After finishing last year just under the .500 mark with a record of 24-26, this season has not gone as planned for the Erie Bayhawks. Losers of their last nine games, the Bayhawks currently sit at 11-26 which places them at the bottom of the entire NBA D-League.
This inability to build up any steam throughout the year has largely been caused by their overall ineffectiveness on offense, as evidenced by their 95.4 points per game which ranks dead last in the league and over five points behind the next closest team.
While it would be easy to chalk this up as a lost season for Erie, the D-League is naturally about more than wins and losses. Despite their losing, especially as of late, the team has allowed second-round pick Tyler Harvey to begin to flourish and really show signs that he could be a contributor at the next level.
Coming out of college where he was the focal point of an Eastern Washington team that made it to the NCAA Tournament, Harvey was going to have to make some adjustments this year if he wanted to continue his success at the professional ranks.
He typically played on the ball throughout his college career, but Erie and coach Bill Peterson have often asked to play away from it, with Keith Appling and Myck Kabongo generally running the offense. Initially, it was clear that it was going to be a bit of a transition for him, but things are really starting to click now.
Through the first three months of the season, Harvey was unable to get his shot going and struggled to find any sort of consistency. Heading into February, he was scoring 11.2 points per game on .343/.331/.769 shooting and he was hitting just 32.6% of his jump shots. In addition to that, he was struggling to finish at the rim, with a field goal percentage of only 52% on layups.
Throughout the month of February, however, Harvey has been on fire from the field. He's averaged 17.1 points per game on .443/.412/.828 shooting and he's hitting an impressive 42.7% of his jump shots. He's also been better at finishing through contact as shown by his 63.6% mark on layups.
While many could chalk it up to him just being on a hot streak, it goes much further than that. During the first portion of the season, it look at times that he was trying to force the issue too often which led to many contested shot attempts.
He'll still fall into making some of those shot attempts, but as a whole he's become more selective with when he shoots and where he shoots it from. Along with the improved shot selection, he's become much more crafty both on and off the ball and he's been able to position himself better for open looks and has used ball fakes to beat overeager defenders.
Being able to effectively use screens and assess the weaknesses of the defense in any situation is one of the major developments that a player can make throughout their rookie year and it seems as if Harvey is finally coming into his own in that regard.
After shooting 43% on nearly 10 three-point attempts per game in his final year of college, Harvey is starting to show off that effective, quick release in the NBA D-League. As he continues to get more comfortable, the level of play that he's shown throughout the month of February should become more and more common.