In his previous diary entry, Mavericks 21-year-old point guard Devin Harris wrote about his early struggles and of riding the bench for the first time in his career.
IT DIDN'T didn't take me long to adjust to Dallas because I've surrounded myself with friends and family and developed a routine. When I first moved here, I would just drive around getting lost and eventually finding my way back home. A family friend set me up in a new town house downtown that's three floors and about the size of the house I grew up in. I never had a lot of money, so being able to afford basically anything I want is a great feeling. [ Harris signed a three-year, $7 million contract.] But I don't take it for granted. Every time I get in my car to drive to practice, I think of how blessed I am and how hard I have to work to stay in the NBA.
Last month my parents moved to Addison, a suburb 12 miles north of Dallas. Having them around has been fantastic. They come to every home game, and my mom, Julie, takes care of everything around my house from my laundry to walking my rottweiler. She also makes sure I get good home-cooked meals (I love her breakfast potatoes). My dad, Terry, is retired and takes care of my finances. I like to keep my friends in a tight circle, and a few of my boys from back home in Milwaukee fly down every so often and we hang out and hit the clubs.
As much as I like Dallas, traveling with the team has been amazing. We have our own jet! It's unreal. It has a seat with my name on it, and I get my own TV. Getting to visit a lot of different cities has been great. If we have an off-day on the road, I'll wake up around 8:30 a.m. and order room service before heading to practice. After that I'll usually bounce around the city with Josh Howard and Marquis Daniels, my two best friends on the team. Sometimes, on game days, I just need to take a nap because we might not get into a city until two or three in the morning and have to get up and play that day.
I'm still adapting to being a point guard in the NBA. The toughest part has been trying to direct an offense of grown men who are bigger and more experienced than me. But slowly I'm getting more comfortable, and I'm earning their respect. This is a big stretch for us. [The Mavericks are 27--12, and Harris is averaging 5.9 points in 16.6 minutes.] Coach Nelson had rotator cuff surgery and is going to be out for at least two weeks, and [assistant] Avery Johnson has taken over. Being a former point guard, Avery has been a tremendous help to me, telling me to use both of my hands and playing me one-on-one in practice. (I usually beat him but sometimes I have to let him win because he's the coach.) Of course he's also harder on me than he is on most of the other guys. I know he will do well as a coach, and I hope I'll be able to continue to improve while he's running the show.