Maurice Harkless‘ rookie season with the Orlando Magic was perhaps better than expected. But the Magic will take whatever he was able to give, which was plenty, and is hoping Harkless can add to the nucleus the Magic are putting together to get back to the playoffs after missing the postseason this year and posting the worst record in the NBA.
For the season, Harkless notched 8.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.
Harkless added 26 minutes per game to his file. He shot 46.1 percent from the floor, but he needs to improve on his 3-point shooting which was 27.4 percent and on free throws which was 57 percent. Not being a good free-throw shooter will probably mean Harkless won’t be playing down the stretch very often when games are on the line. Players that can’t shoot 70 percent or better will hurt their teams in close games in the final moments.
What’s encouraging for Harkless’ career is that he ended the season with a credible number of minutes.
In the final game of the year against the Miami Heat, he was 5-of-14 from the floor but 0-of-4 in both 3-point and free throws for 10 points in 43 minutes of action.
The previous game, he saw 41 minutes against the Bulls and shot 6-of-12 from the floor for 16 points and five rebounds. The game before that against the Boston Celtics, he was 5-of-14 from the floor in 36 minutes of action and was able to get 12 points and four rebounds.
What Harkless especially showed to Magic coaches is that he can sustain a credible number of minutes. He got that opportunity when Orlando’s roster was depleted with injuries, but he handled himself well.