Have Ball, Will Travel: Devin Harris

In this installment of Have Ball, Will Travel, we’ll take a closer look at Devin Harris’ dribble-drive on the last possession of Wednesday night’s game between the Jazz and Raptors. Harris ultimately misses the shot, but the legality of this play has definite import; had Harris been called for a walk (he wasn’t), then Al Jefferson’s ensuing game-winning tip-in wouldn’t have counted. Take a look:

At full speed, there’s definitely something fishy about Harris’ footwork. However, as mentioned in the dissection of a potential Deron Williams travel, there are some who see taking another step out of a pivot as a legal play. I still don’t agree, and if we were only looking at that specific action, I’d still call it a walk.

That’s all moot. In his efforts to free up space for a shot prior to his step-through move, Harris ends up establishing his left foot as his pivot foot, lifting that pivot, and then re-planting it only to leave it again. That is a travel, and there should be no point in debate. At the 41-second mark in the video, it was a bit unclear exactly how much Harris had moved or shifted his pivot, so I included a picture-in-picture clip from another angle that shows him lift his pivot off the floor completely.

For the sake of consistency, here’s the relevant section of the traveling rule from the NBA rulebook:

“If a player, with the ball in his possession, raises his pivot foot off the floor, he must pass or shoot before his pivot foot returns to the floor.”

Case closed.

Seth Carstens