Paul Harris: 6-4, 220, SF, Jr. (Syracuse University)
Draft rank: #45
SF rank: #11
Plays the game with a football mentality. Plays way bigger than his height. Amazing quickness and athleticism. Has a ridiculous 6-11 wing span. Is extremely strong. Could probably play three positions due to his strength and athleticism. Has improved his jump shot year after year. Does a good job of getting to the foul line. Is very good out in transition. While it was hard to see in Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, he has the skills to be a lock down perimeter defender. Has great foot speed. Doesn’t back down against bigger players. Has great athleticism. Solid free throw shooter. Very good re-bounder on both ends of the floor for a player his size. Gets his hands on a lot of balls on defense. Has a great cross-over dribble. Really gets after loose balls and will keep the ball alive on the offensive glass. Has a nose for the ball. Is a very good at slashing to the basket and knows how to draw contact to get to the free throw line.
While his jump shot has improved he is still a very inconsistent shooter. Doesn’t have 3 point range or shoot a good percentage from there. Doesn’t have the ideal handles to play the guard position in the NBA. He would be best at the 3 or the 4, but he doesn’t have the size to play that position at the next level. Turns the ball over way too much for a wing player. Often takes bad shots along the perimeter when he really should be focused on doing the little things to help get his teammates open.
Harris brought a toughness to the floor that rubbed off on his teammates all year. He battled and clawed despite the fact that he was undersized and often going up against much bigger players. He did have some off court issues in high school and apparently they weren’t exactly ushering him back in the door at Syracuse but on the court I like his effort and toughness. Ultimately if he can show a good work ethic and improve his jumper then he could have a major role off the bench for a team.
Comparison: Mario West, 6-5, 210, SG
Look, the guy is a freak athlete. He came into Syracuse as a highly touted recruit and never really lived up to those expectations, but he still showed signs of what made him such an intriguing prospect in High School. Harris is the type of guy that you could see transition over to football as a starting tight end with little to no football experience. He is a physical freak who possesses a chiseled frame with freakishly long arms. Usually a player is long or stout and compact, but somehow Harris has both. His physical gifts are going to be hard to ignore and somebody is going to jump on his raw talents in the 2nd round.
Harris reminds me of Mario West and Tony Allen as well. It’s interesting that West was a walk on at Georgia Tech who went undrafted in the NBA, but has somehow managed to make the Hawks roster the last two years. The guy just doesn’t get intimidated and doesn’t back down from anybody that he’s playing. That mindset is where my comparison to Harris comes in. Harris is going to have to take on a similar role and really take pride in playing defense, re-bounding and providing athleticism to a team off the bench. Harris is blessed with a better frame and actually more skills then West, but he should watch some tape on West so that he can see what it takes to make an NBA roster and provide value to a team.
Ultimately, I think that Harris’ will be a better pro than he was a college player. I have trouble ever seeing him as a starter but he can do so many different things and has the potential to become a much more complete player that it’s hard for me to imagine that there isn’t a roster spot waiting for him. He certainly needs to work on his game and he probably could’ve used another year in college to do so, but somebody will fall in love with his athleticism and hope that he can take on a role as a bench player. I don’t see why he can't.