Posted by: Steve Toll
07/02/12 12:03 pm EST

Maurice Harkless has the look of an NBA player.  More importantly, he is an NBA Player.  Better yet, he should become an all star and multiple time member of the all defensive team.  He was great value with the 15th pick.  Harkless has the traits on a NBA player and history going for him.

Here are the positives.  Andre Iguodala and Doug Collins will be an immense help teaching the defensive aspects of basketball to Harkless, and he has all the tools to excel on that end on the floor.  Philadelphia is a very good passing team, which is a far cry from what Harkless experienced in his one year stint at St Johns.  Lastly, Philadelphia has good players. The better your 4 teammates on the court are, the better you will likely be.

That being said, he is coming into a situation that isn’t conducive to maximizing his talents.  It’s likely that Philadelphia is one of the 5 worst teams in the NBA for Maurice Harkless to be a rookie on.  Playing time, a lack of team 3pt shooting (attempts not %) and lack of inside scoring presence are issues for the Sixers that will hinder Maurice’s development in his rookie season.

However, the positives of drafting Harkless far outweigh the negatives as the negatives are short term issues and the positives will present long term returns. 

Now let’s look at history and the overwhelming evidence that Harkless was a great pick.

15 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.4 blocks

Since the 1998-1999 NCAA season, 2 freshman have put up those numbers or better.  One of those players is Maurice Harkless.  Kevin Durant happens to be the other.  No major college players, did that as sophomores. Eight juniors accomplished those statistical benchmarks.  Drew Gooden, Shawn Marion, Paul Millsap and Kenneth Faried were 4 of those 8 players.

Now we are going to adjust the numbers a bit.  We will lower blocks, steals and remove assists.

15 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 1.4 blocks, TS%50+

1998-1999 through 2010-2011, 20 freshman or sophomores have put numbers the above stats. Terrence Jones, the 18th pick in this year’s draft, put up those numbers as a freshman but returned to Kentucky for his sophomore season.  Not including Terrence Jones, ten of the guys on that list, played major college basketball. 9 of those 10 are NBA players.

Kenneth Faried and Paul Millsap are the two non-major college basketball players who turned into quality NBA players. Quality is an understatement when describing these two players

These are the 9 major college players who put up those type of stats since 1998-1999

Troy Murphy
Michael Beasley
James Johnson
Al-Farouq Aminu
David West
Greg Monroe
Elton Brand
Lamarcus Aldridge
Kevin Durant

Terrence Jones in 2011. In 2012, Anthony Davis, Maurice Harkless, and Andre Roberson (who is a projected lottery pick in 2013, built in the mold of Shawn Marion) all put up those numbers.  Anthony Davis scored 14.2 points per game this year but it more than worthy of inclusion on this list, for obvious reasons.

Durant, Brand, Aldridge and West have been All-Stars.

Durant, Brand, Aldridge have also made All-NBA rosters.

Monroe and Kenneth Faried are both likely to make All-Star teams.

Paul Millsap, 27, has averaged 17pts (fg%52) 8.5 rebs., 2.5 asts., 1.5 stls., .9 blks. in 33 minutes per game the last 2 seasons. In his first 6 seasons, Millsap has produced 40 win shares. By comparison, Josh Smith has produced 38 win shares the last 6 season.  Millsap and Smith were both 26 years old last season

Troy Murphy had 5 seasons where he averaged a double-double.

Kenneth Faried, Beasley, James Johnson, and Aminu project to be starters and 10+ year NBA players.  

Kenneth Faried, 22, seems destined to be an All-Star and All-NBA player after putting up ridiculous per minute numbers as a rookie.  It’s also not out of the question for Michael Beasley, 23,  to mature and become the All-Star everyone thought he would be when he entered the NBA.  James Johnson, 25, started 2/3’s of the games for Toronto in 2012 and showed to be a dynamic albeit inconsistent player.  Aminu, 21, has been a good defensive player in his first 2 seasons but has yet to develop the offensive game to become an effective NBA starter.

Maurice Harkless is in elite company.  It will take injuries or a terrible work ethic that keep Harkless from becoming a very good NBA player.  From all accounts, he is a good kid and hard worker.  He thrived playing on a selfish and terrible shooting St John’s team.  His shooting woes are overstated.  He shot 51% from inside the 3pt line and will not shoot 3’s playing for Doug Collins.  Harkless will provide defense and rebounding his rookie season, if variance is on his side, he will even be a net positive on offense.

This was a great pick by the 7-6.  Harkless will very likely develop into everything Philadunkia nation and the front office hopes he will be.



  1. Salis
    2. July 2012 at 12:58


  2. Paul
    3. July 2012 at 00:30

    even if this guy is good he wont get any minutes unless we move some players.

  3. zippo
    3. July 2012 at 13:10

    trade iggy for a pick next year and a trade exepmtion, asap

  4. noah
    3. July 2012 at 15:15


  5. shrippity
    3. July 2012 at 20:04

    nice one, steve. sixers need him to shoot 40,000 jumpers before the season.

  6. Brian
    5. July 2012 at 13:34

    Wishful thinking…Harkless has the chance to be a good player but to compare him to the likes of Durant, Brand, Monroe, and even Faried based purely on per-game numbers is kind of ridiculous. Durant averaged 25 and 12 and shot a far better percentage so saying Harkless is in good company because they both averaged over 15 ppg and 8.5 apg isn’t saying a whole lot.

    Out of the players on your list, his game is probably closest to combo forwards (tweeners) James Johnson and Al-Farouq Aminu, who have yet to make a meaningful impact in the league.

    Harkless could turn into a solid player. He’s young and was in a tough situation at St. John’s so there’s some upside there, but I’m not sure what role he has on this roster. He looks to me like a better-rebounding/worse-shooting Thad Young. Let’s just say I’m skeptical.

  7. bo
    6. July 2012 at 17:24

    i just hope that philly,s front office will make some moves to get a true big man.philly is full of 6.6 to 6,9 wing guys that will make it hard to get playing time.i have not seen this kid play but friends of mine say he is very good.hope his rookie year is better thanthe last couple of rookies they have had.

  8. Steve Toll
    8. July 2012 at 15:11

    Jeff, while your skepticism is understandable. Your arguments are generalizations.

    Harkless isn’t like Aminu or James Johnson. He is a better athlete than both of those players. Johnson is a Power Forward and Aminu is a slow footed, small forward.

    For example at the draft combine, Harkless had a better Lane Agility and 3/4 sprint time than Bradley Beal. Harkless beat Harrison Barnes in Lane Agility and lost to Barnes in the 3/4 sprint by .09 seconds. Beal and Barnes had a 39 inch vert, Harkless has a 37 inch vert.

    Harkless is a top level NBA Athlete, his lane agility time was .41 seconds better than Aminu, Harkless beat Aminu n the 3/4 sprint time and had a 3.5 inch higher vert compared to Aminus draft combine numbers

    James Johnson is 260+lbs PF
    9.1 pts, 4.7 reb, 2 assists, 1.1 steal, 1.4 blks in 25 mpg is pretty good for a 25 year old power forward who only made 1.8 million in 2011-2012.

    Al Farouq Aminu isnt a good enough athlete to be an NBA Small Forward, he isn’t a tweener. He just isn’t a good enough athlete right now. If in time, he gets quicker, he will be able to play SF in the NBA. I’m college, Aminu used his strength and length to get rebounds and play defense.

    Harkless is a SF, he is 1.75 inches taller than Thaddeus Young and a better athlete.
    Thaddeus isn’t a tweener either, he is a Small Forward. He would start at Small Forward on a bunch of NBA teams, NO, ORL, TOR, Utah, LAC, MIL, etc. He’d start for Philly if we traded Iggy. Thaddeus has 41 steals and blocks as a freshman, Harkless had 96. Harkless shot 52% from 2 in college, compared to under 50% by Thaddeus. Philly was 25th in 3pt attempts per game last year, Harkless won’t be counted on in the 3pt department. Thaddeus took 4 3pt shots the entire season, so 3pt shooting is irrelevant when comparing the 2.

    I don’t quite understand how comparing his in game numbers as a freshman to every division 1 freshman/sophmore since 1998-1999 is ridiculous. It’s a pretty good barometer to see what kind of player he can become. It also shows that guys who put up those numbers in major college basketball are NBA players.

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