Michigan State Basketball: Ranking 3 best current Spartans in the NBA

Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Michigan State basketball
Gary Harris, Michigan State basketball (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

3. Gary Harris, SG, Denver Nuggets

A five-star prospect from Indiana who Tom Izzo stole right out from under Purdue’s nose, Gary Harris was an incredible player for the Spartans in his brief career. He is ranked as Izzo’s eighth-highest recruit ever, according to 247Sports.

In his freshman season at MSU, Harris averaged 12.9 points per game as well as 1.3 steals per game. He shot 41 percent from 3-point range on almost five attempts per game. His best performance came in the NCAA tournament round of 32 win against Memphis when he scored a season-high 23 points, knocking down four 3-pointers. He announced later that he would return to MSU for his sophomore year.

Harris’ scoring numbers ballooned to 16.7 points per game in his second season. His best game came in a loss to Michigan when he recorded 27 points, five rebounds and three steals. After the 2013-14 season, Harris declared for the NBA draft. He was selected 19th overall by the Chicago Bulls and traded to the Denver Nuggets.

Harris has been a heavy contributor in his six seasons for the contending Nuggets.

Before the 2017-18 season, the Nuggets gave Harris a four-year, $84 million contract extension. He cashed in on the Nuggets faith in him by averaging a career-high 17.5 points per game. His career numbers don’t jump off the page, but he can blame recent injuries for that.

While he wasn’t playing up to expectations this season, the Orlando restart provides a chance for Harris to get back on track.