Dime NBA Draft Profile: Moe Harkless

They used to call it one of the best draft classes of the last 25 years. Now, it’s looking more and more like Anthony Davis… and then everybody else. Still, on June 28, the 2012 NBA Draft will bring hope, and hopefully new talent to some teams that desperately need it.

As we do every year, Dime will be holding you down with Mock Drafts, player interviews and diaries (you should check out Dion Waiters‘ draft diary), and we will also be bringing you draft profiles for every potential prospect deemed worthy. With this year’s crop of talent, that list is long. Our last profile was on Baylor’s explosive prospect, Perry Jones III. Today, we’re looking into the future of St. John’s Moe Harkless.

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Best case: Lamar Odom
Worst case: Marvin Williams
Final comparison: Al Harrington

Ratings (on a scale of 1-10, 1 being overseas talent and 10 being NBA Rookie Of The Year)

Moe Harkless’ athleticism might just be his best asset going into the next level. His jumping ability along with his length allows him to get to rebounds before his opposition. He isn’t your typical highlight film-type of athlete, but he’s definitely athletic enough to be a successful rebounder. Defensively, he’ll have to develop his lateral quickness and foot speed in order to guard some of the quicker small forwards on the perimeter. He runs the floor looking to attack. He’s a north-south type of player and is capable of getting those tough buckets. Although his athleticism doesn’t raise you up out of your seat, it’s there.
Grade: 8

At the college level, Harkless was mostly used as a post presence. He got the majority of his points underneath the basket. In the NBA however, he’ll be more of a perimeter presence. He’s a bit undersized to play the four in the league, but at 6-8 and 218 pounds, he has the perfect size for the small forward. Unfortunately, he hasn’t had much of an opportunity to develop his skills as a shooter and a ballhandler. St. John’s was an undersized team, so Harkless saw very little minutes as a perimeter player. He has the ability to knock down outside shots, but creating his own shot from the perimeter isn’t exactly his strong point. If he can develop his ballhandling ability, extend his range, and learn to create his own shot he’ll be on his way to fulfilling his potential.
Grade: 4

[RELATED: Dime Mock Draft 1.0]

NBA Readiness
In terms of size, Harkless is ready for the NBA. He has the height, a frame to build upon and he moves quickly for someone his size. However, after only one year at St. John’s, it’s going to take him a year or two to really develop. For him to be ready to contribute he’ll have to become a better perimeter defender and outside scoring threat. Right now he isn’t ready to handle the ball on the perimeter or knock down the NBA three with regularity. Those are two things that will have to become natural to him before he is ready to contribute at small forward, which is where he has the best opportunity to succeed.
Grade: 6

What intrigues scouts most about Harkless is his upside. He has Paul George, Rudy Gay size that makes you think he could pan out and be that type of player. Even though he isn’t ready to contribute right away, his potential is what makes him a good pick. Similar to Tobias Harris, Harkless only played ond year in college and will need at least one year in the NBA to sit back and learn what it takes to contribute at that level. Eventually, Harkless will be a contributor no matter what. His size and rebounding ability will make him difficult to leave out of a rotation. At worst, he doesn’t fulfill his potential, and ends up being Marvin Williams, who is capable of giving you a big night every now and then, but really should be better than he actually is. Best-case scenario, he develops that perimeter skill quickly, becomes the stud defender he has the size and potential to become and gives you double-doubles night in and night out, just like Lamar Odom was doing in LA.
Grade: 9

This might be the most important area when evaluating prospects. How hungry are they? Do they desire to be great, or do they just want to play to earn checks? How motivated are they to earn minutes as opposed to taking their situation for granted? Do they want to really win, or do they want to play? These are the questions that you think about when you take longevity into consideration. There have been too many players in the past who have had the potential to be great, but their intangibles weren’t there. What side of the fence is Moe Harkless on? Nobody truly knows just yet. So far he’s been working tirelessly at improving his shooting, and getting in NBA condition. He seems to be on the right side of that fence so far. Hopefully in his rookie year, it stays that way. At St. John’s, Harkless showed plenty of heart, and competitiveness. In their toughest games, Harkless was the one you could count on to show up. That speaks volumes about where his intangibles are right now, if he really wants to become the player he has the chance to be, they’ll have to stay that way.
Grade: 7

Combined Score: 36 out of a possible 50 points

Best Fit: Houston Rockets
It’s difficult to pick a best fit for a player like Moe Harkless. Some kids need some time out of the rotation to develop their skills and get used to the new pace. Other players benefit from playing right away and being thrown into the fire to learn as they go. Usually you can tell what would be more beneficial for a kid, but it’s hard to tell with Moe Harkless. A lot of players tend to lose motivation if minutes aren’t promised to them and get a bit lazy, but Harkless doesn’t seem to be that type of kid. He could really benefit from going the Tobias Harris route and taking some time to develop at his own pace. On the other hand, you don’t want him to get complacent, lose motivation and become satisfied with being an okay player. It’s a gamble that GMs will have to take with him. If you throw him into the fire right away, who knows how good he could really become. So really, Harkless would be a good fit anywhere. I’d say he has his best chance to earn minutes right away would be in Houston.

“Harkless is a long, 6′ – 8″ small forward possessing great athleticism. Still offensively raw, his most efficient looks occur through transition, off-the-ball movement, and offensive rebounds. While aggressive with the rock in his hands, his ballhandling skills are a work-in-progress and shooting range is currently non-existent; he netted only 17 of 79 from three-point range this year. Combined with only making four trips to the foul line a game, in part due to his slender build, his offensive efficiency was poor (50 percent TS, 100 offensive rating). On defense, he possesses much promise thanks to his length, speed and jumping ability, which he parlayed into a combined three blocks plus steals per game.” – Kevin Hetrick of ESPN TrueHoop


How good will Harkless be in the league?

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