Joe Harris’ playing time has begun to fall even while his shot will not.
Published: 2022-11-26 11:33 pm
Joe Harris’ Nets role beginning to shrink during shooting slump

Joe Harris’ playing time has begun to fall even while his shot will not.

The Nets sharpshooter logged a season-low 12:01 of floor time during a loss Friday at Indiana. His offense has been nonexistent and his defense sometimes has been exploited during a rough start to his 2022-23 season after he had left ankle ligament reconstruction surgery in March.

Harris, who reentered the starting lineup in late October, as soon as his health and stamina allowed, did not play a minute of the first quarter against the Pacers.

When he was in the game — to start the second and fourth quarters and finish the third — he was a minus-8 and could not hang with Buddy Hield on defense. Harris took three shots, all 3-pointers, and missed each.

Joe Harris’ shot has fallen flat during the beginning of the season.
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

In his past three games, one of the best shooters of all time is 2-for-18 from the field and 2-for-16 from beyond the arc. For the season, he is shooting 36.6 percent from the field. He is a career 47.9 percent shooter.

“We really shortened the rotation,” head coach Jacque Vaughn said after just eight Nets logged double-digit minutes, with Harris getting the fewest among them. “Liked it in good stretches. I think the group is just learning each other.”

Harris was not forcing his jumpers. Each shot Friday resulted from a good look. But after two ankle surgeries last season — during which he played his last game Nov. 14 — he has been rusty on one end of the floor and not quick enough on the other, which led to three fouls in his limited time against the Pacers.

Harris’ playing time could get further squeezed when Yuta Watanabe, another small forward with a sweet stroke, returns from a hamstring strain. Watanabe, who is leading the NBA with a 57.1 percent mark from beyond the arc, will miss a fourth straight game Sunday at Barclays Center against the Trail Blazers.

Portland will be without star guard Damian Lillard, who is out with a Grade 1 strain to the soleus muscle in his right leg.

Also out for the Blazers will be guards Keon Johnson (hip) and Gary Payton II (conditioning after surgery). Center Drew Eubanks (back) is questionable, and forward Justise Winslow (ankle) is probable.

The Nets assigned Kessler Edwards to the G-League ahead of Long Island’s game Saturday at Westchester.

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