Thursday, March 7, 2013
Moe Harkless' huge upside
By Joe Kaiser
Tobias Harris' emergence since coming to Orlando has received so much attention that it's easy to overlook how well the Magic's other rookie forward, Moe Harkless, has been playing over the past two weeks. At 19, the young swingman out of St. John's is starting to look like a big part of the Magic's future.
The 6-foot-8, 210-pound Harkless is being counted on for big minutes -- huge minutes in fact -- ever since the end of January. But it wasn't until Orlando's Feb. 19 game with Charlotte that the lights really seemed to go on. Since that night, Harkless has scored in double-digits in 10 straight games, also chipping in with 5.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.
Even more impressive, though, is the efficiency he's shown as a scorer. He's shot over 50 percent from the field in five of his last six games, and is connecting at a 60 percent clip in four games this month. For the season, he's just under 49 percent, a very impressive number for someone at his position who played only one year of college ball.
Whether Harkless becomes a star remains to be seen, but his rise coupled with what Harris has shown certainly could force the Magic to shuffle their roster. If the team views Harris as someone who can play power forward, for example, that could make Glen Davis (two years remaining on his contract) expendable. Al Harrington also has two years left on his deal, and like Davis, may not be much of a fit on this team going forward. Harrington isn't as tradeable, though, one would certainly think.
But with Harkless, Harris and second-year center Nikola Vucevic, the Magic suddenly have quite the nucleus to work around. Add in Arron Afflalo, who is under contract for two more years with an option for a third, and it's clear as day that point guard is the one position the Magic will look to address over the summer. With a possible Top 3 pick, Oklahoma's Marcus Smart could be the perfect fit and the last piece of the puzzle on what's rapidly becoming one of the league's most interesting rosters.