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Moements of Summer League: The Sixers Debut of Maurice Harkless

Jul 9, 2012, 9:06 PM EDT

The 2012 first-round pick of the Philadelphia 76ers has his professional debut against the Pacers.
Moe.Harkless.jpg

Fans of the Philadelphia 76ers devout enough to tune in for the team’s
Summer League kickoff against the Indiana Pacers were treated to a
fairly miserable game of basketball, one where only 57 points were
scored by the two teams combined throughout the first two quarters, but
one which picked up a little towards the end and featured a handful of
memorable plays. Most importantly, it was the pro debut of Sixers
first-round pick Maurice “We’re Probably Gonna Call You ‘Mo’ Because it
Sounds Better” Harkless, who started and played about 23 minutes for the
Sixers despite being hamstrung by a bad hip flexor. (Arnett Moultrie,
the Sixers’ other first-round selection, sat with an ankle sprain and is
not expected to play in the Summer League.)

As could probably be expected for a 19-year-old not playing at 100%,
Harkless failed to set the world on fire in his debut as a Liberty
Baller, but had some moments. He looked pretty lost on offense for most
of the first half, unable to either properly post up or secure
separation from a defender—though his shot-happy guards didn’t help him
out much on that front. He was hesitant to catch-and-shoot, and his
drives to the basket, while well-intentioned, were a little bit awkward
and his shots were well off. He missed his first three shots, though he
ended the first half with an easy dunk and a sprawling layup, which at
least got him on the board before halftime.

He had some better moments in the second half. He spotted up for a
wide-open catch-and-shoot three in the third quarter and drained it
easily, and followed up a nice move to the basket he made with a tip-in
of his own miss. He finished with nine points on 4-9 shooting, with five
rebounds and an assist. Overall, he didn’t flash a ton of
athleticism—probably the wonky hip playing a part with that—but he did
show off one physical advantage with his Durant-like arms. What was
remarkable about his dunk was how little he had to jump to slam it—it
seemed like he was basically at the rim already, and just needed to
tippy-toe to send it home. It seems like those arms could present a real
issue to opponents on defense, and he was unsurprisingly handsy trying
to strip the ball on a couple defensive possessions (though he got
burned a couple times gambling, so he might want to watch that).

So an INC for Mo Harkless thusfar. Nobody else really impressed
tremendously in the 69-63 loss—Jacob Pullen and Xavier Silas both took a
lot of shots and made some of them, Clay Tucker played way too many
minutes, why the hell is Solomon Jones even on this team—but Justin
Holiday had a couple fun moments, showing a nice stroke from beyond (2-5
from deep) and socirng on a crafty hand-switching drive to the basket
that reminded of his younger brother Jrue. The other J. Holiday also
grabbed seven boards and collected two steals, and will be interesting
to watch for the rest of the Summer League. You gotta root for the older
bros.

The Sixers take on the Jazz on Tuesday at 11:00 on NBA TV. Times will be had.