Most Gonzaga fans were not very surprised that deputy commissioner Adam Silver did not announce former Gonzaga Bulldog Elias Harris’s name on Thursday night. Harris was a fringe 2nd round prospect, and many teams like to draft foreign players, and wait for that player to develop knowing that they will stay overseas, because they simply do not have room on their roster. This cruel reality found Harris on the outside looking in of the 60 person draft class.
Despite having one of the most productive careers in Gonzaga history, Harris found himself team-less after the conclusion of the 2013 NBA draft. However, like many expected, Harris was picked up by an NBA team the following day, and the Los Angeles Lakers turned out to be Harris’s suitor.
When this news broke, the first thing that came to my mind is that Harris would join former front court mate Robert Sacre on the Lakers. Harris and Sacre manned the Zags front-court for three years before Sacre graduated and moved on to the NBA. This is a reunion that I am looking forward to see, and I imagine many other Gonzaga fans do as well.
Currently, the Lakers do not have a great deal of forwards on their roster for Harris to compete with. Metta World Peace, Earl Clark, Antwan Jamison, and Devin Ebanks were the only 3 or 4 men on their roster last season. Jamison, Ebanks, and Clark all are free-agents this off-season, and
Ron Artest Metta World Peace has a player option. Although the Lakers picked Duke Power Forward Ryan Kelly in the second round of the draft, the Lakers will likely be thin on forwards for next season. Based on this, it looks like Harris has a decent shot of making the Los Angeles Lakers regular season roster for the 2013-2014 season.
However, I don’t believe the Lakers are the greatest fit for Harris, based on the style of play that coach Mike D’Antoni has instilled in Los Angeles. D’Antoni’s uptempo style works extremely well when the wings can run the floor and shoot three’s. Harris can run the floor, but he is not the best shooter out there. Unless Harris can work on his shooting, it might be hard for Harris to find his niche on this team with D’Antoni as the coach.
Pessimism aside, Harris finding a gig on an NBA squad for the summer was awesome for the former Bulldog. Harris was predicted to be a first round pick after his freshman year, but he decided to come back to school, passing on a fat contact and his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA. Personally I am glad that Harris was rewarded for being a true Zag and staying in Spokane for all three years. Harris exemplifies what a Gonzaga player should be; loyal, humble, and committed to the name on the front of the jersey.