As the season wound to a close, the Dallas Mavericks deployed lineups with relatively obscure players as the team tried to position itself for better draft odds. To the die-hard Mavs fans, players like Kyle Collinsworth, Jameel Warney and Jalen Jones weren’t players signed out of left field, but they were certainly not household names playing NBA minutes.
However, somewhere in the middle is Aaron Harrison. Many know Harrison from his playing days at the University of Kentucky. Aaron, along with his twin brother Andrew, Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, and many other future NBA players, led the Kentucky Wildcats to an undefeated regular season, only to fall short in the tournament. And even before his college career, Aaron was a highly touted prospect coming out of high school.
After being a McDonald’s All-American and having a semi-productive college career at a premier program, it’s interesting that Harrison has yet to gain traction in the NBA. Prior to this season, Harrison played 26 games with the Charlotte Hornets but didn’t receive enough playing time to make a meaningful impact. In late March, the Mavericks signed Harrison to a 10-day contract (and would eventually sign him to a second 10-day contract) after he averaged nearly 19 points and shot 43 percent from three in 41 games with the Reno Big Horns of the NBA G-League. Dallas seemed to be his true NBA audition — a chance to leave an impression with NBA teams needing a decently sized combo guard.
In nine games with the Mavericks, Harrison played 26 minutes per night, averaged seven points and grabbed nearly three rebounds per contest. He struggled to shoot the ball, canning 28 percent of his field goal attempts and only 21 percent of his threes. In two seasons at Kentucky, Harrison shot 34 percent from deep, so the sub-30 percentage shooting in nine games is somewhat surprising.
Toward the end of the season, the Mavericks strategically gave Harrison the starting nod against the Sacramento Kings, Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns. He increased his point total each game, scoring 10, 13 and 16, respectively. In the final game of the season against the Suns, Harrison played all 48 minutes, but his best game as a Maverick came against the Magic. He played 41 minutes and scored 13 points, grabbed four rebounds, dished two assists and shot 50 percent from the field.
Harrison fulfilled two 10-day contracts with the Mavericks. He is an unrestricted free agent.
Even though Mark Cuban publicly stated the Mavericks will not be tanking next season, the fact of the matter is the team will likely miss the playoffs, meaning the end of the roster could once again be a turnstile of players looking to make a mark. Harrison is young and has good size at 6 feet 6 inches, but he’s struggled in his NBA appearances and failed to make any real impact on a bad Mavericks team. There’s always a chance Harrison could get another look, but if the Mavericks resign Seth Curry (or any shooting guard for that matter) and he, along with Wesley Matthews, stays healthy, Harrison’s path to another chance in Dallas narrows. Ultimately, Harrison’s time in Dallas is probably done.