Mar 8, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Orlando Magic forward Maurice Harkless (21) drives to the basket as San Antonio Spurs forward Tiago Splitter (22) defends during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Maurice Harkless Thriving in Orlando Magic Starting Line-up

Sometimes all it takes is an opportunity, and Maurice Harkless has finally gotten his. After a season of frustrations, Harkless was moved into the starting line-up nine games ago and he’s running with the opportunity.

After a rookie season where he averaged 26 minutes per game, Harkless came into this season with big expectations. When he only got inconsistent minutes to start the season, he grew frustrated and his play suffered. He stopped looking for his shot, and became overly passive. Still he defense remained strong and many felt he deserved more playing time, especially on a losing team.

Coach Jacque Vaughn thought Harkless could learn just as much on the bench as he could on the court, and it looks like maybe he was right. After inserting Harkless into the starting line-up, he has watched the 20-year thrive.

Harkless has averaged 34.1 minutes, 11.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.1, assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game during his starting streak. He’s hitting 38.2% of his threes and 44.4% of his shots overall.

Just as impressive, Harkless has been gunning for his shot, averaging 10 field goal attempts per game during his starting streak. His game still revolves around slashing and spot-up jumpers, but he’s not going to get any better on defense if he hides in the corner.

Whether or not Harkless stays in the starting line up remains to be seen. Vaughn continues to tinker with his line-ups. Currently both Victor Oladipo and Tobias Harris are coming off the bench. If either of them gets the starting nod, Harkless could be back on the bench.

Do you think Maurice Harkless can keep his starting spot? Let us know in the comments section below!


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