At the end of November, the Brooklyn Nets lost their best 3-point shooter when Joe Harris went down with an ankle injury. The Nets expended Harris to return in a couple of months, but he suffered a disappointing setback and will undergo season-ending arthroscopic surgery.
Last season, Harris averaged 14.1 ppg and shot 47.5% from 3-point range. Prior to his ankle injury, Harris averaged 11.3 ppg this season and shot 46.6% from beyond the arc.
“Joe is just the quintessential teammate,” said Nets general manager Sean Marks. “He is what defines a Brooklyn Net. We feel terrible for Joe and we all know just how much he means to this group.”
The Nets are treading water, but they’re in a dangerous spot close to the Eastern Conference playoff bubble. The Nets (32-32) occupy the #8 seed and trail the #7 Toronto Raptors by three games. Meanwhile, the Nets are only 2.5 games out from missing the play-in tournament.
The #9 Charlotte Hornets (31-33) and #10 Atlanta Hawks (30-32) are behind the Nets, with the Washington Wizards (28-33) on the bubble in the #11 seed. The Wizards lost Bradley Beal for the remainder of the regular season due to wrist surgery, so they should not be a threat.
According to FiveThirtyEight, the Nets are 53% chance to qualify for the playoffs. The Nets are +475 odds to win the 2022 NBA championship as the third-highest team on the NBA futures board over at DraftKings.
Harris Dunzo, Curry Next man Up
In mid-November, Harris aggravated an ankle injury. Harris sat out six games before the Nets decided that he should undergo surgery to remove a bone fragment.
The Nets initially expected Harris to miss four to eight weeks so they hoped he could return to the mix in January. However, Harris was not ready by the start of February. During the All-Star Break, Harris still experienced pain post-surgery and indicated he was nowhere close to returning to the Nets.
“Although Joe worked diligently over the past several months to rehab his ankle and exhausted every possible avenue in order to get back on the court with his teammates, it has been determined that he will require an additional arthroscopic surgery in the coming weeks,” said Marks. “While it is expected that Joe will make a full recovery following the procedure, it will unfortunately result in him missing the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs.”
Losing Harris for a potential playoff run is a huge blow for the Nets. Luckily they have Seth Curry to provide a perimeter shooter, but he’s no Harris. Curry joined the Nets in the James Harden/Ben Simmons trade. In eight games with the Nets, Curry averages 16.6 ppg while shooting 44.4% from downtown.
“We know how deeply disappointed Joe is to miss this stretch run, but he remains a huge part of who we are as an organization and while he won’t be able to contribute on the court, his presence and positivity around the team will continue to be felt by all,” added Marks.