The Los Angeles Lakers officially signed forward Elias Harris to a multi-year contract with a team option for the 2014-15 season in mid-August. Harris went undrafted out of Gonzaga, but impressed the Lakers’ front office enough to warrant that multi-year deal in workouts and in the Lakers’ Summer League in Las Vegas.
In the Summer League, Harris, 6’8″, averaged 10.2 points and 5.6 rebounds, which seemed to catch the attention of the coaching staff. Since then, he has been working on his game and preparing to continue to impress the coaches and management during training camp.
Lakers.com reporter Mike Trudell caught up with Mark Madsen, who is one of the new development coaches for the Lakers, to see what kind of progress the 24-year-old is making so far. When Trudell asked Madsen what has stood out to him while working with Harris, Madsen replied:
Elias had a great summer league. His versatility is the thing you notice right away, because he can play the two, the three or the four. He came in with a pretty developed perimeter game conducive to the NBA, and is working on adding more and more. We see Elias almost every day, and he’s taking all the nuances of what (assistant coach) Dan D’Antoni is teaching him, focusing on making his shot a more balanced and consistent shot. His driving game is something he’s spending a lot of time with (player development coach) Larry Lewis on, taking all the materials Larry’s giving him and implementing them into his game.
Versatility is a sought after skill these days in the NBA as the game evolves. Yet, Trudell asked Madsen what Harris’ best position on the court is. Madsen said:
I think right now his best position is the three. To guard twos at the NBA level, there’s still a learning curve there, but he does have the capacity to do it. That process just isn’t going to happen overnight. You have to win the trust of the officials and familiarize yourself with the NBA.
Madsen and other scouts have complimented Harris’ characteristic of being a hark worker and his abilities for his size. Madsen also cites that he has impressed him with his transition game and is capable of becoming a “defensive stopper,” as he can wear an opponent down with his size and strength.
Based on this interview between Trudell and Madsen, it is promising of the upside and the potential of Harris. The next step for Harris is to prove himself and to show his value to the Lakers during training camp.
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