As a Nets fan you had to get what you wanted for Christmas already.
In the last few days, you saw Jason Kidd return to New Jersey and you saw Devin Harris outplay him. Then last night, you saw Harris again leading the Nets to victory, hitting the game-winning jumper in Indiana.
What happened in between is forgettable and regrettable, but those were two big moments for the young point guard around whom the Nets are building.
As a Nets fan you also should feel like you got a gift with the Nets’ acquisition of Harris for Kidd.
Consider this: One of the deals on the table before the Nets and Mavs agreed was a three-way with the Blazers that would have sent Kidd to Dallas, Harris to Portland and Jarrett Jack to New Jersey.
Who’s Jarrett Jack? He’s the point guard that went 0-for-7 last night and gave Harris too much room to shoot the clincher. But you couldn’t blame Jack for that because if he played Harris more closely, he probably would have gotten past him and drawn the foul.
It’s amazing how far Harris has come as a player and his flair for the dramatic shows he can be special.
He’s still not in the top tier of upper echelon point guards but he’s getting closer. He’s much closer than he was in October and early November and should be rewarded with an All-Star berth this season as well as Most Improved Player.
There are so many things you have to like about Harris. One thing that stands out is his mental and physical toughness.
Harris led the Nets to the win over Detroit in November after spraining his ankle. He hurt it last night but returned just in time.
He also knows how to take over games in the fourth quarter, giving the Nets a terrific one-two punch with Vince Carter back there as well. Only LeBron James and Dwyane Wade is averaging more fourth-quarter points than Harris.
He accepts his role as a leader and when the Nets don’t play well he says he and carter have to set the tone with their effort and energy. He hasn’t had too many bad games in a row.
Another thing you’re starting to see is he’s becoming a more well-rounded point guard, he’s making his teammates better because of his ability to draw defenders and make plays.
In three of his last four games, Harris has had double-figure assists. He’s had three double-doubles in that time – with averages of 28 and 11 – after just two in the first 21 games.
Harris keeps getting better. He’s standing at the door where the elite point guards are and he’s ready to knock it down.
He’s like the shiny new toy you got for Christmas only you opened it much sooner and you can’t wait to see what else it can do.
Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)