Orlando Magic forward Moe Harkless had his best game of the young season on Friday night against the New Orleans Pelicans, with 20 points (2-for-4 on three-pointers) with eight rebounds and two steals over 27 minutes. With Tobias Harris expected to be sidelined for multiple weeks with an ankle injury, Harkless seems to have an unabated path to playing time at small forward in the near-term. Should fantasy basketball owners consider adding him?
Harkless played 76 games, starting 59, for the Magic last season and he averaged 8.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game over 26 minutes per contest. He finished his rookie season strongly though, starting each of his final 39 games and averaging 12.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.7 steals and just under an assist and a blocked shot per game over that span.
Harkless reportedly added weight and strength during the offseason, which should be good news for his ability to absorb contact and finish around the rim. His shooting was dismal last season (27.4 percent from three-point range, 57 percent from the free-throw line), but he has made four of his first seven three-point attempts this season and that creates hope for improvement as the season goes on even with that very small sample size.
Harkless should at least continue to start while Harris is out, and as long as he does not turn the ball over like he did Friday night (six times) very often he should see plenty of playing time. I don’t think he’ll be a standout fantasy contributor in any single category on a consistent basis, but Harkless has shown he can contribute some in multiple categories and that in itself is valuable as long as his shooting percentages don’t drag down his value a lot.
Harkless is currently available in close to half of Yahoo! leagues, and he could become a popular waiver wire addition over the next few weeks if he can show some consistency and fill the stat sheet on a game-by-game basis. Owners in deeper leagues with a roster spot they’d like to upgrade can consider adding him now.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.