Going into Saturday’s Game 7, there was a growing narrative that Joe Harris could be neutralized by top defenders. Instead of countering it, he may have confirmed it instead.
Harris’ shooting woes continued, and it played a huge role in the Nets’ season-ending 115-111 loss to the Bucks. He finished with 10 points on 3-of-10 from the floor and just 3-of-9 from deep.
“Obviously I’m disappointed. I wish I’d played better,” Harris said. “There’s a lot of things where you can go back, be a tough critic on yourself, be judgmental. But at the same time, you’ve got to bring more to the table than just one thing. Overall, I wish I would’ve shot more efficiently, help alleviate some of the pressure that other guys were facing.
“But this is the situation that we’re in; and you know, frankly, had I played better, we might be in a little bit of a different spot. So it’s definitely going to be a motivating factor for me in this offseason going forward, just because like a lot of us were just talking about in the locker room, this thing is far from over for us.”
But that’s for next season.
This one came to a bitter end, undone by injuries (Kyrie Irving was out, and James Harden playing at half speed) and an untimely slump from the NBA’s best shooter.
After shooting a league-high 47.4 percent from deep in 2018-19, Harris got held to 19 percent in a first-round loss to the 76ers. Last year he had to leave the NBA Bubble early because of a family emergency.
Harris reclaimed his crown by shooting 47.5 percent this season, and 51 percent to finish plus-101 through the Nets’ 6-1 playoff start. But Harris was 8-of-33 for a minus-51 over the last five games, the Nets losing four of them.
Blake Griffin, Jeff Green, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Tyler Johnson, Chris Chiozza, Bruce Brown and Mike James will all be free agents, the last three restricted. Spencer Dinwiddie has a player option, and on Aug. 6 they can start extension talks for the Big 3 and Nic Claxton.
There are plenty of decisions to be made.
“I’m still happy with my decision,” Griffin said of coming to the Nets. “This was obviously a tough loss, and not where we’re expected to be. But injuries are part of the game, things happen. Being without James [Harden] for four games and then having him on one leg … [it’s] a messed up situation.
“As far as the future, game ended an hour ago, so haven’t even thought about that.”
Harden, Kevin Durant and Irving can be signed to extensions that could max out at $252.8 million, $234.5 million and $217.0 million, respectively.
“Of course we try to improve every single year. That’s the goal,” Harden said. “We never want to stay the same. We try to improve, we try to get better and keep getting better.
“Just got to try to stay healthy and I’m sure the front office and the top guys will try to bring in more players around me, KD and Ky and continue to improve.”