Lakers see Elias Harris as a small forward; think he can become a defensive stopper


The Lakers officially signed Elias Harris earlier this month, a rookie who went undrafted in June and isn’t all that much of a big name among NBA fans.

However, Harris impressed Lakers brass during the Summer League and ultimately landed a deal with the club.

Lakers player development coach Mark Madsen recently sat down with Mike Trudell of and spoke about Harris’ qualities as a player. Madsen revealed that the Lakers view Harris as a three who can also develop into a defensive stopper:

[pullquote]MT: What’s his best position?

Madsen: I think right now his best position is the three. To guard twos at the NBA level, there’s still a learning curve there, but he does have the capacity to do it. That process just isn’t going to happen overnight. You have to win the trust of the officials and familiarize yourself with the NBA.

MT: L.A.’s head advanced pro scout Clay Moser told me that Harris has “great size for his position, a good overall game, and needs to develop a specialty whether it’s the corner three or a dribble drive. Your thoughts on what he can do to really carve out a role?

Madsen: The NBA is a league of specialists and I think Elias could have a number of them. There’s no question in my mind that he can be a defensive stopper. He’s already proven the ability to get out in transition and finish on the break. He can also play the half court game and wear someone down with his size and strength. And as he continues to hone that three-point shot, that can be really big for him.[/pullquote]

Madsen also goes onto say that Harris should be able to play the two, three and four due to his versatility, though it appears that the small forward position is his strongest right now.

It seems that Harris definitely has the athleticism and work ethic to make it in the NBA; he’ll likely need to develop an outside shot in order to see consistent minutes, though his ability to bang down low and rebound could see him get court time at the power forward, too.

Written by Ross Pickering

Ross Pickering is the founder of He's here to bring you daily updates on your Los Angeles Lakers, despite living 5,485 miles away from L.A. in England. You can follow him on Twitter: @RossPickering