Chris Grant may not have had any draft selections at his disposal this past spring, but the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers will likely head into the regular season with three rookies on their 15-man roster.
Joining the athletic Christian Eyenga and undrafted Samardo Samuels will reportedly be another undrafted rookie in Manny Harris who, as a league source tells WFNY, has all but locked up the 15th roster spot on the Cavs, edging out last season’s second-round draft pick Danny Green.
Harris, out of Michigan, has earned the praise of new head coach Byron Scott through much of the preseason due to his work ethic on the defensive end and his scorers mentality with the ball in his hands. While he may not be the most talented member of the backcourt, Scott allegedly appreciates Harris’ willingness to drive to the rim – most notably seen in his crunch-time barrage of scoring against Dallas last week.
In his second season with the Wolverines, Harris averaged 18.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists with a free throw percentage of 80.0. Though very athletic and an above average defender – often playing the small forward spot in Michigan’s zone defense – Harris was criticized for his inconsistency and tendency to settle for the three-point shot. When focused, Harris has shown flashes of brilliance, hitting nearly 50 percent of his two-point field goals in what was his sophomore season.
At 6-feet-5-inches, Harris instantly provides Scott with his tallest member of the backcourt; Ramon Sessions being listed at 6-foot-3 is the tallest of the Sessions/Mo Williams/Daniel Gibson triumvirate. In an average of 19.6 minutes per game through the preseason, Harris has provided 9.8 points on 50 percent shooting along with 3.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals. His efficiency has not required high volume (57.1 percent from the three-point line), showing that Harris could provide a boost off of the bench if needed.
Though many had hoped that Green would progress in his second season with the Cavaliers, the UNC product has seemingly taken a step backward by shooting 37.5 percent from the floor through 14 minutes per game. Alas, Green has averaged 3.3 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.2 turnovers (including three turnovers in 19 minutes against the Washington Wizards) per game and has the only fully unguaranteed contract on the current roster. The 46th-overall selection in 2009, Green was considered to be an NBA-ready role player who would not require the ball to be effective. Unfortunately, if he is passed over in favor of Harris, he will be forced to work on his game elsewhere.
It is believed that Green, if waived, will test the waters overseas – no pun intended – given the uncertainty of the NBA beyond the 2010-11 season. While a one-year deal that may or may not result in D-League play is always an option, Green would benefit financially from a multi-year contract with a team in Europe (reportedly Spain) that will not fall victim to any domestic Collective Bargaining Agreement issues. As it stands, Green would be due $125,000 if he made the Cavaliers 15-man roster.
Playing in 20 games last season, Green averaged nearly six minutes per contest, providing 2.0 points, 0.9 rebounds and 0.3 assists. Barring an injury or an abrupt change of heart from the Cavaliers front office, Green will reportedly be released from the team by the October 25th deadline.
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)