your SG

Denver Nuggets (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Denver Nuggets (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images) /

There has to be a ceiling for the Denver Nuggets’ Gary Harris, right?  He can’t continue to improve and add aspects to his game year-over-year, can he?

That statement is getting harder to support as the Denver Nuggets watch Gary breaking down defenders off the dribble this year and creating offensive space. It’s another aspect the fifth-year guard has added to his game.  Harris is becoming unstoppable on the offensive end.

With his body control and athleticism, he’s dangerous at the rim.  That creativity and ability to score at the rim has always been a part of Harris’ game.

The steady improvement in Gary’s two-point shooting percentage, from just under 40% in his rookie year to the 60.4% he’s shooting this season has mirrored his points-per-game increase (3.4-19.4).  Still, even last season, Harris was a catch-and-shoot guy, feeding largely off of dimes from Nikola Jokic.

He has added much-improved ball handling to his portfolio and has worked that into an ability to create his own shot.  Another dangerous facet to an already improving game, there seems to be no limit to Harris’ improvement.  At some point it will cease to surprise but for now it’s fun to marvel at Gary’s meteoric rise.

Let’s look at just Gary’s plus/minus in the four wins this season:

Against LA Clippers SG Avery Bradley, Harris was +15.  Phoenix Suns phenom Devin Booker?  Gary +37.  Sure but Klay Thompson will have something to say about that, right?  Harris +15. Sacramento Kings’ Buddy Hield, the guy we all wanted Denver to draft until Mudiay fell in their laps…….Gary Harris +21.  That’s a combined plus-88 in the Nuggets first four games.

Harris has developed a solid, varied offensive game to go with already-recognized defensive chops.  At the rate he’s improving, is the mantle of best two-guard in the game a reasonable expectation?

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Probably not but if we’ve learned anything over the last four seasons it’s that you can never rest on Gary Harris’ dedication to improving his craft. At just 24, we’ve just scratched the surface of Harris’ talent and he’s already among the best.

Smart money says he’s got more surprises in-in store for Denver fans.