Manny Harris has a reputation as a scorer; the “Michigan Mamba,’’ they used to call him when he first started tearing up the D-League.
But now, at 27, he’s much more than that — and starting on Tuesday, as DallasBasketball.com learned that a Dallas Mavericks 10-day contract was in the offing, we've discussed with Manny a chance for him to demonstrate just that.
“The Mavs are winning right now … I keep an eye on them … and I’ll do anything I can to help them keep winning,’’ Harris told me late Tuesday night as Dallas’ 10-days with Quinn Cook and Ben Bentil were about to expire.
An Thursday morning?
He's here to help.
Mavs GM Donnie Nelson told me that these 10-day set-ups might be of the “musical chairs’’ variety, and it’s now Harris’ turn. (And one more D-Leaguer’s, too. Jarrod Uthoff, a forward who was an All-America at Iowa, where he averaged 18.9 points and 6.3 rebounds, went undrafted, failed to make the Raptors, struggled a bit with their D-League team but then came on with Fort Wayne, the 6-9 forward giving them 17.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per.)
Uthoff is new to all of this. Harris is not.
As Texas Legends coach Bob McKinnon tells me, “Manny is the best two-way perimeter player in the D-League.’’
Nelson and the Mavs know this. Nelson is both the Mavs GM and the Legends owner. The Legends are the “little brother’’ affiliate of the Mavs, playing just 18 minutes up the road in Frisco. Harris, in other words, is no secret.
Harris, a 6-5 guard out of Michigan, had a cup of coffee a few years ago with Cleveland and with the Lakers. He made 89 appearances in the NBA. But he’s forged a gigantic reputation in the D-League, where Harris averages 26.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and four assists a game. He’s dangerous from the arc, he’s a creator and distributor, and he’s a defender.
He’s not a point guard by trade, one of the reasons Cook, Pierre Jackson and now Mavs keeper Yogi Ferrell all got the call-ups before him. (Dallas has had needs there due to injuries to vets like JJ Barea, who is about to return).
The call-up might mean the death knell to the Legends’ hopes of making the playoffs; they will be hard-pressed to do it without their best player. Harris has handled his ups and down with class, and the Legends have benefited … and now the Mavs might benefit, too.
"I so appreciate,'' Manny told me, "all the people who have been supportive of me along this journey.''
A journey that is taking him 18 minutes down the highway … and up to the NBA.