Joe Harris is putting in 100 percent with a goal of getting back 40 percent.
The Nets’ oft-overlooked shooting guard began his offseason workouts with a goal of shooting 40 percent on his three-point attempts this season. He boosted his mark to 38.5 percent in Tuesday night’s loss to the Celtics as he made five of 11 en route to tying his career-high with a team-best 19 points.
“All the top shooters and elite shooters in the NBA, you look across the board, they all shoot right around 40 percent or above,” Harris said after the Nets worked out on Wednesday. “That’s been my goal and that’s where I want to get. I want to get in that elite company.”
Harris has scored in double figures off the bench seven times already, the most among non-starters. His game may be starting to thrive because it is his second year in coach Kenny Atkinson’s system.
Atkinson said that even in the middle of last season, Harris was still getting used to it. He was getting the ball and had to think through reading his options. But Harris put in a lot of offseason work on his skills and this season. “It helps he knows what we’re doing. Continuity is huge in development,” Atkinson said.
“Today things have become second nature. Harris will come off a screen and catch a pass and innately feels the options he has. That’s allowed him to be more aggressive with the ball.
“Getting more comfortable and having more confidence in what you’re doing, you’re able to switch your mentality a little bit to be more aggressive,” he said. “You’re going to shoot it rather than catching it and making a decision on what do you want to do.”
“When something’s new to you, you kind of fight [to] trust in it . . . You don’t know how well it’ll work with you, how well it fits your game,” said Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who also is beginning to thrive in his second year playing Atkinson’s offense. “The more you get comfortable with and the more you trust and believe in it, the better of you are . . . As you can see it’s gotten better for us.”
Harris shot 38.5 percent on threes last season. This time around he’s taking more. And if the first 13 games are a sign, he should get closer and closer to his goal.
Notes & quotes: Atkinson said there is “no update” on D’Angelo Russell’s expected return from a knee contusion . . . Though there is an option to make Sean Kilpatrick the understudy to interim starting point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, Atkinson sounds likely to stick with Isaiah Whitehead. The Brooklyn product did not score or have an assist Tuesday — just his fourth game — but Atkinson complimented his defense and said his lack of playing time so far “is why if he does have a bad game or some bad stretches, we have to have some patience a little bit. We can’t start penalizing him for that.”