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NBA Rookie Week: Aaron Harrison is working to establish himself in the NBA

Former Kentucky Wildcats star has had a more challenging path to the NBA and still has a way to go. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

It can't be easy for a player like Aaron Harrison. After all, Harrison was among the top players of the 2013 high school class along with Julius Randle, Andrew Wiggins, and Jabari Parker. That led Harrison to Kentucky where he started all 40 games for the Wildcats. Coming into his sophomore year, Harrison was even named preseason SEC Player of the Year.

Unfortunately, that didn't equate to high draft stock as Harrison went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft. Nonetheless, Harrison found his way onto the Charlotte Hornets summer league team. Impressively enough, Harrison earned his keep and a roster spot going into the 2015-'16 season.

Harrison had already accomplished the hard part of landing on an NBA team. The next challenge for Harrison will be to see more of the court. This season, Harrison has played just 69 minutes over 16 games, which is unsurprising. Teams in playoff position rarely trust rookies. Playing on a team that has been stocked with experienced two-guards certainly hasn't helped Harrison's case.

This means that Harrison is either the White Flag of Surrender or the Human Victory Cigar. These minutes are hardly strong developmental minutes as it means most of his time comes in garbage time. Playing time is always helpful, but when it's so sporadic (especially for a player accustomed to a featured role) it's hard to glean much from a sample like that. It's not the same as getting repetitions closing games out as the games have often been decided long before Harrison checks in.

Harrison did see four games in the NBADL with the Oklahoma City Blue. The results weren't incredibly encouraging since other young players have gone there and thrived. Averaging 18.3 minutes per game, Harrison put up 9.3 points, 1.8 assists, and 2.3 rebounds per game on 30.8 percent.

Considering Harrison hasn't shot well in the NBA, his NBADL production isn't exactly highly-encouraging. According to a lot of pre-draft stuff, Harrison was always lauded more for his basketball I.Q., size, strength, and ability to finish inside rather than his outside shooting. Becoming a more consistent shooter is going to be crucial given the importance placed on the skill in today's league. If he can't become that, then he's going to have to justify a roster spot by using his 6'6, 210-pound frame to become a lockdown defender.

Not every NBA journey is identical. Sometimes you're a lottery pick and given a starting job from day one. For most, the journey often entails cutting your teeth to establish yourself in this league. The latter may be the route that Harrison is going to have to take, but there is no right or wrong answer as long as you get there.