Manny Harris is gradually making his presence felt in Cleveland. Harris did not play in the Cavs first preseason game and played just 6 minutes in their second. But over the last two games, Harris earned some playing time and made the most of it. First, in a win over Houston, Harris had 14 points on 4-8 shooting, 3 rebounds, two assists, and three steals in 24 minutes – the Cavs outscored the Rockets by 17 points with Harris on the floor. Last night, in another win over the Mavs, he had 14 points on 4-5 shooting, 4 rebounds, four assists, and three steals in 24 minutes.
Cavs head coach Byron Scott sounds impressed:
“Manny has a lot of upside,” Scott said. “He just turned 21 years old a couple of weeks ago. At 6-4, 6-5 he’s very athletic, a very good defender, hounds the ball pretty well, makes pretty good decisions.”
“I thought for him having a chance [in Houston] to play and to play the way he did was a little surprising,” Scott said. “I thought it would be a little more of the deer-in-the-headlights syndrome. But I thought he was pretty good, made some big free throws at the end, made some big shots at the end.
“He did a heck of a job and made some plays for us down the stretch and did a really good job defensively of just locking people down and doing some things that we’ve talked about doing, getting some big time steals, and just very active and aggressive on that end of the court which I think is the thing that is really helping.”
I had the chance to watch the Mavs game on NBATV and not only did Harris produce on the stat-sheet, he looked really good. There were a few rookie moments but Harris was extremely active, shot the ball well, and didn’t force the issue – often times setting up teammates for easy buckets.
It was impressive to see Harris, never the model of efficiency at Michigan, score 14 points on just 5 field goal attempts. Even more impressive was his smooth jump-shot, even from NBA three point range. Strength wise, I was surprised how small he looked on the court. His size means he’ll have to continue to improve he ball handling, and the Cavs did play him at the one for short stretches.
Harris seems to be a natural fit for Byron Scott’s offense, which incorporates similar two-guard principles and concepts used in John Beilein’s offense. Harris continues to play his aggressive high-risk high-reward style of defense but that is a better fit in the NBA where short possessions reign supreme.
Harris is staying humble:
“It definitely helped my confidence even though it’s preseason and some of their best players don’t play the whole game. But it boosts the confidence a lot, and we still got the win, so that’s key.”
At the end of the day, Harris looked very good, good enough to warrant a spot on the Cavs (relatively depleted) roster. With four preseason games remaining, Manny is in a good position but still has his share of proving to do over the next week. Coming into camp, the word was that he would have to beat out Danny Green for a roster spot. Green was 2-10 in his first two contests and hasn’t played in the previous two games, which certainly bodes well for Manny’s chances. Various members of the national and local media agree.