Sometimes young players need to be encouraged to take more shots and be more aggressive. Such was the case when I played NCAA Division III basketball. As a freshman, I just deferred too often and left too many opportunities in front of me to put the ball on the floor and take it to the hoop.
That had been the case for Maurice Harkless up until Aaron Afflalo encouraged him to be more aggressive; the same happened with me when an upper classman told me flat out “shoot the ball, look to score more.” The next game I scored my season high. So did Harkless.
If you hear the right thing at the right time, and it clicks, it can make a huge difference.
Harkless had 19 points, 14 rebounds and four steals against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night and credited Afflalo’s advice for making a huge difference.
“Aaron, more than anybody, he’s the one telling me to be aggressive and to take advantage of him not being here. And that’s helped me a lot. We talk a lot,” Harkless said to the Orlando Sentinel.
The Orlando Sentinel writes that the main thing for Harkless right now is adding weight to his 210 pound frame. Harkless is just 19 years old, so many of the later development’s that happen in a man’s physique have yet to happen. He’ll get bigger, and then be able to better “attack the basket, go after rebounds…take those bumps and bruises,” Jacque Vaughn commented.
Harkless said “It’s hard” for him to put on muslce right now, and that once he does he’ll be able to “take contact a lot easier and finish.”
For the meantime, we’re watching a pretty special talent evolve. Since he is just 19, Harkless is merely scratching the surface on what could be a great NBA career.
Harkless has posted decent per-36 stats of 9.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 1.4 blocks, and while shooting 45.6 percent from the floor.
He has hit just 18 percent from three and isn’t a good free throw shooter either (56 percent), but those things can be worked on in time.
The defensive contributions are what have some people comparing him to long time NBA stopper Stacey Augmon, or even a guy like Andre Iguodala today.
A cut in the cloth defensive stopper who can put the ball in the hoop enough to remain a viable threat on the offensive end. Perfect glue guy…
Not a bad pick up from the Dwight Howard deal at all.