One Net embodies the team’s blue-collar work ethic

Aug 08, 2018 | by Brian Lewis, New York Post

The Nets pride themselves on their player development, and Spencer Dinwiddie is the most talked-about example. But if there’s a player who encapsulates their whole blue-collar ethos, it’s Joe Harris.

“Joe really epitomizes what we’re all about here, and the hard work he’s put in,” said Nets general manager Sean Marks, who has hoarded 2019 cap space, but had no problem cutting into it to retain Harris with a two-year, $16 million deal.

“I remember seeing him the day after he had signed the deal and he was walking across the parking lot, baseball cap on, earphones in and high-fiving workers. And that’s Joe: That’s who he is. I was very proud witnessing that. I was in the car driving by and I [thought] we made the right decision.”

The Virginia grad has become a real Brooklynite. He has ditched his car, walks to Barclays Center for games, and takes an Uber or the subway to HSS Training Center for practice.

Harris’ work ethic there hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“He works as hard as any teammate I’ve ever had,” Rondae Hollis-Jefferson told The Post.

“Obviously it makes me feel great [to hear that praise],” Harris said Tuesday at a Nets youth camp. “But I know what I’ve tried to bring to the team. I’m not going to be this guy that is going out every night and being this real dominant player. I try to fit into a very specific skill set.”

Harris’ specific set of skills features shooting. Harris hit a career-best 41.9 percent from 3-point range last season, but also improved his driving and his defense. He earned longer-term offers elsewhere, but left money on the table to stay with a Nets team he said will be much-improved this season.

“You get a guy like Joe who could’ve gone elsewhere for more money,” Marks said last week in a conference call. “That makes us feel special that a guy is saying I appreciate what you guys have done, but I want to come back here and help you build this, not give up on Brooklyn. He’s here and he wants to be a part of it.”

Harris has much to appreciate. The Nets plucked him off the NBA’s scrap heap after he had season-ending foot surgery, was traded from Cleveland to Orlando and then waived by the Magic, all on Jan. 12, 2016.

“The league is not a forgiving place. It’s ultimately a business,” said Harris, which is why re-signing with the Nets wasn’t sentimentality, but practicality. He already has invested sweat equity, and was unsure if he would continue to develop as quickly elsewhere. “I could’ve got a longer deal. But I talked about the relationship I had with Sean, with [coach] Kenny [Atkinson], with all my teammates.

“Everybody knows what you’re about and what you bring. It’s hard to duplicate that. It takes a lot of time. … If you go somewhere else it’s difficult. You’re not going to get that instantly. Then factor in I have comfort with the system. I just felt like although it was a two-year deal versus a longer deal this was the best case for me.”

The Nets have shown interest in free-agent guard Mario Chalmers, according to ESPN’s The Undefeated.

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