The Philadelphia 76ers needed a shooter and a big in the 2012 NBA Draft, and they managed to get the latter by trading for No. 27 overall pick Arnett Moultrie.
Instead of going after a shooter, they decided to gamble on athletic point-forward Moe Harkless out of Saint John’s.
Calling him “athletic” is an understatement; he is an athletic freak. He plays above-average perimeter defense, runs the floor well, crashes the glass with ferocity and gets to the rim with ease.
Among Harkless’ negatives are the following: he’s been known to take bad shots too frequently—usually jump shots that aren’t there—and over-commit with his dribble at times. Do any of those traits seem familiar?
If you’re a Sixers fan, then you know that Harkless is almost a carbon copy of current Sixer Andre Iguodala.
Iguodala always has been a good rebounder and a good transition player and he’s been known to take the most ridiculous jump shots in 76ers history.
Now why would Rod Thorn go after a small forward with nearly the same skill set—except for being less of a defender—as the one he already has? Is it possible that this move signals the end of Andre Iguodala in a Philadelphia uniform?
It only makes sense. Doug Collins thinks he can groom Harkless into a better small forward than Iggy ever was or will be, and since Harkless will be paid much less than Iguodala, the Sixers save cap with which they can possibly sign more pieces to help the team.
There are plenty of teams with a couple good pure shooters who need an athletic perimeter defender, so drafting Harkless in the first round signals that the Philadelphia 76ers are ready to part ways with “the other A.I.” if they can get something of value in return.
It’s the smart move, but only if Harkless pans out, which everyone hopes he will.