Joe Harris' Summer League Blog II
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images
Hey, Cavalier fans. It’s Joe Harris, checking in with my second Summer League blog from Vegas.
It’s been a great week-and-a-half out here with the guys, and obviously the team’s been successful both on and off the court. Before we ever played a game out here, we got some great news when we heard about LeBron. I’m still trying to process it.
It was pretty funny, because we were in shootaround when it happened. And Coach Blatt didn’t really tell us – he just kind of made a little comment at the end that we had some good news. And we were like: ‘OK, he’s just trying to mess with us.’ But after practice, when you get back to your phone, it’s like bigger than Draft night. I had 200-some messages and everybody’s just blowing you up!
It’s pretty cool, though. Obviously, it’s very exciting and it’s unbelievable for the organization. And it’s a complete turnaround just to add one guy like that – it makes you a Championship contender.
And we really lucked out – Andrew (Wiggins), Dwight (Powell) and I – the rookie guys who got brought in here, and now we’re a Championship-contending team. Obviously, we’re very accepting of all of our roles and everything that will come with it, but the opportunity to play with the best player in the world is beyond exciting.
Coming to Cleveland at a time like this with the Class of 2014 has been really cool. Of course, Andrew has gotten a lot of attention and deservedly so.
Everybody’s always asking me: ‘How’s Andrew? What’s he like?’ He’s a little bit more reserved and he’s just a real down-to-earth kind of guy. I think the guy’s got more hype, from a basketball standpoint, since maybe LeBron. But he’s the most down-to-earth person you can imagine, and he’s really fun to be around.
I was fortunate – I went out to Cleveland right after the Draft and Andrew and I were out there together and we were just working out a lot. And he’s just really low-key; he likes to keep to himself. But he’s a really, really good guy. I feel like we formed a little bit of a bond – just being the two guys that the Cavs brought in on Draft night.
Individually, I’m just trying to get in a good rhythm out here – in practice and games. I’m in no rush to try to get in a ton of shots or anything like that. The team’s having a lot of success; we’re playing really well together. It’s a fun group of guys to play with. And obviously, it’s a lot more fun when you’re winning. But more importantly, I feel like we’re playing the right way. We’ve been sharing the basketball, playing together well defensively. And that’s the way I like to play, regardless of whether you’re scoring points or whatever it is.
I don’t ever force anything. I feel like I take a lot of pride in the patience that I play with. I feel like I play with good poise and I know when to take my shot – and when I do, I have a lot of confidence. But I’m not going to try to force anything or disrupt anything in the offense, especially with Coach Blatt and the offense that we run.
We value every single possession very similarly to how I played at Virginia. So I take my opportunities when they’re there, but I don’t ever try to force anything or rush.
Right now, the whole team is having success because we’ve been playing really well together and because we’ve been playing great defense – great team defense.
I think we’ve really bought in to what Coach Blatt and his staff have tried to instill in us. It’s been a little tough because we’ve had limited practices, but we’ve gotten a good grasp on everything that he’s been asking us to do. And I think we’ve done a really good job of executing. We’ve done a really good job of sharing the basketball – having a very balanced scoring attack.
And again, it all comes down to the fact that you’re not going to win many games if you don’t play defense. And I think we’ve done a solid job on that end.
Between practices and games, there hasn’t been a ton of free time out here in Vegas.
I briefly caught a little bit of the MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday night. I wish I had watched more, just because I wanted to see Jeter’s last All-Star Game. I missed the beginning, but I heard that the recognition that he got was pretty cool. And then he went 2-for-2, so he did well.
And as a Washington state guy, I was pulling for the American League and they got the win. I think ever since the game has started meaning something, they’re 9-3 or something like that.
I did get to have an interesting dinner on Tuesday night, and that was cool.
When I tweaked my ankle last week, I worked with (Physical Trainer) George Sibel quite a bit. And he’s a total “foodie.” And so, he was pretty excited when I told him where I’ve been eating the last few days.
So we went to one of the spots on the TV show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” called Bachi Burger. It’s a burger place, obviously, but it’s like Asian-fusion. It’s all these original types of burgers, but they have a lot of other stuff on the menu, too. We had these shishito peppers and it was really good. It’s a really cool spot. Next time you’re in Vegas, you should check it out.
And now it’s time for me to check out and get some rest for the weekend. The tournament starts for us on Thursday night – and we want to win the whole thing. We came this far, let’s finish it off.