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Joe Harris and Brooklyn Nets Adjusting to New Routine

As Nets prepare for Orlando, workouts have a different feel

A shooter without a rim to target can get a little rusty. So it was for Joe Harris when he started back to work with individual sessions at HSS Training Center after the sudden and unusual in-season break from basketball caused by COVID-19.

A steady diet of individual sessions shook that off pretty quickly, but with the NBA’s return picking up speed, the routine is far from normal as the Nets work toward getting ready for the season’s restart in Orlando. They’ll depart from Brooklyn next Tuesday, with their first game scheduled for July 31.

“Workouts right now, it's still primarily individual stuff just typically just you with a couple of coaches and for a while it was just two guys in the gym at a time,” said Harris. “Now we have four guys in the gym at one time but everybody is designated a certain area on the court, a certain hoop on the court and there's not a lot of crossover so to me it feels like the early stages of offseason training where a majority of it is primarily focused on just doing individual work versus anything that's sort of in a team-setting, two-on-two, three-on-three, anything like that. Obviously, we'll progress to that but that's all within the guidelines and the restrictions of the NBA. They'll allow us to do a little bit more of that when we get to Orlando.”

Harris, an impending free agent, never gave much thought to passing on the chance to return to action, even in these circumstances where the Nets will play just eight more regular season games before potentially moving on to the playoffs.

“It it wasn't like it was a difficult decision for me,” said Harris. “I'm healthy. I'm going to play and finish out the season. It's obviously a different situation and circumstance given everything that's going on and the time off that we've had. But the way that I look at it is like, 'Alright, we have eight games left. This is the equivalent of Game 74 in the regular season.' I wouldn't take the last eight games off of the season just to get ready for free agency, you know? I've been lucky to be in Brooklyn the whole time, where we're working out relatively hard, where it's not going to be such a shock to the body to turn around and start ramping things up in Orlando and be ready for some of these games."

Harris returns to play with a career-high average of 13.9 points per game, plus 4.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He’s shooting 41.2 percent from 3-point range, on pace to top 40 percent from beyond the arc for the third straight season.

"Obviously, it is a very unusual situation for everyone,” said Harris. “Hopefully we never have to deal with something like this ever again. But you just have to make the most of the situation. Whether people want to look back and give it an asterisk or not, I don't really know if that matters. Obviously, we're trying to go forward in a healthy way, a safe way. There's a lot of unknowns even leading up to it, though, too. Who knows what happens when we're actually all down there? Hopefully we can finish out the season.

“I know across the league, the sentiment with a lot of guys is just excitement to get back going, to get back playing. However it finishes it up for us, I don't think there'll be an asterisk in our book. Obviously, we're competing. Hopefully we can finish out the year right. There's eight games to swing some momentum, get some things going in a positive direction, and then hopefully we get an opportunity to compete in the playoffs."

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