For the first 251 games of his career, Devin Harris was on his way to being the star point guard for the Dallas Mavericks, but after a disappointing ending to the 2006 NBA Finals, Mark Cuban elected to trade Harris for Jason Kidd during the 2008 all-star break.
Kidd won an NBA title with the Mavericks three years later, while Harris moved from New Jersey to Utah to Atlanta.
Harris signed a three-year deal this past offseason, but the deal wasn’t finalized because Harris failed his first physical due to a toe injury. He finally passed the exam, but has missed the entire season thus far.
Dallas came off a victory in Phoenix on Jan. 17 110-107 before returning home to face the Portland Trail Blazers. Monta Ellis led four players with at least 16 points with 24. Dirk Nowitzki added 21 while Shawn Marion had 16. Rookie Shane Larkin scored a career-high 18 points, who played for most of the second half because Jose Calderon suffered a right knee contusion.
Nowitzki led the Mavs with 18 points against the Blazers, while Harris played 17 minutes, scoring six points and dishing out two assists, but the Blazers manhandled Dallas, going up as much as 36 points and winning 127-111 for their fifth straight victory.
Portland outrebounded the Mavs 55-30, and had 11 more assists. Lamarcus Aldridge had a game-high 30 points.
There’s no argument that the Mavs’ strength after Nowitzki is guard play. With Calderon and Ellis being offensive-first guards, Harris can bring that defense and quickness that fans would like to see. There’s also room for any matchup that Rick Carlisle can throw out. Larkin-Harris, Harris-Ellis, or even a smaller lineup in all three guards out at once.
The Mavs are 24-18, and prior to the season, we predicted that Dallas would be 29-19 at month’s end. They’ll have to go at least 5-1 to do so.
Dallas is now a three-game road trip, playing the Cavs on Jan. 20, followed by the Raptors and Nets before finishing January out with three at home.