Maurice Harkless, the Orlando Magic’s promising small forward, is entering a big season for his future as a professional basketball player.
Harkless, still just 20-years old, certainly has time on his side, but the Magic will still be expecting him to make another jump in his second season.
It’s still unclear whether Harkless will be the starting small forward over Tobias Harris, but it’s safe to assume that he will still be playing plenty of minutes to show the organization how he’s improved and to continue his development.
As far as the impact Harkless already has on the Magic, he is another solid perimeter defender and athlete on the Magic roster. Listed at 6-foot-9, he has incredible length with a wingspan of around 7-foot-2, which really bothers his opponents on the defensive end of the floor.
Offensively, Harkless is still very much a work in progress. He’s really relying on his athleticism, with the majority of his offensive contribution coming around the rim. There were a lot of times when he seemed lost on that side of the floor due to a lack of confidence in his jumper.
During the 2013 Orlando Summer League, Harkless was impressive and showed the work he was doing in the offseason.
He definitely added some muscle to his frame, which was another crucial area he needed to develop. Additionally, he was more assertive with the ball and didn’t hesitate to shoot. Should Harkless show a more multi-dimensional skill set offensively, he has the potential to be a big player in the league.
Since the Magic are going to be looking closely at all their young players, Harkless has the chance to entrench himself as an important piece to this rebuilding project. Tobias Harris will give Harkless fierce competition, which is beneficial to everyone in the Magic organization.
Harkless isn’t going to average 20 points a game this season, but expect him to carry his offseason momentum into the 2013 season and improve his offensive effectiveness.