Tag: Moe Harkless

New York Knicks v Orlando Magic

Report: Blazers acquire Magic forward Moe Harkless for future second-rounder


Since the offseason began, the Blazers have been collecting young players on cheap rookie deals from other teams: first Noah Vonleh, then Mason Plumlee, and now Moe Harkless, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

After a promising first two seasons in the league (including a 2013-14 season in which he shot 38.3 percent from three-point range), Harkless largely fell out of the rotation in Orlando last season. He had a down season statistically last year, and it’s clear the Magic don’t have much use for him going forward after bringing back Tobias Harris on a max deal and investing a No. 4 pick in Aaron Gordon last year. But he’s only 22 and still has upside at both ends of the floor. As the Blazers enter their rebuild without LaMarcus Aldridge, they could do a lot worse than to take fliers on young players like Harkless and hope some of them pan out.

You want to suit up for Orlando? Nelson, Redick, Afflalo all out.

J.J. Redick

The basketball injury gods are heaping cruel and unusual punishment on Orlando Magic fans.

The Magic will try to break their nine-game losing streak without starters J.J. Redick (shoulder), Jameer Nelson (arm), Arron Afflalo (this will be his fifth game out due to an injured calf), plus bench player DeQuan Jones (ankle), tweets John Denton of the team’s official Web site. All of that on top of Glen Davis being out for the season.

Playing for Orlando will be E’Twaun Moore, Moe Harkless, Ish Smith, probably more Hedo Turkoglu, plus any fan in the first five rows that raises his hand as a volunteer.

I doubt the Redick injury shows the trade talk around him — if you were going to bet one guy to get dealt at the deadline, it will be Redick. His injury would have to be fairly substantial to slow that, and reportedly it is not.

Hedo Turkoglu has setback with hand, to miss another month

Orlando Magic Hedo Turkoglu complains after he picked up second foul against New York Knicks in NBA basketball game in New York

The Orlando Magic are a scrappy team. They are off to a 2-5 start but they are not making it easy on anybody. They just don’t have a lot of firepower and what veterans they can trust have been out — Jameer Nelson for a sixth game in a row Wednesday, for example.

Then there is Hedo Turkoglu, who needed hand surgery and was to be out a month until early December, but now has had a setback and will miss another four weeks, tweets John Denton, team reporter for the Magic’s official Web site.

Hey, rookie coach Jacque Vaughn — welcome to rebuilding in the NBA.

If you want a bright side, this means more minutes for Moe Harkless, who had his best game of the season Tuesday night.

Orlando center Gustavo Ayon to miss at least two weeks

Amir Johnson,  Gustavo Ayon
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The losses just keep piling up for the Magic, and the season hasn’t even started yet. It was bad enough having to fire Stan Van Gundy, who is undoubtedly one of the game’s best strategic minds, because of some overblown drama caused by a petulant star. It was even worse having to trade Dwight Howard (petulant or not, the best defensive player in the league) for an overpaid shooting guard and receive no franchise altering pieces, draft picks or substantial salary relief in return. But, now?  Et tu, Gustavo Ayon?

Via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel

Gustavo Ayon alone going down for a few weeks with a sprained left thumb isn’t the iceberg to the Magic’s ship — it’s more like one of the lifeboats sinking. Ayon was a pleasant surprise last year for the Hornets, and is a joy to watch sneak around the baseline with clever little duck-ins and good instincts around the rim. He’s an energy guy who works hard and plays smart, and that’s something that can be cherished in what’s almost certain to be a really, really bad season for the Magic overall.

It certainly doesn’t help that the Magic are dangerously thin up front as is. Everyone’s favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle lookalike, Al Harrington,  is already out for the first few weeks of season with a knee injury. Same goes for rookie forward Moe Harkless, who is sidelined with a sports hernia.

That leaves the frontcourt duties to (gulp) Glen Davis, Andrew Nicholson, Josh McRoberts and Nikola Vucevic — not exactly a quartet that strikes fear into the hearts of their opponents. Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu aren’t exactly nails as perimeter defenders, either, so we could be looking at a team defense that reaches all-time levels of bad. Ayon could have at least mitigated some of the damage early on, but just like Orlando’s hopes of being competitive, that will have to wait.

NBA Preview: Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic v Indiana Pacers - Game Five

Last season: Oh, what a tangled web we weave…

The Magic won 37 games (to 29 losses) last season because for a stretch in the first half of the season they were one of the top-five teams in the NBA. Dwight Howard was putting up his usual MVP numbers (well, not last season next to LeBron but he should be in the conversation most years), the Magic were defending and on offense knocking down threes.

But from the first days the foundation was going to crumble and it came apart in a way worthy of The Days of Our Lives. Howard and his people were pushing hard for a trade to the Nets, and they had leverage with his ability to opt-out in the summer. Except the Magic were not playing along, wanting a better deal and not to give Howard what he wanted. Then Howard caved and opted-in with the Magic for next season, so they didn’t have to trade him. Then Stan Van Gundy threw Howard under the bus in front of he New York Media. Then Howard’s back injury worsened and he had to sit out of the playoffs.

The Magic got run in the first round of the playoffs by the Pacers, then they fired Stan Van Gundy, then they eventually traded Howard to the Lakers in a four-team deal that netted them essentially five picks (three future picks and two recent players) but none of them lottery picks.

Key Departures: Orlando is going the Oklahoma City model — they are looking to be terrible and get good again through the draft. Dwight Howard is gone. While that is obvious you really need to think through how big a loss that is — he is a three-time defensive player of the year who made them one of the better defensive teams in the league for years, plus he was the hub of their offense. He is arguably the third best player in basketball right now. That’s not easy to replace.

Also gone is stretch-four sharpshooter Ryan Anderson, a guy bordering on All-Star status. Then there is Jason Richardson. That would be three of the top four scorers for the Magic. By the way, numbers five and six on the scoring list last season — J.J. Redick and Hedo Turkoglu — can be yours in a trade for picks and prospects.

Key Additions: The best player they got in the Howard trade is Arron Afflalo, a solid two-way swingman who will be asked to do a lot more scoring than he has in the past but will play well. Through the trade they also landed rookie Moe Harkless, the St. John’s star who has promise but is raw. There also is Gustavo Ayon and Al Harrington, but you get the idea. The Magic did not make this trade trying to get better, they are intentionally going to be bad.

One guy who could catch on, Andrew Nicholson. You didn’t see him play in college unless you watched a lot of St. Bonaventure, but in Summer League he averaged 12.6 points and 6.8 rebounds a game. He will get a chance.

Orlando also added new head coach Jacque Vaughn, who gets thrown into the fire of his first NBA job in charge of a roster Phil Jackson couldn’t win with.

Three keys to the Magic season:

1) When do they trade J.J. Redick, Hedo Turkoglu and Glen Davis? The Magic are not going to be good this year, but they are going to get worse. Orlando is going with what is now called the Oklahoma City Thunder model of building through the draft. So the second they can unload one of these veterans for picks and prospects they will. Likely it all happens closer to the deadline, but you are going to hear a lot of Magic trade rumors. General Manager Rob Hennigan has a plan and they are not going halfway on it.

2) How many wins does Jameer Nelson get them? With all the roster changes and revamping the Magic brought Nelson back on a three-year deal. He is the one guy still on the roster who has proven he can up points plenty of at the NBA level, although last season he averaged 11.9 points and 5.7 assists per game. The light for Nelson will be green; he is now freed up to shoot pretty much whenever he wants. His career high is 16.7 points per game and don’t be shocked if he bests that.

But he’s not going to get them a lot of wins. (Not that the Magic brass want him to.) This is the guy you pair with an elite player, he is not elite. And his defense has not been impressive at all the past couple seasons.

3) Can Jacque Vaughn get the youth to develop? In the end for the Magic, it’s really about seeing if Moe Harkless and Andrew Nicholson can develop into solid complimentary players to the franchise guy they hope to draft down the line. Same with Kyle O’Quinn and Christian Eyenga. (Afflalo certainly would fit in, he’s proven it.) Right now it’s about developing talent for the long-term and seeing if the guys can fit in. And part of that has to fall to Vaughn to lead and teach them.

What Magic fans should fear: That the plan doesn’t really work. It’s not easy to land three years of consecutive top four picks like the Thunder did, and they were fortunate to have Kevin Durant fall to them. Then they nailed the Westbrook and Harden picks. Cleveland had the series of top picks as well and they have Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters, and we’ll see how that plays out. But to get the picks is hard and to get the right guy at spots No. 2 and No. 4 is not easy (sometimes not even at No. 1).

This tear it down and build it back up strategy is the right one, but it’s far from easy or foolproof. And it’s going to take years to judge.

How it likely works out: Orlando will be one of the worst teams in the NBA this season, and Magic fans better be prepared for that. It’s not about wins, it’s about Shabazz Muhammad and Nerlens Noel. Expect trades mid-season and a lot of very hard-to-watch losses. Most painful may be that the biggest weakness will be big men in the paint.

The hope is that you see sparks from Harkless, that Nelson and Afflalo can provide some points and the team rallies around Vaughn and is competitive. We saw a lot of losses from the Hornets last season but they played hard for Monty Williams, they defended better, and that’s where the signs of hope will be for Magic fans.

Prediction: 22-60 and a whole lot of ping-pong balls. It’s not going to be pretty in the short term, but that is the plan.