Gary Harris: Late Season Improvement Mid Round Value
By Rocco Minsk Much has been written about Emmanuel Mudiay since he came into the league as the seventh overall pick in 2015. What I will write about Mudiay is that he is a fantasy team killer who poisons both field goal percentage and turnovers without helpful contributions in other areas. But I came not to bury Mudiay (who by all accounts may lose his starting point guard job to Jamal Murray), but to praise Gary Harris.
It’s hard to believe that Harris is only 23 years old because it feels like he has been in the league forever. He was drafted in 2014 and has showed steady improvement in his three years. Last year was close to a breakout year for Harris, but for injuries. Harris missed a large chunk of the early part of the season with a foot injury and missed time for groin and ankle injuries, appearing in only 57 games last year.
When he was in the lineup, Harris proved to be a multiple category contributor, averaging 14.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 2.8% APG. Even more helpful was the 1.9 3PG and the shooting average above 50%, remarkable for a 2-guard. Harris’ peripherals have improved every year he has been in the league, with his Offensive Rating reaching 120.1, good for 20th in the entire league. What made Harris an even more complete player is that the ball was in his hands more down the stretch. Over the last 10 games of the season, his APG ticked up to 3.9. Harris registered an OBPM of 3.9, meaning that he contributed 3.9 points more per 100 possessions than the league average player, good for 33rd in the league. I believe this is one of the more translatable advanced metrics insofar as it contributes to a player’s fantasy value.
Harris’ value depends on his ability to contribute across the stat sheet. The Nuggets have made noises about supplanting Mudiay at the point with Jamal Murray, who needless to say, is not a pure point guard. That should result in the ball in Harris’ hands slightly more offense and the uptick in assists may be sustainable. Moreover, the addition of Paul Milsap in the frontcourt makes the Nuggets a more potent offensive squad and there will be plenty of opportunities to feed the ball down low to Milsap and Nikola Jokic.
Harris will continue his development this season. Given a full year of health, Harris should produce mid-round pick numbers of 17 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 3.8 APG, along with 2 3PG. His current ADP on Fantasy Pros is 107 and I would recommend grabbing him in the late 8th or early 9th rounds to avoid missing out on this gem.