Atlanta Hawks: Return of Harris gives Hawks flexibility at guard

Vivlamore reporting. Here is my story on Devin Harris that will appear in Wednesday’s print edition of the AJC. The Hawks play at the Pacers tonight (I am not there) and Harris is expected to make his exhibition debut.

The Hawks are just now getting an up-close look at the assets of Devin Harris. However, coach Larry Drew has known for months how he intends to use the versatile guard this season.

Harris, acquired from the Jazz in a trade for Marvin Williams on July 11, reported to the team’s facility by the end of that month to begin workouts. He began having trouble with his knee and eventually required a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) shot. Harris was cleared for full-contact practice last week. He had not appeared in any of the Hawks’ previous three exhibition games prior to Tuesday’s game at the Pacers, where he is expected to debut.

Hawks guard Devin Harris, at a recent practice, has been cleared for full-contact practice and could make his exhibition debut Tuesday at the Pacers. BOB ANDRES  BANDRES@AJC.COM

Hawks guard Devin Harris, at a recent workout, has been cleared for full-contact practice and could make his exhibition debut Tuesday at the Pacers. BOB ANDRES BANDRES@AJC.COM

The PRP shot, of Harris’ own blood, was injected to stimulate the healing of bone and soft tissue. Harris said he was limited while the injection could have its full effect.

Harris will be counted on this season, as part of a multiple-guard rotation, to replace Joe Johnson at the shooting guard position.

“At times he’s going to play (point guard),” Drew said. “At times he’s going to play (shooting guard). At times he’s going to be a combination of both.”

Harris said he does not have a preference where he plays. He has been in a similar position with the Mavericks when he played alongside Jason Terry. With the Hawks he will be sharing the court with Jeff Teague and Lou Williams, all capable of bringing the ball up court or playing the wing.

“I’ve seen the way it can work and how it can work so I have a little bit of experience,” Harris said. “It doesn’t matter who brings the ball up as long as you push the ball. A lot of the three guards can do similar things. We all can space the floor. We all can get in the paint and score. We all can get to the free-throw line. If we have two guys out there at the same time who can do that, it’s going to be tough to guard.”

Originally drafted by the Wizards out of Wisconsin in 2004 (fifth overall), Harris was a draft-night trade to the Mavericks, where he played the first three-plus seasons of his career. He was traded to the Nets, where he was named an All-Star in 2008-09. After two-plus seasons he was sent to the Jazz, where he spent the past two seasons before being acquired by the Hawks. Last season Harris played in 63 games, all starts, and averaged 11.3 points, 5.0 assists, 1.8 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 27.4 minutes. He had a career-best .362 3-point field goal percentage.

“I was excited,” Harris said of the latest trade that caught him by surprise. “Atlanta has always been a good team. They made the playoffs the last five years. I like their style of play and their approach to the game. It is a good fit for me.”

Harris admits to being “a little rusty” as he gets back into full-contact action. He has spent part of his team on the bench working with Teague, showing the younger player the ins and outs of playing on and off the basketball. It’s a role both Harris and Drew want for the veteran.

“I try to give examples of things I’ve done in the past,” Harris said. “I’m constantly talking to Jeff during games about things I see. I encourage guys to do the same because I all have to hold each other accountable.”

Drew said he expects Harris help Teague get comfortable playing without the ball, something he hasn’t done since college.

The coach has been waiting to get Harris back to full health so he can start to see his original plans come to life.

“I know enough about him,” Drew said. “When we first made the acquisition, I knew exactly how I wanted to use him. He’s been on the sideline watching a lot prior to him coming back so I knew exactly how I wanted to use him once he was cleared to go full tilt. It’s just a matter of inserting him in there and utilizing him the way I envisioned.”

- Chris Vivlamore

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* Hawks serve it up at The Varisty

* Practice report: Defense, cuts and tweets

* Benson, Muhammad released

Follow me on Twitter at ajchawks

147 comments Add your comment

vava74

October 16th, 2012
11:34 am

Translation:

I will coax Teague into playing off the ball so I can get the starting PG position for me… :-D

MsDee

October 16th, 2012
11:34 am

Looking forward to seeing Harris in there feeding Horford exactly where he will be effective!

Astro Joe

October 16th, 2012
11:35 am

doc, tell us about this PRP injection and what it means for the remainder of the season. Does he have to sit out a few games if he requires another injection during the long, long season? (Like how baseball players usually have to sit out a few games and wait for that pain-killing injection they sometimes take to set it).

jgsbirds

October 16th, 2012
11:36 am

can’t wait to see him on the court tonight!

Astro Joe

October 16th, 2012
11:39 am

Coritisone shot… that’s what I was referring to… I often hear about baseball players (like McCann) getting a cortisone shot and taking 2-3 days off while it kicks in.

Slimjr

October 16th, 2012
11:58 am

Now this dude can finish! Show em how its done Mr Allstar!!!!

Slimjr

October 16th, 2012
12:00 pm

The Dynamic duo of [Lou] + [Devin]!! Get your popcorn ready!

Just Joe

October 16th, 2012
12:03 pm

He can finish (65% close to basket), but like a lot of other Hawks, he prefers to shoot jumpers (77% of his shot attempts).

Slimjr

October 16th, 2012
12:15 pm

Larry must be [drooling], to get Teague off the ball and eventually off the court…lol…

Big Ray

October 16th, 2012
12:29 pm

I honestly don’t have a “dog” in this proverbial fight.

I hope Harris can positively influence Teague, and I’ll leave it at that.

In the end, you have to want the best guy on the floor at a given position at the right time. It’s good that Harris says he’s not worried about his specific role, but any veteran player who has been there and done that is going to say this. What is really needed out of him besides this “mentoring” is a strong sense of competitiveness, because that brings the best out in guys…or at least out of the guys who are willing to maintain that attitude. Who knows if it will bring the best out in Teague or not. We shall see.

What is known is that this is the most talented and versatile group of point guard types that we’ve had in who knows how many years.

Notice I didn’t say the most talented backcourt we’ve ever had.

Just the most versatile at one particular position – PG. There is no slow guy in this group. There is no guy incapable of getting to the basket if he really wants to. Teague’s greatest strength in this group would be defensive capability, I think…though Harris might teach him a thing or two in this department. Meanwhile, Teague’s greatest weakness among this group is his midrange/outside shooting. But that is where the other two come in…both can sling it from distance and do so consistently.

Where they hurt is in size/strength when playing the wing. Hopefully, the proper use of speed and aggression will help offset some of that, and when it can’t, we are going to have to count on Anthony Morrow, DeShawn Stevenson, and possibly Kyle Korver to make up the difference.

This could be interesting. I do find it interesting that LD says he already knows EXACTLY how and where he wants to use Devin. Huh….

Big Ray

October 16th, 2012
12:33 pm

Astro Joe makes a good point about Harris, his knee, and these PRP shots.

This is something LD is going to have to account for – Harris may be a guy who can only put in 40-50 games with significant minutes played. It’s worth noting that he played 63 games last season out of a possible 66. However, knee problems rarely go away quickly, and frequently….they stick around as a player gets older.

So on the one hand, we’re excited about Devin, as is LD. On the other hand, he has to consider that he may not always have Devin around to be used “exactly has he has envisioned” and he’ll need a plan B…and a plan C….and so forth.

Gotta keep it loose and flexible, LD. Can you do that?

Big Ray

October 16th, 2012
12:39 pm

Slimjr ,

I think LD is drooling at having more options with outside shooting capability (something he seems to like) for if/when Teague is not meeting his “needs” as it were.

I’ve always thought Teague needed to get a reliable outside shot going…more importantly finding a better way to get that shot off in the NBA…it’s different playing off the ball in college. Not all the guys you face are 6′4″ or bigger along with the quickness to stay with you. In the NBA, there are guys like Deshawn stevenson who at 6′5″ can stay with a lot of 6′2″ guys or guard guys at 6′7″, though Stevenson isn’t quite as quick as he once was…he’s still a tough customer.

But then you look at Lou Williams, who is Teague’s height or an inch shorter, and dude gets his shot off all the time. So Teague has a lot of example that can be provided for him…he’ll be a one-trick pony if he doesn’t get that ability to get himself enough space to shoot, and be able to hit that shot. Teams will close the lanes down and we know he’s not a great finisher in traffic sometimes. That’s another thing he can work on. And we know he can do it from some of the dunks he has thrown down.

We’ll see how it goes…

falCans

October 16th, 2012
12:42 pm

Trade Horford for a back up center and legitimate wing. Start ZaZa. Smoove fa president

Ken Strickland

October 16th, 2012
1:03 pm

ANAL MINDED MORON alert at 12:42pm.

vava74

October 16th, 2012
1:09 pm

:-D

Ken is always lurking…

doc

October 16th, 2012
1:12 pm

prp is a an injection of special cells from one’s own body into an injured part. these are cells from the plasma that is rich in growth factors. it is used to theoretically stimulate growth of injured tissues primarily used for partial tears and cartilage injuries.

tiger and kobe are the biggest users to date, though some may be tainted with other substances like growth hormone that would be picked up in testing. kobe had his done in europe where it gained favor first, tiger brought in a steroid/gh doc to administer his in fl at his home is the word.

brandon roy seems to have resuscitated his career with it. time will tell. kobe could barely walk off the court after 2010 playoffs if i remember, then had a pretty good year following health wise.

aj without any other info, to me, it is a red flag. i tend to worry about harris’ durability which will be based on how much damage was really in there to be repaired. only time will tell. i wouldnt expect 30 minutes and up every night. it is a contract year so that works in our favor, as he will give it his all.

O'Brien

October 16th, 2012
1:13 pm

Aren’t we too rich at SG? Harris will see minutes at SG, I assume Lou Williams will see minutes at SG, and I assume Stevenson will see minutes at SG. Plus we still have Anthony Morrow and John Jenkins left over. I’m really surprised Danny did not find a trade already for Morrow.

tom

October 16th, 2012
1:15 pm

Jsmoove an allstar this year? I hope so!

vava74

October 16th, 2012
1:24 pm

OB,

Morrow is semi-local due to his GT connection and Smoove’s buddy.

Might not be the best internal PR move.

Just Joe

October 16th, 2012
1:29 pm

Not a fan of this system. Teague & Harris should never be on the floor together. One needs to claim the starting PG spot, and the other needs to be a traditional backup. Simple as that. Playing time should be based on performance. We have plenty of guys for the off-guard position.

Astro Joe

October 16th, 2012
1:31 pm

doc, thanks.

Big Ray, I think they are all cut from the same cloth. So maybe versatile but redundant?

Ken Strickland

October 16th, 2012
1:31 pm

VALVA74-And you know that. The internet allows ANAL MINDED MORONS the annonimity they need to enter adult sites and submit their ANAL MINDED COMMENTS, and we see examples of that happening day in and day out all day long. It’s a lot like SLIMJR complaining about me using the Miami Heat multiple times as an example of a team that’s so called undersized overcoming that issue and winning it all.

That’s definitely an ANAL MINDED position to take for an individual who, over the past couple of seasons, has focused between 80-90% of his comments on bashing Al Horford. But then again, what else can one expect from an ANAL MINDED MORON, because STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES!! But to give credit where credit is due, SLIMJR isn’t nearly as ANAL MINDED as STEVEN A SMITH.

Ken Strickland

October 16th, 2012
1:41 pm

This yrs Hawks will have a lot of speed, quickness, athleticism, talent, depth, versatility, shooting and penetrating ability, and a lot of question marks.

doc

October 16th, 2012
1:56 pm

aj it is much different than a cortisone shot that only reduces inflammation without fixing it and maybe allowing more injury to occur. this is because you dont give the body time to do its thing and heal. you got something hurt so mask it and then go all out to see if you can injure it more mentality. pretty dumb.

doc

October 16th, 2012
1:57 pm

prp requires one to sit out a natural cycle of healing which according to the books is anywhere from 30 to 45 days for inflammation that is bringing in cells to heal, scar tissue setting up then the body redefining the scar into more pliable and normal appearing tissue.

Astro Joe

October 16th, 2012
1:59 pm

vava, unless the Hawks decide to only offer Josh a 4-year deal, I wouldn’t expect him to make a decision about his next contract based on the presence of a friend. I think Josh would be walking away from around $20M, even if his salary started around $14M, if he opted for someone else’s 4 year deal over the Hawks 5 year contract. I think this new CBA will make it super challenging for UFAs who are young & productive enough to get a 5-year deal, to leave their team. IMO, the best move would be to sign a 2-3 year deal with another team and then sign an extension to lock in some stability over a total of 5-6 years. But even then, that player would be leaving some near-term money on the table.

doc

October 16th, 2012
2:00 pm

aj to reenact what is happening, all you have to do is remember a really bad road rash off a bike or a bad scrape. remember how it oozed, firmed up into a scab, peeled off, then got hard only to soften over time?

doc

October 16th, 2012
2:02 pm

we tend to get in the way of it however. it occurs essentially inside or outside the body by the same “plasma” mediated events. that ooze you saw as a kid, all yellow and draining is plasma. viola!

Astro Joe

October 16th, 2012
2:03 pm

doc, so not only does it sound like he could potentially miss some time, but also that he may not be tradeable.

doc

October 16th, 2012
2:04 pm

that is the body doing its miracle of healing.

f*ck the blog moster. if that isnt some sh!t.

it would allow me to post that in its entirety.

stupid.

doc

October 16th, 2012
2:07 pm

lets say deven fr the next contract will be a little more willing to push beyond the pain than your fave speedy

it is still experimental really and the different grades of injury are part of how well it does. it may be the next best thing and keep total knees down. if it comes to it or a total knee i’ll follow kobe, tiger and brandon for sure. so, i follow these things with interest for sure.

Astro Joe

October 16th, 2012
2:12 pm

We should have kept Jordan Farmar so that we could have had yet another speedy PG to add to the collection of Teague, Devin & LouWill.

Slimjr

October 16th, 2012
2:16 pm

BRay with a scoring mentality which comes very early in your basketball life you learn over the years how to get your [shot] off regardless of what level your playing at.

Teague need a reliable shot yesterday..

Astro Joe

October 16th, 2012
2:22 pm

96 backcourt minutes… probably 80+ minutes will be split across Teague, LouWill and Devin (assuming good health). That’s a lot of small-ball.

jlewis

October 16th, 2012
2:47 pm

Josh an all-star? Unless the fans vote him in, it’s probably not happening. The coaches vote for the reserves and unless the Hawks are seriously in the playoff hunt he can forget it. Let’s not forget what he said about it being a “butt-kissing” league to make all-star and David Stern snubbing him when the time came for a replacement.

We reap what we sow young man.

O'Brien

October 16th, 2012
2:56 pm

AJ,

Not only is it a lot of small ball, but that only leaves 16 minutes for Stevenson, Morrow, and John Jenkins. It’s hard to establish any kind of trade value for guys if they are not getting PT.

cp

October 16th, 2012
3:19 pm

If you have direct tv the game is on tv tonight. channel 755

i_am_soulstar

October 16th, 2012
3:33 pm

I need in a live stream in my life.

Ken Strickland

October 16th, 2012
4:33 pm

DOC-Please, that’s enough. I’m very excited about having Devin on our team, and even though I didn’t expect him to start, I had no idea how potentially serious his injury might be. Now we know why Utah was so willing to trade him for Marvin. It wasn’t a matter of them wanting Marvin, but more a matter of wanting to get rid of Devin.

He can still be a valuable contributor to the team. Your description of his problem might also be why LDrew said he knows exactly how he intends to use him. I guess all of you who have been wanting Drew to start Devin and bench Teague will be sorely disappointed.

Grandad

October 16th, 2012
4:37 pm

I really wish you folks could grasp the concept of five man basketball.

The Miami Heat [due to LBJ] have popularized this concept.
LBJ is playing the [4] `(so to speak) ‘ this season;
but what does it matter.
LBJ plays virtually all five positions;
because, LeBron is a basketball player.
Or, as yawl would say – a ” baller ” !
* [the best baller in the world] – but still.

High school and small college teams
have embraced this concept for years, nay, for all time.

What our Hawks are doing is simply flowing with the times.
* [keeping up with the cutting edge within basketball]

Multiple guards that can play [1] or [2];
supplemented by a slew of [2`s] that can “fill it up” !
[3] by committee:
Korver, James, Morrow, Josh, DeSS, and maybe even Big Bad Ivan !
Ou front court has the same versatility:
combinations centered around the tandem of [Josh & Al].
Josh & Al [plus]:::: Zaza, Ivan, Damion, KKorv, or ?

Any slice you weigh it – five basketball players on the floor
at the same time !

Ken Strickland

October 16th, 2012
4:38 pm

CP-Don’t you have to subscribe to NBA LEAGUE PASS to get any NBA gms in the 700 channels?

Ken Strickland

October 16th, 2012
4:48 pm

GRANDAD-Never stop trying to get some of our fans to understand there is more than one way to play basketball, even at the NBA level. It looks like Drew has already decided on who his SF will be(DJames), so he’s looking to see who he wants at the teams final starting position that’s undecided(SG). All of the other starting positions have already been decided:

SF-DJames
C-AHorford
PF-JSmith
PG-JTeague
SG-? Probably Morrow or Jenkins

Astro Joe

October 16th, 2012
4:55 pm

OB, yeah. of course, that assume reasonable health from Devin.

If Devin’s knee is going to be gimpy (and we’ve seen some positive examples with Kobe and Amare for the most part that 24+ minutes isn’t out of the question), then I’m hoping that Devin does NOT start to avoid the disruption to that line-up when he needs to rest. I go back to what I said earlier, start one offensive minded player at one wing and a defender at the other wing. That could be (as an example) Morrow & James as a tandem or Stevenson and Korver as a tandem. And a gimpy Devin means more PG minutes for Lou.

Grandad

October 16th, 2012
5:00 pm

Ken S

Thanks for the encouragement.

doc

October 16th, 2012
5:26 pm

ken, just like us, grandad is too old to change. heh heh

Grandad

October 16th, 2012
5:29 pm

doc

I quit wearin` drawers just so I wouldn`t have to change `em.

Astro Joe

October 16th, 2012
5:30 pm

Grandad, I personally understand the concept. But there are still dynamics like size and the ability to play effective on both sides of the floor and the ability to play various styles of ball (fast, slow, grind-it-out, fast paced, etc.). I get that the positions are blurring… but there will still be times that you need a guy who can deliver the ball to the right person at the right time without turning it over. You still need someone with a great understanding of time and score and situation. Someone who knows when to push the ball and when to slow it down. There are still a slew of nuances that come in the form of basketball IQ (I guess) coupled with some floor leadership and ball handling skills. It’s an evolving, complex matrix… which is exactly what makes it a GREAT game.

doc

October 16th, 2012
5:47 pm

just avoid the pampers for seniors dude.

steven a smith

October 16th, 2012
5:59 pm

Coach Mike Fratello of NBA-TV suggested if he were head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, he would start Zsa Zsa Pachulia at the “5″ and Al Horford at the “4″. However, he does not think that Josh Smith is a natural “3″

Grandad

October 16th, 2012
6:01 pm

A J … agreed

Basketball IQ is the key !
More so than size differential or skill set.
However;
versatility of players make easier on the coach.
For exp:
Zaza is the one guy on our team who is a one pos player.
* (I don`t even count JPet)
But Zaza can play in conjunction with all sorts of combos.
exp – alongside Al & Josh.

* Same with JJenkins – exp – alongside Lou and Morrow.