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NBA PM: Moe Harkless Offers More Than Athleticism
Posted By Alex Raskin On June 22, 2012 @ 4:59 pm In All,Main Page,NBA Draft | No Comments
Former St. John’s forward Moe Harkess is a bit of an enigma. At 6-8, 207 pounds, he’s built like a small forward, but has traits of power forwards and shooting guards as well. And while many are describing him as an athlete first, basketball player second, one experienced set of eyes sees something much, much more.
HSBI Report editor Tom Konchalski has been scouting high school players primarily in the New York City area for nearly 40 years. And if you want an expert, unbiased opinion on any player, there’s no better resource than Konchalski, who has witnessed some of the greatest players ever develop at the high school level.
“I disagree with the conventional wisdom about him,” Konchalski told HOOPSWORLD of Harkless, who made only 20.2 percent of his 3-point attempts in his only season at St. John’s. “Even though he didn’t shoot well from three this past year, he really has guard skills. He can handle the ball, he can shoot from the perimeter. He just didn’t shoot well from the perimeter this past year at St. John’s.
“But I really think the conventional wisdom about him is all wrong,” Konchalski continued. “People say he’s not really a skilled player. He’s extremely skilled, even though he didn’t shoot he three well this past year. But I think down the road I think he’s going to be a terrific player and he’s a kid of high character.”
Harkless, who has been projected to go anywhere from the late lottery to the latter part of the first round, may have had a disadvantage on the perimeter. Even though his build suggests he’s more of a perimeter player, Harkless played power forward at St. John’s, which meant he had taller players guarding him than he would otherwise be faced with.
The good news is that Harkless still hit over 50 percent of his 2-point field goals because of his ability to get to the hoop, and once he establishes that part of his game, the perimeter shot will follow.
“He benefitted somewhat from the fact that he was played out of position,” Konchalski said. “They had to play him out of necessity as a four man and he proved a very tough matchup for the guys that he played against in the Big East. He was quicker than them.
“He really has a terrific touch and he was played out of position and he had a good season, but I think some of that is misleading because he was being guarded by bigger guys who didn’t have the quickness to really guard him. He was a tough matchup for them.”
Harkless might be too quick for everyone. The Queens native jumped 37 inches at the Chicago pre-draft combine and he ran the ¾-court sprint in 3.25 seconds while posting a mark of 10.64 seconds in the lane agility drill.
If there was any issue for Harkless in Chicago it was that he only managed five bench-press reps of 185 pounds.
“I think, in the NBA, he’s got to get stronger and tougher,” Konchalski said. “I think he has tremendous upside. Down the road he can be a really, really good NBA player. I think it’s going to be a bit of an adjustment physically, in terms of how hard he’s got to play and how he can’t take plays off. He’s got to play every possession. I think that’s going to be a bit of an adjustment for him.”
Outside of his perimeter shooting, Harkless’ stat line is nearly impeccable. He made 44.5 percent of his field goals to score 15.3 points per game as a freshman. He also registered 8.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks per game, which speaks to his versatility.
He’s still only 19, so there is going to be a learning curve. But when Harkless does figure out the NBA game, you may end up wishing he were on your favorite team.
“In the NBA, when he plays against 3-men, with his athleticism, and his quickness, initially he may struggle some,” Konchalski said. “But eventually I think he’ll be a terrific player and he’s a really, really good kid.”
Keep an eye on: Doron Lamb
Kentucky sophomore Doron Lamb is generating a ton of excitement, but along with Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins, he would be a terrific fit for the Chicago Bulls, who own the 29th overall pick in the first round.
Lamb is known as a shooter, but there’s more to his game than just that. Yes, he made 46.6 percent of his 3-point attempts last season, but he’s also someone who can create his own shot off the dribble.
“Lamb is intriguing because he can shoot the heck out of the ball,” NBA collegiate scouting director Ryan Blake told HOOPSWORLD. “How is he going to be on his own? How is he going to create for himself? He’s got a mid-range game and can shoot it from deep.”
Blake insists the biggest question Lamb is whether he’ll be able to defend NBA shooting guards at just 6-4, but Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has hidden poor defensive players before. And considering that the Bulls made only 6.3 3-pointers per game this season (17th in the NBA), Lamb’s shooting would certainly be welcome.
NBA to appeal arbitrator’s decision on Bird rights for waived players
As HOOPSWORLD’s Tommy Beer mentioned, independent arbitrator Kenneth Dam has sided with the players’ union and ruled that waived players should be able to retain Bird rights and early-Bird rights.
However, the NBA isn’t willing to take that ruling sitting down.
According to a tweet from Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney, the league will appeal and we may not learn the ultimate verdict until after July 1, when free agents can begin negotiating with teams.
Could Danny Ferry land the Hawks’ job?
Former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry was rumored to be interested in joining the Philadelphia 76ers front office, and now ESPN’s Chris Broussard has linked him to the Atlanta Hawks job:
“Hawks have spoken to Danny Ferry about becoming their new GM, sources say,” Broussard tweeted. “Rick Sund’s contract up 6/30 & he could be consultant or leave…”
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