The Blazers shifted their lineup Friday night in order to get a better look at their lesser players. It was only consolations, after all, and it is very important to get one last look at those outside the spotlight before pre-season. Portland sat CJ McCollum, Will Barton, Thomas Robinson, Victor Claver, Meyers Leonard, Joel Freeland, and Damian Lillard. So who would step up?
Terrel Harris has been ignored by most everyone (myself included). He came to Portland from New Orleans as part of the deal for Robin Lopez. It’s no surprise he wasn’t well publicized. Last year he played just over two hours in the entire season. He did, however, see nearly ¼ of those minutes in yesterday’s loss. He used them well.
In just under 33 minutes, Terrel Harris scored 25 points on 11-19 shooting. This wasn’t a garbage game either. Despite the Blazers’ “star” sitting strategy, the Timberwolves brought the kitchen sink; starting both 1st round picks (Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng) and their 2nd round pick (Lorenzo Brown). Minnesota sat only 3 of their 15 players.
That makes it all the more impressive that Harris was able to compete at such a high level. He has played two seasons in the NBA, but never registered as a blip on the radar. This is relatively exciting since he’s still at a developmental stage and has now shown some semblance of worth. If last night’s game proves to be anything more than an outlier, he could legitimately find minutes in the Blazers’ backcourt rotation.
Of course, this is where we take his performance with a grain of salt. It was just one game. That sample size is small enough to make any analyst scoff. Still, I’m not about to brush it under the rug. Harris’ status has been upgraded from filler to question mark. Any guard that can shoot 58% for 25 points against decent competition deserves to be looked at; especially at 25 years old.
I would have expected the Allen Crabbe to have entered the spotlight instead of Harris, but Crabbe registered another forgettable performance, shooting 4-13 for a Summer League high of 9 points. These two will likely be each other’s biggest competitors for court time when the regular season begins. If nothing else, Portland may be deeper at the 2 than previously anticipated.
Muhammad, Dieng, and Brown combined for 29 points. Harris Nearly matched that all by himself.