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Utah Jazz Player Previews - Devin Harris

Who Is This Guy?

For the second time in his career, Devin Harris was traded for another point guard that his team at the time felt was an upgrade. That of course doesn't include the draft-night trade that sent him Dallas from Washington.

So while Harris has been a sought-after commodity, he's never really been able to settle down with one team. While he's been attractive enough as a trade piece and someone with good talent -- including an All-star appearance in 2009 -- he hasn't quite been the player that have teams calling to inquire about him.

Does that change in Utah? When Kevin O'Connor traded Deron Williams, Derrick Favors was the key piece in return. At the time, Harris was viewed at the time as little more than a throw-in player to give the Jazz a point guard. However, O'Connor told him that the Jazz traded for him as well and that he was in their plans. This was backed up later when ESPN reported that Dallas had tried to trade for Harris after the Carmelo Anthony fell through to New Jersey. The Mavericks' intent was then to flip Harris to the Jazz for Williams. They knew that the Jazz had interest in Harris.

So what is Harris' role with the Jazz going forward? The question from since he's been here has been whether he's the point guard to lead the young core of Jazz players for the next 4-5 seasons. He only has two years left on his current deal, after which he can become an unrestricted free agent. With the 2012 draft short on quality PG stock, I could see the Jazz sticking with him through his deal and trying to sign him to an extension next summer. Though the team has a group of talented young players, the Jazz front office will want a veteran to lead them. If Harris wants to be here, I imagine the Jazz will want him as well.

That is of course unless -- you guessed it -- the Jazz feel like they can offer him up for a better point guard.

More after the jump

How Does He Fit?

At face value, you can lump Devin Harris into the Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap pile as a veteran who has two years left on his contract before moving on from the Utah Jazz experience. But Harris is truly in a unique position, because unlike Paul and Al, Harris' replacement isn't clearly on the roster right now. Of course some Jazz fans are hoping that Alec Burks will turn into the point guard of the future and other fans are hoping that one of our 2 potential 2012 lottery picks turns into the next Deron Williams. There are holes in both of those hopes, however, and in truth it isn't far fetched to think that out of Harris, Jefferson and Millsap, the former Maverick and Net could be the most likely to stay with the Jazz past the summer of 2013.

Harris has his faults, like most Jazz men, but for a starting point guard who has averaged 13 ppg and 5 apg for his career, Harris has a really reasonable contract. He is set to make $9.1 million this season and only $8.5 million the next. Again, Harris is properly paid for his ability. Like Millsap and Jefferson, you will hear many trade rumors involving Harris, but the truth is that this Jazz team needs some savvy veterans who can guide the ship of potential through turbulent seas and Harris is about as professional as a ballplayer gets from a public relations perspective. Harris is likeable, open, honest and straightforward. And even if the Jazz are able to draft a point guard in this upcoming draft, there are big problems with starting 4 or 5 guys under the age of 24. Again, I would put my money on Harris leaving Utah in no later than 2 years, but I also wouldn't be surprised to see the Jazz try to resign Harris to help guide the full on youth movement. And I can't say the same thing for Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson.


Hopes, Dreams,and Deepest Fears:

Four years ago the Dallas Mavericks traded Devin Harris for Jason Kidd. I thought it was silly. I still think it was kind of silly. Devin was a young point guard getting better. Kidd had the name and the pedigree, but wasn't really great anymore and was only going to get worse.

Things worked out okay for the Mavs, of course. But let's be honest: the addition of Tyson Chandler was a bigger deal for their championship run than Jason Kidd.

Things haven't been so awesome for Devin Harris since the trade. He became a stereotype-the player that puts up big stats while the team is terrible. A player who looks decent on paper, but doesn't help the team accomplish anything. That feeling didn't change when he came to the Jazz. When PG's are basically swapped, and the team changed from a playoff team to fifth worst in the league.

But there are reasons to hope. He hasn't played a lick of defense since joining the Nets, and last year he was particularly atrocious. But he was a stopper and strong defensive player for the Mavs. He may not duplicate Deron did, but he has talent to be a very good point guard. Before joining the Jazz, his assists were a career high last year.

And really, those things are what the team needs. Whether you're a believer in the old guard (Al, Millsap, and Memo) or the young kids (Favors, Hayward, Kanter, and Burks) or - where most of us are - someone who thinks the some combination of both will be the right mix ... regardless of all, the team will likely develop fine in the scoring department.

If Devin can be his best, a PG who gets others involved, who creates shots for his teammates with his quickness, who disrupts the perimeter of the opponent-if he can pull off these things then the team will be fine.

-Jon Midget, aka Yucca

Why do we like this guy?

Being a franchise that has had either John Stockton or Deron Williams running the point for a quarter century, we're pretty spoiled when it comes to point guards.

Having been traded on Draft Day 2004 to Dallas to replace Steve Nash, and then traded to New Jersey for Jason Kidd, and then traded to Utah [as part of a package] for Deron Williams, it would appear that GMs around the league hold Devin Harris in pretty high regard. Though there were rumblings that the Jazz were open to trading Devin over the summer, it would seem that he's the one of the leaders of our rag-tag team going forward.

After watching a season's worth of standstill, bogged-down offense, Devin impressed with his speed in getting to the hoop during his first game in a Jazz uniform. He was also the first one to show up at the practice facility after the lockout. I don't know that he is the long-term solution to the Jazz's point guard position, but Kevin O'Connor quite tellingly said a few weeks ago that he told Ty, Devin, and Al that they should stick together because the four of them are the ones that are going to get blamed if the season goes sideways