If St. John’s small forward Maurice Harkless (No. 15) can come along quickly, the Sixers may have found their answer to the post-Andre Iguodala existence. Iguodala has two years left (the second a player option) on his deal worth a combined $30.6 million. Harkless was a fast riser on draft boards in recent weeks. Similarly, Arnett Moultrie(No. 27) gives the Sixers a relentless rebounder and scorer at a time when power forward Elton Brand is entering the final year of his deal ($18.1 million).
The Philadelphia 76ers went out and got themselves two more Philadelphia 76ers. Two more guys with revving motors that look to score and bound around and show off that coveted athleticism that the 76ers seem to buy by the truckload every summer.
Moultrie is a scoring four with legitimate size at that position, more help if the 76ers decide to use the amnesty clause on Elton Brand. Harkless is still finding a way (he just turned 19) to turn all that athleticism into actual production (in the box score or otherwise), and you can’t say the Sixers don’t have a type.
Using a future first-rounder to trade for Moultrie dips our grade a little.
Moe Harkless (15): This was somewhat baffling because the Sixers have guys at his position — Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young. Harkless is young and will take some time to develop, but he’s got a chance to be a quality starter in the league. He’s long, rebounds well and can also get to the basket and finish. He can be brought along slowly, but the reward could be tremendous.
Arnett Moultrie (27): The 76ers needed a big man with the potential loss of Lavoy Allen and they were fortunate that Moultrie, who has no shortage of off-court question marks, was still on the board at 27. Moultrie’s major strength is his ability to rebound — and that’s what Philly needs. Moultrie also possesses a decent skill level, but he’ll get on the court due to his ability to get things done on the glass.
I don’t think the Sixers could have gotten more given their draft position. In a few years, I see Harkless as one of the steals of this year’s draft. Incredibly smooth, long and athletic, Harkless has a power forward’s interior feel with a small forward’s mobility. Moultrie was even more of a steal. He has lottery tools, including 6-11 size, elite athleticism and a jumper that’s unappreciated. He also led the SEC in rebounding. Philly didn’t have a pick in the lottery and landed two studs. Exceptional draft work by a top-notch scouting organization.
Until recently, Harkless was known as “Moe.” Changing his name to Maurice immediately caused league GMs to consider him more mature, as did his decision to stop wearing a propeller beanie to interviews. The Sixers did well in that they got two very athletic players they really like—they were considering Moultrie at No. 15. But there are questions about whether both Harkless and Moultrie will fit in the NBA.
It’s hard to grade the Harkless pick since nobody has any idea whether he’ll capitalize on all the potential, but even if he never puts it all together, he should give Philly one more absurdly athletic wing to play with, and his length will be an asset on both ends of the floor. Arnett Moultrie was pretty solid at the 27th pick, too, as long as there are some solid protections on that future first round pick (no lottery, for instance).
The key now is whether they can turn Andre Iguodala into a piece that makes them better than a seventh or eighth seed in the East. But that’s been the question for two years now, so I guess we’ll just have to keep waiting.
So most of the grades are in the “B” zone. I’m going to attempt to calculate the average grade. My conversion system looks like this:
A+ equals 10 points
A equals 9.5 points
A- equals 9 points
B+ equals 8.5 points
B equals 8 points
B- equals 7.5 points
C+ equals 7 points
C equals 6.5 points
C- equals 6 points
D+ equals 5.5 points
D equals 5 points
D+ equals 4.5 points
F equals 4 points
No one said this was a perfect science. Give me a break. anyway, the total points of the present grades is 50.5. Divide that by 6 grades and you get 8.4 or just under B+. Not bad. I gave them a C.
Okay this is probably the last time I talk about the draft. I’m moving on to free agency. But, you may hear some thoughts about the draft from a couple of staff writers here.