Draft Profiles: Gary Harris, 6’4, SG, Michigan State, 205 lbs.

Draft Profiles: Gary Harris, 6’4, SG, Michigan State, 205 lbs.

Athletic Ability

Athletically, Harris is above average for a shooting guard.  While he doesn’t have elite vertical, he has tremendous lateral quickness and front-line speed. He also has great anticipation which allows him to play even quicker.


One concern about Harris coming into the combine was lack of height.  He’s only 6’4 with a shorter wingspan of only 6’7.  While he is on the shorter side and has t-rex arms, Harris has a nice wiry-build and good strength.

Basketball IQ

The thing that impresses me the most about Harris’ basketball game outside of his 3 point shooting, is his basketball IQ.  You don’t average nearly 2 steals a game in the rugged Big 10 with t-rex arms unless you know how to play the game. 

He has some of the best defensive awareness I have seen in a two-guard prospect in awhile.  In fact, I feel he has a great defensive game, like Butler, when it comes to instincts and anticipation.  Offensively, he almost averaged 17 points a game in the Big 10.


Skill-wise, Harris is elite offensively in terms of coming off picks and shooting from mid-range or 3 point range.  Despite only shooting 36 from three this year, it was the kind of shots his team would have him take that I feel would lead to a lower 3 point percentage. 

He would usually be the guy at the end asked to hit shots from harder angles as while Michigan State is well coached, they also play a grind it out style if not out on the break. 

While Harris is an elite shooter, at times he was the only scorer on his team as his teammate and fellow prospect, Adreian Payne was injured for a few games and Keith Appling was playing on a bummed shoulder. 

If he is not shooting a three, he has the ability to create off a one or two dribble pull-up.  While he is not an elite creator and does struggle finishing at times, he did show the ability at the end of the year to create a little more, however he is very right-hand dominant.

Defensively is what excites me about Gary Harris.  While it is true that he is an inch shorter than most shooting guards and has a below average wing-span, he has elite lateral quickness, elite speed, the ability to battle through screens, the bulk to not let many shooting guards post him up easily, elite anticipation, and fast-twitch hands. 

His defensive ability and the versatility to be able to guard either guard position reminds me of a Jimmy Butler version of combo guards.  Both have good athletic ability, anticipation, tough-minded, and shorter wing-spans.

While Harris is a good prospect to me, he also has concerns.  Harris can glide off picks to shoot a three or mid-range, but can he be more than a 3-and-D guy?  While he shows great shooting, he only shot around 36% from three this year. 

While I think some of it was due to circumstances and not really being a go-to-scorer, I also feel he will be great in a high-IQ system with a ball creator or two and allowing him to score off the picks and create off secondary movement. 

Also, while Harris probably has more potential to create, he did not show much until the end of this year.  Some of this could be due to the fact that he has been injured off-and-on with different and unrelated injuries in his two years.  Will he stay healthy?


Overall, Harris is exciting to me as a prospect despite his flaws.  While he may not have as much upside as many players in this draft, I feel he is going to be one of the better players in the draft and at the minimum a 3-and-D guy. 

I can see Harris going anywhere from pick six to 16 due to concerns about size.  I do think he will make up for lack of size with his shooting prowess, his great basketball IQ, quick reflexes, ability to work hard, being a good teammate, and ability to know his role. 

I feel like Harris possesses a game similar to Brad Beal without quite as much slashing, but more defense.  I don’t think Harris will be quite as good as Beal in terms of scoring, but should be a 17ppg type scorer in his prime.

How does he fit with the Bulls?

Outside of more playmaking ability, Harris is everything we need in a shooting guard.  Offensively, Harris is a tremendous shooter from three, mid-range, and can slash on occasion. He is one of those players that will make big-time plays to help win playoff games. 

Also, Coach Thibs loves to run a motion style of offense and Harris would come in right away and play many minutes due to his understanding of the game and the ability to defend right away. 

Playing for Coach Izzo is almost like playing for a college version of Coach Thibs.  While I love Jimmy Butler, I would be intrigued to trade his rights and the 19th to move up or both our picks to get Gary Harris as I feel he is a better fit on this team if we land a superstar; especially if we don’t want pay Butler six or seven million next season. 

My impressions

Overall, Harris reminds me of a cross between Brad Beal and Aaron Afflalo.  What I mean is that he shows flashes of slashing more like a Brad Beal and is more of a natural athlete/shooter of a Brad Beal while being a tenacious defender and slightly taller than Aaron Afflalo. 

I have no qualms stating that as long as he can stay healthy, that he will be a borderline all-star type player in the sense of the ultimate glue guy.  I would say he ranks in my top 7 players in this draft and will do better than some of the top 10 prospects ranked in this draft in terms of production; especially a couple of the power forwards. 

I doubt the Bulls move up to get him, but he is the type of player we can get without giving up way too much!


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  • I would be surprised if Harris is available at 16 pick. He will likely be picked at top 10.

  • Perhaps I am misreading what you wrote but Afflalo is listed as 6'5 at Draft Express and other sites. He is taller than Harris.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    Quite a bit taller than Harris. Gary measured 6'2 1/2 inches in socks at the combine. Which actually makes his "T-Rex arms" more proportional. It also means the miniature two guard just might slide into the teens.

  • In reply to hgarbell:

    My thoughts exactly, Harris is 6'2.5"(actual height) while Afflalo is listed as 6'5" which means he is somewhere around 6'3". In either event that makes him a small SG about the size of Jimmer actually. I've seen him mocked as high as 10 right after the top 8 guys and Saric.

    Seems like an Eric Gordon type 2 guard, which wouldn't suck if he doesn't have his health problems. Of course a cross between Bradley Beal and Arron Afflalo is a damn good player, better than Gordon actually, so that would make him a top 5 pick. Is he going to be a better pro than Randle, Smart or Gordon(who I'm not sold on having a position in the NBA), what about Stauskis, McDermott, or Lavine?

    Not sure about trading Butler and a pick for him, or both picks. If we move both picks to move up I'd rather get Saric, probably Stauskis & McDermott, maybe even Lavine.

    Both KS and RW are high on him, so maybe he overcomes his size with bulldog tenacity.

  • If the Bulls can find a way to get Harris it would be amazing. I know this draft is loaded, but I don't see how he falls to 16. Looking at the Draft Express Mock, there are 5-7 players in front of Harris that I would not choose before him.

  • Hey Kevin, are you going to cover Elfrid Payton, he's been getting a lot of great buzz as a sleeper in this draft. Which of course means that he could vault ahead of the Bulls pick.

    I've seen him compared to Rondo and Gary Payton. He has good size and length for a point, is supposed to be a great defender, maybe he could play with Rose

  • In reply to BigWay:

    What I've heard about him is that he can drive, but can't shoot at all. Something like 25% from three and a FT% in the 50's. And I think I read that he only made like 30 threes in three years.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I"m going to try. There are a lot of prospects to cover still (Payton, Stauskas, Ennis, Grant, Jordan Clarkson, maybe C.J. Wilcox, 2nd rounders, overall draft)! He has great defensive and fastbreak material - the question will ultimately rely on him developing a solid perimeter jumper.

  • I love Gary Harris. To me, he is the best fit for the Bulls. Would love to see him play next to Rose and Butler. I'd trade both picks to get him, but I think he might still be there at 16. It all depends on what teams want, but I think Stauskas, Young, LaVine, and Payne will go ahead of him. Maybe Hood jumps him too. My fingers are crossed.

  • In reply to PaBullfan:

    I don't think he will be there at 16 but could slide to late lottery.

  • I was busy yesterday, and didn't get a chance to check out Kevin's review. I admit I wasn't a huge Gary Harris fan up to this point. I did watch him play, and for whatever reason I just wasn't that impressed. Of course I only watched him a couple of times so not a real fair sample set. Partly, I thought his presence/demeanor was just a little stoic I guess you could say.

    That said, looking at the scouting reports, his production at MSU, and his interviews I'd have no problems with the Bulls drafting him. He seems like a good kid, hard worker, athletic ability, yeah his wingspan isn't great, but it's almost 6'7 despite some height disparity "controversy" he's almost 6'4 in shoes which is what I go by anyway. So really I wouldn't call him T-Rex, but as Kevin mentioned also he has the steals production to prove he's not hampered defensively. Also, as a potential slasher/ball handle he could stand to improve, but his hands width wise are huge which in that regard is not a bad thing by any means.

    Harris as a guy slotted at No. 11 on NBADraft.net didn't do measurements on speed, lane agility, max vert. etc. which I can sort of understand with his established position in the draft still most guys that far down in the lottery did do the measurements so I don't know question that a little. Still, he could have "a promise" and possibly as insurance against rising they "shut him down" aka requested he didn't do measurements.

    Bottom line: Gary has a lot of talent, he can shoot, has some athleticism and good quickness off the dribble. Good effort and defense. If he should fall for some surprise reason(which I doubt) I would be cool with the Bulls drafting him. But I doubt that's going to happen. DraftExpress does have him at 14, but I think the Bulls would at least have to trade up to 10-11 to get him. Again, not Gar/Pax's MO.

  • Side note: speaking of combine measurements, one guy who did well in this regard was C.J. Wilcox. The thing about measurements of ability in speed, agility, and jump/vertical is this: I don't take as much stock in bad numbers as I do good numbers. Reason: A bad number/day/performance can happen to anyone. Conversely, you can't fake good to great numbers. If you have much better then expected court speed then that's a fact. Same with max vert, and lane agility. While these don't always translate to the basketball court they can/do often make a difference.

    Wilcox had better speed and agility then many of the other SG's and he has a good wingspan and max vert. Plus good hand size to handle the ball. Add them all together and those numbers are likely the reason he has risen from early second to well into the first round. I could see taking him at 19 if we've already taken a big as in Adreian Payne at 16 and or some other guys like Hood for example don't for some reason drop/aren't available at 19. To me C.J. would be a nice consolation prize to be sure.

    One other note: The sub par athleticism confirmed quite emphatically by the measurements of Jordan Adams has made me a little hesitant about him as he's dropped well into the second round on NBADraft.net which IMO is the most accurate barometer of the best mock sites. Still, his character and production speaks for itself with excellent wingspan so if drafted I'd still be positive about that.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    If this is the kid from Washington(or state) I agree with you, he would be a nice option at 19 if we already have Payne or Hood and neither of those guys is still on the board at 19.

    I've seem a lot of drafts mocking a point guard to the Bulls, Ennis, Napier mostly, but I'm starting to like this Payton kid. Maybe they know we're not going to be able to afford DJ, although if we do amnestitize the bozohole, I still think that the room exception should be enough to get it done with DJ.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    since you mentioned him as a "consolation prize" the other guy that I think of in that vein would be TJ Warren. If all the other name guys are off the board, which could easily happen, those 2 guys would be nice consolation prizes.

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