As I’ve stated recently, I think there is a group of about 7-to-10 potential draft targets for the Raptors with the No. 8 selection. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be looking at each prospect in that group, one at a time.
First up is St. John’s forward Moe Harkless.
Moe Harkless – SF – 6’8, 207 lbs.
Harkless is one of the quintessential “unpredictable” young talents that come around year after year. No one can look at the forward and say for certain what he will be or won’t be, or heck, even what he is right now.
What we know is that while he will have to transition from power forward to small forward at the NBA level and will have to get stronger, at 6’8, he definitely has the frame of an NBA body at the three spot.
Harkless is an explosive athlete with great leaping ability who showed some nice balance in his game during his first and only season at St. John’s, posting averages of over 15 points and eight-plus rebounds to go with more than a block and steal per game in about 36 minutes per contest.
If you look at the possibilities and the ways he can contribute in all areas of the game if he develops adequately, you’ll be left, like many who look at this 2012 Draft class, thinking Harkless is a great “sleeper” candidate, especially considering the 19-year-old is projected as a mid-to-late first round guy.
That may very well turn out to be the case (Harkless ending up a 2012 draft night steal) if he does fall past the top-15 or top-20, where he will then be a nice project-type pickup. But where young players all about “potential” are a risk to teams is near the top of the draft.
Harkless’ offensive game still has a long way to go, he was inconsistent for stretches this season and as already mentioned, he’s going to need to get stronger. But having said that, you could probably make those complaints about most teenage basketball prospects and a lot of the guys in this Draft.
And a lot of those other guys in similar positions might not be able to help out on the boards or on the defensive end as much as Harkless can.
At the end of the day, there are others in Toronto’s draft range that I’d rather have, but if Harkless blows Colangelo and co. away during his workout and is judged to have a strong character and desire to fulfill his potential, he would be an interesting young piece at small forward.
I still think he ends up being a late lottery or mid-first round guy, but I wouldn’t be shocked to hear his name called in the top-10, or even at No. 8.