Maurice Harkless is not one to hold grudges.
The St. John's product didn't feel any ill will toward the Sixers when they traded him last August to the Orlando Magic in the three-team deal that landed Andrew Bynum in Philly and Dwight Howard in Los Angeles. And Harkless won't hold a grudge now, as his career is taking shape.
The 19-year-old Harkless recorded his first double-double (19 points, 14 rebounds) last week in a 107-98 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, and finally appears to be getting used to the NBA game.
It was the grind of the NBA schedule that kept him from getting adjusted earlier. The back-to-back games, the night-end-night-out travel. In fact, Harkless has played more games in his rookie season (41) than he played his entire college career (34).
"It's gotten a lot easier," he said on Monday as the Magic prepared to play the Sixers. "In the beginning it was tough, you know, everyday, in the gym all day long, it was tough. ... My body's got used to it."
And now that he's used to it, the Magic should start to benefit.
Harkless has started 24 games this season, including the last four, in which he's averaged 12.2 points and 7.2 rebounds. Those numbers are above his season averages (4.6 points, 4.7 rebounds).
Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn said he sees Harkless coming along as he gets more playing time. He admires the way Harkless was able to play different roles for the Magic and still produce.
"Whether he was starting or coming off the bench," Vaughn said, "he's just gotten better during the course of the year.
Vaughn said he noticed Harkless becoming more "confident at what he was doing, and understanding at what's going on on the floor, just learning the NBA game, which is different for a guy that's played one year of college."
Harkless has no hard feelings over Sixers trade
CSN Philly | Feb 5