Mavs From the Past: Lucious Harris

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Lucious Harris was a helpful guard off the bench for most of his career and continued his helpfulness even after his playing days ended.

College Years

Harris attended California State University Long Beach, and played on the basketball team all four years. In his first year on the team he averaged 14.3 points per game (PPG), 4.8 rebounds per game (RPG), 1.6 assists per game (APG), and 1.5 steals per game (SPG) while playing in all 32 games. A 23-9 record and a fourth-place finish in the Big West Conference prevented the team from making the NCAA tournament.

The following season Harris’ stats improved as he averaged 19.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 1.7 SPG while taking part in all 28 games for the season. However, the team failed to make the NCAA tournament again after finishing 11-17 and sixth in the Big West Conference.

In his junior year, Harris continued to contribute to the team’s success as he averaged 18.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.2 APG, and 1.5 SPG for the season while participating in all 30 games. The team went 18-12 for the season, finishing fourth in the Big West Conference and missing the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive year since Harris joined the team. Harris was named onto the All-Big West first-team.

In Harris’ senior year both he and the team saw major improvement. He averaged 23.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 1.8 SPG while starting in 31 out of the 32 games. The team went 22-10, finished fourth in the Big West Conference, and made the NCAA tournament as the No. 11 seed in the West Region. CSULB was swiftly eliminated in the first round of the tournament by the No. 6 seed, University of Illinois. For the second year in a row, Harris’ hard work was recognized with a spot on the All-Big West first-team.

Harris currently holds the school’s single-season scoring record with 739 points during the 1992-93 season. In his four seasons there, he made 549 free throws, the most in team history. He is also the school’s all-time leading scorer, having scored 2,312 points.

Welcome to the NBA

Harris was selected 28th overall by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1993 NBA Draft. He was used as a reserve in his first season as he came off the bench in all 77 games he played. He averaged 5.4 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 1.4 APG, and 0.6 SPG in his first year in the league.

Harris’ role on the team improved in his second season as he played in 79 games and was a starter in 31 of them. The shooting guard averaged 9.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.7 APG, and 0.7 SPG, an improvement in all aspects of his game.

In his third season in Dallas, he went back primarily to being a bench player as he started in only 1 of the 61 games he played. He still managed to average 7.9 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 1.3 APG, and 0.6 SPG, which was still an improvement from his rookie season when he also came off the bench. Harris was put out of action for a month in early January due to a broken left wrist. Even though Harris seemed to be putting up consistently good numbers off the bench his time in Dallas came to an end pretty fast. The Mavericks released him on July 17, 1996, to clear cap space for free agency.

The Best of Times and the Worst of Times

Six days later Harris signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia 76ers. In his one season there, he averaged the lowest points per game and rebounds per game of his entire career. The following offseason the 76ers traded him to the New Jersey Nets.

Harris spent seven seasons in New Jersey. He had the best of his career during the 2002-03 season when he averaged 10.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, and 0.7 SPG. As a member of New Jersey’s bench during those seven years, they made four playoff appearances in 1998, 2002, 2003, and 2004 and reached the NBA Finals in back-to-back years, 2002 and 2003. The Nets waived him during the 2004 offseason.

In the same offseason, Harris signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers as a free agent. During his time with the team, he played 73 games, often playing as a helpful bench player while the starters took a rest. The Cavaliers released him during the offseason to make space for free agents. Harris called it a career in 2005.

Legacy

Harris was entered into the Long Beach State Hall of Fame in 1999 and his No. 30 jersey was retired by his alma mater in 2007.

Harris had a successful college career having made two All-Big West first-teams, broke school records, and was honored by his alma mater. Over the course of his NBA career, he was a consistent player who brought what was needed to the table and helped his team in any way possible. He was rewarded for the hard work and team player attitude he had when his team made two NBA Finals.



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