Joe Harris arrived in Brooklyn in 2016 a castaway, a former second-round pick who’d been waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers after a season-ending injury. During his first year with the Nets, Harris started only eleven games, and the Nets finished with a league-worst 20 wins. Since then, Harris has turned himself into quite possibly the best sharpshooter in the NBA. The Nets, meanwhile, have loaded up with Hall of Fame talent and all-league personalities in Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden.
Harris might be the greatest beneficiary of that shift. In a league charmed by analytics and three-pointers, Harris has carved out his niche—and reaped the benefits, signing a four-year, $75 million contract last fall. And with three all-world scorers occupying the defense’s attention, he’s taking even greater advantage than before: hitting more than 48% of his three pointers, the unassuming Net is on the brink of the greatest shooting season in NBA history.
GQ: You’re hovering around 50% from three on the season. How often are you looking at that percentage?
Joe Harris: I never look at it.
So you’re not aware of it at all?
You see stats on the ticker before games. Especially at home, our names will pop up with our stats. And I get it—I know it’s a very stat-focused league, and people like to see tangible evidence on how players are doing. But I’ve never really paid that much attention to it. I know when I’m playing efficiently and when I’m not, but I don’t really need to look at the stat sheet to see that.
It’s interesting to me that you don’t look at your stats at all when your success is so predicated on that number, almost like a baseball hitter.
Yeah, I probably paid more attention to it in the past, when I was first coming up in the league. But at the same time, I kind of found myself being overly concerned with it, when it’s not as big of a deal.
Okay, I know you’re supposed to say you only care about winning games, but wouldn’t it just be cool to shoot over 50% from three, as a basketball fan?
Oh yeah. It’d be awesome. You definitely join a rare club of guys. I think [Kyle] Korver and Steve Kerr, and then maybe Tim Legler are the only people that have ever done it. [A few other players—Detlef Schrempf, Jason Kapono, and Jon Sundvold—have managed the feat.] So yeah, that would be incredible. But two years ago I led the NBA in three-point shooting percentage and I got a trophy from the NBA. I don’t even have it. I don’t even know where the hell that thing is.
Wait—you actually don’t know where it is?
I don’t know. I think it’s in our facility—maybe in my locker or something.
Under a pile of practice jerseys.
Yeah. It definitely would be cool for sure, and there’s a legacy aspect to it. But at the end of the day, I don’t think like people really care that much.
In my eyes you’re much closer to a guy like Klay Thompson than, say, Steve Novak on the shooter versatility spectrum. Does it bother you when people put you in the category of a guy who can only shoot?