The Philadelphia 76ers came away with two players from the 2012 NBA draft. The Sixers picked Maurice “Moe” Harkless from St. John’s with the 15th overall selection. Harkless is one of the many young players taken in the draft. He left St. John’s after his freshman year.
The Sixers did a little maneuvering too, acquiring the draft rights to Arnett Moultrie, who was the 27th overall pick from the Miami Heat in exchange for the draft rights to Justin Hamilton (45th overall pick) and a protected future first round pick. Moultrie also left school early for the draft following his junior season at Mississippi State.
The Sixers brass was really high on Harkless. The 6-foot-8, 208-pound forward, made a huge impression on them during his playing days at St. John’s as well as the team’s workouts.
“We think he’s a great athlete and fits in with what we have,” said Rod Thorn, Sixers president. “We think he’s a player. He’s very young. His growth plates are still open. We think he’s going to get bigger. Eventually, we think he’s going to be able to play two positions. Our feeling was with his potential and athletic ability he was too good a player to pass up.”
Harkless is very young. He’s 19 years old. Harkless was named Big East Rookie of the Year averaging 15.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks while shooting 45.2 percent from the floor. He ranked sixth in the nation in scoring among freshman and second in rebounding.
Doug Collins, Sixers head coach, is also excited about him.
“We are very excited to add Maurice to our roster,” Collins said. “He was ranked very high on our board and we think he’s a terrific athlete with tremendous upside. We think he can play multiple positions. We’re adding him to a team that’s young and exciting and we think he has a very bright future.”
Though he has great credentials, Harkless basically plays the same position as Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young. It’s going to be tough for him to get into the rotation. This seems like a pick that was made on potential, which the Sixers feel Harkless has in terms of his skills. It’s hard to say how much of an impact he will have in his first season.
Moultrie, 21, would appear to be a little different story. He’s more of what the Sixers need. He’s a big body. Moultrie, a 6-foot-11, 249-pounder, was named first team All-Southeastern Conference averaging 16.4 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists this past season while shooting 54.9 percent from the floor. He led the SEC in rebounding and ranked 10th in the country. He played extremely well at Mississippi State.
Depending on what the Sixers do in free agency and any moves they make in the offseason, Moultrie may be able to make some contributions.
The Sixers will have a chance to get a good look at Harkless and Moultrie when the team plays in the Orlando Pro Summer League. The league begins on July 9 at the Amway Center in Orlando.