Joe Harris' entire rookie season amounted to a total of 493 minutes across 51 games including one start. He attempted 120 total shots, racked up 31 DNPs and averaged a paltry 2.7 minutes per game.
Harris, as many rookies do, also spent time in the D-League. In 11 games with the Canton Charge, Harris played 347 minutes, took 133 shots and averaged 14.1 points per game. In Canton, Harris actually played basketball.
This was a predictable outcome, as rarely do second round picks with one NBA-ready skill - in Harris' case, it's shooting - play on a team with legit title aspirations. But it also means that Harris' rookie season won't be fully understood until a point in the future, if ever.
Harris, while not seeing much game time, had the benefit of learning from veterans who this year and in the past filled the role the Cavs may need Harris to fill in two or three years time. This is to say that we can't necessarily gauge what Harris learned from Mike Miller about spotting up on the perimeter for LeBron James passes, what little defensive tricks he picked up from Shawn Marion or what shooting tips he picked up from James Jones. And maybe he picked up a few tricks from J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert as well as well.
This doesn't even speak to the playoff run Harris has witnessed first hand. He isn't playing, but there has to be some value in Harris spending his rookie season understanding the pressures and nuances of playing for a championship level team.
In two or three years time, we'll have a better idea of what Harris' learned from the Cavs' current group of vets. By then, Miller, Marion and Jones will all likely be retired - Marion already is - and the Cavs will be at a point where they'll need to see what Harris can do with actual playing time.
Ideally, Harris will have picked up little things throughout this season that he can apply to his own game. In a perfect world where the Cavs don't use him to match salary to acquire someone else, Harris will be able play some minutes sometime next year as needed and perhaps be a member of the pre-playoffs rotation on certain nights. In a worst case scenario where Shumpert and or Matthew Dellavedova aren't back, Harris could be the fourth or fifth guard next season. It seems more likely that an opportunity, if it comes, might come the season after next.
In any scenario, it helps that what Harris' ability and potential as a shooter fits perfectly into the Cavs' ethos. With LeBron, the Cavs prioritize and highly value shooters and spacing. The best-case scenario for Harris' career is that he becomes a rotation quality three-and-d player that largely gets the ball on secondary action or as a safety valve.
Between now and whenever his chance arrives, Harris will probably spend more time in Canton. He'll again shoot the ball more there and just flat out play more. He'll get the reps needed while making appearances on the Cavs bench and playing in garbage time when Cleveland finds itself 20 points in the fourth against the league's worst.
But soon after, at some point, we'll be able to understand Harris' rookie season. At least that's the idea.