The Detroit Pistons shocked fans this offseason by using most of their cap space on a trade for Joe Harris.
This was not the splashy move fans were hoping for, and Harris wasn’t on anyone’s radar considering the 31-year-old is not really on the team’s timeline and is on an expiring deal.
The move looked more financial than anything, as the Pistons were able to net a couple of second-round picks by taking on Harris’ expiring deal, essentially kicking their cap space to next season, a Troy Weaver specialty.
Fans were underwhelmed, as Harris is on the wrong side of 30, can no longer defend effectively, and as he put it, is at a “crossroads” in his career where he has to expect less from his body and accept a smaller role.
So what can the Detroit Pistons expect from Joe Harris?
The Detroit Pistons won’t lean heavily on Joe Harris
The answer is probably, “not much.”
Harris did appear in 74 games last season, which makes him an Iron Man by Pistons’ recent standards but he only played 20 minutes per game, lowest since his first two seasons in the league.
Harris can still shoot the lights out, as he hit over 42 percent of his 3-point shots, but he did it on far fewer attempts than he took in the two seasons prior when he averaged over six attempts per game.
If the game were only about shooting, Harris would likely carve out a role for himself with the Detroit Pistons, but defense matters and Harris can no longer play it at a high level. Considering the Pistons already have a great shooter who can’t defend in Bojan Bogdanovic, it’s hard to see how Harris gets off the bench except for in spot minutes.
My guess is that he’ll play fewer than 15 minutes per game on average next season, spelling Bogdanovic when the Pistons need more shooting in their second unit. But as this team tries to become more competitive, they can’t have multiple bad defenders on the floor at the same time as they did for much of last season when they were 28th in the league in defense.
The Detroit Pistons will probably play Harris just enough to show he can still shoot to set up a low-level trade at the deadline. It’s possible that he’ll play out the whole season with the team, but after multiple ankle surgeries, Harris can’t be counted on for big minutes and will likely just be a way for the Pistons to clear some cap space next season or reap another second-round pick.