Al Harrington has been a Denver Nugget for over three weeks and I have yet to show him the respect of a proper Film Room segment. Today that unfortunate streak comes to an end.
In this segment I take a look at what Al Harrington can do, and not do, offensively. We had a lot of material to work with thanks to his 43 point outburst against Denver last season. Watch the video and then we will dig a little deeper into what Harrington has to show us.
Video after the jump.
Obviously we all know Harrington can hit the three. His three point shooting will undoubtedly help the Nuggets offensively. He is a mediocre 35.5% shooter from behind the arc for his career and last season only converted on 34.2% of his chances. That may sound foreboding, but I think it is important to take note that during his time in Golden State he converted 38.8% of his threes. The difference is in New York when he was on the floor he was the primary scorer. No rotation player for New York took more shots per minute than Harrington did. That means he is the focus of the defense more often than not. As a result he was forced to take more difficult shots more frequently. In Golden State he was the fourth option on a team with Baron Davis, Monta Ellis and Stephen Jackson. With more players for the defense to focus on came better attempts and a higher rate of success.
I believe Harrington’s experience in Denver will be more like Golden State than New York thanks to having players like Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, J.R. Smith as well as Nene and Ty Lawson. Harrington should never have to be the primary scorer when he is on the court and thus should be able to get better looks at the basket.
I am worried about his love of the outside shot as represented by the clip where he launched a bad heat check three with 11 seconds left on the shot clock. We already get those horrible heat check threes from J.R., Chauncey and to a lesser extent Melo simply because he rarely appears to be on fire from long range. For a team that falls in love with the jump shot far too frequently Harrington will likely add fuel to the fire as opposed to a calming influence.
As I mentioned in the video, I loved Harrington’s ability to drive with either hand. Players who can shoot, and drive in either direction are very difficult to guard because an individual defender can only take away one of those options. He can play tight to defend the jumper, but will open himself up to a drive. If you shade him one way or the other he can simply take the opening and get into the lane.
As long as the Nuggets play unselfishly Harrington can be a tremendous weapon as a weak side shooter, a cutter or a player who can receive a pass and slice through the defense. While I wish he was a better passer, he did show decent accuracy when he passed and a sense of timing.
Harrington will be a very nice addition to the Nuggets’ offense and can be a more efficient player as long as he does not have to carry too heavy of a workload. Plus he is another player who is not afraid to take the final shot if he finds the ball in his hands. Even at his worst, he is a player that must be accounted for and can get to the foul line by attacking slower defenders.
The one thing that is missing from these video clips is a post up game. Harrington does his damage either behind the arc or at the rim after an aggressive drive. When Al and Chris Andersen are in the game together the Nuggets will have no big man with a reliable post game and that will only make the Nuggets more likely to chuck long jumpers.
With the Nuggets already a highly efficient offensive team when they have all their weapons I am not sure how much better Harrington, despite all his talents, can make them when it comes to putting the ball in the hoop. However, he will replace the scoring Denver lost when Linas Kleiza departed and then some and will make them a more explosive team which will help them win (regular season) games.
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