On Thursday night, Spartan fans will get a little bit of a break in the lull of summer with the NBA Draft. This draft is particularly exciting for MSU faithful because both Adreian Payne and Gary Harris will be taken in the first round. Gary Harris is most likely going to be a top 15 pick, so I thought I'd look at some of the teams that I can see taking him in the draft (NOTE: the team that will actually take Harris probably won't be any of these teams because I'm terrible at predicting things) and figure out whether it would be a suitable environment for him to play in.
Charlotte Hornets, pick number 9. 9th pick might be a little bit too early for Gary Harris, but if other good shooters like Doug McDermott or Nik Stauskas are already off the board, this might be a good place for him to go. Last year, Charlotte was in the basement of team field goal and three-point percentage in the NBA, and they'll definitely be looking for a shooter. However, right now their best shooter is also a 2 guard (Gerald Henderson), so Harris would likely be coming off the bench. Ideally, the Hornets would like a small forward with a good shot, so Harris probably isn't at the top of their lists. He'd make an immediate impact, though.
Denver Nuggets, pick number 11. The Nuggets need shooting guard, period. Right now, they have Randy Foye and Evan Fournier on the roster, neither of whom are good starting two guards. If Harris went there, he would immediately be thrown into the rotation if not the starting lineup. However, his biggest strength for the NBA is his ability to score, and that's where Fournier and Foye are very capable of succeeding. The only different side he'd bring to the team would be his good defense, which the Nuggets aren't really looking for. I have a feeling that the Nuggets would not be pleasantly surprised with Harris if they drafted him. He's not the type of two guard they need.
Minnesota Timberwolves, pick number 13. I would be absolutely delighted to see Harris get taken here.The Timberwolves are looking for a wing player that can shoot and play good defense, and that's exactly what Harris is. In all honesty, Minnesota probably wants Nik Stauskas because of his consistency, but he'll probably be gone by then. Harris would jump on the scene in Minnesota and make an impact right away.
Phoenix Suns, pick number 14 and 17. A couple mock drafts have Gary Harris going to the Suns at number 14, and I'm not sure why. The Suns already have a stacked starting backcourt of Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, and Gerald Green is already a serviceable backup shooting guard. Gary Harris, if drafted by the Suns, would be buried deep in the bench and wouldn't get any playing time (assuming that Bledsoe, who's a restricted free agent, gets re-signed). The Suns would be better off drafting Harris' former teammate and MSU alumni Adreian Payne, as they need a good big that can score.
Atlanta Hawks, pick number 15. One of the Hawks biggest needs is a wing player that can shoot well, because head coach Mike Budenholzer's system loves those players (see: Kyle Korver last season). He may not get the starting role immediately, but he'll have an immediate impact as a catch & shoot guy and will complement DeMarre Carroll on defense nicely. However, the Hawks still aren't sure if they'll have a starting point guard next season-- Jeff Teague might not be in Atlanta next year-- and if that's the case, they'll look for a point guard like Shabazz Napier or Elfrid Peyton.
Chicago Bulls, pick number 16 and 19. The Bulls need a shooter bad, but they want one that can also play in the paint. I think that if Gary Harris was still around for the 19th pick, the he would be a great pick for the Bulls. Picking Harris over a more versatile player at 16, though, would not be in the Bulls' or Gary Harris' best interest. If starting shooting guard Jimmy Butler remains with the Bulls, he'll become one of the main players on that team, and that will leave Harris on the bench. While he would be in the rotation, the Bulls already are so great at defense that he wouldn't be as valued on that side of the floor, and all he'd be good for is shooting. If Harris is one of the only options left at 16 or 19, though, I wouldn't be opposed to the Bulls taking him.