Thanks to the Dwight Howard Trade, Moe Harkless Could Be a Draft Bust

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Thanks to the Dwight Howard Trade, Moe Harkless Could Be a Draft Bust
Elsa/Getty Images
Moe Harkless is the first draft pick from St. John since Omar Cook in 2001.

The Dwight Howard era in Orlando is over.

The Orlando Magic are immediately in a rebuilding stage now that they traded Dwight Howard in a four-team trade, and they received Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic and rookie Moe Harkless. 

Harkless will usher the Magic into a new era of basketball as he will look to be one of the key pieces for the Magic in the future. 

Though fans are ecstatic about Dwight Howard finally leaving, the Magic should not be too happy about their roster. Harkless now is the closest player to the face of the Magic franchise and does not have talent anywhere near Howard's. 

Now there is draft-bust potential looming around Harkless because he will be asked to lead the Magic back to the playoffs again, without ever playing a single NBA game.

Granted, that as a 19-year-old for the St. John's program, Harkless scored in double figures in all but six games during his freshman season in college. 

Even playing against No. 6 Duke in the regular season, Harkless had a monster game scoring 30 points and grabbing 13 rebounds while shooting 13-of-21 in the game, finishing with 61 percent shooting. 

Games like this against ranked competition during his college season were not trends though.

Against most of his major competition on the collegiate stage, Harkless played marginally bad. Facing opponents such as Louisville, Georgetown, Marquette, Syracuse, Arizona, Texas A&M and Kentucky, Harkless struggled. 

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
Harkless has next level athleticism and will finish well in transition.

The good in his game is that Harkless can still be effective even though he does not shoot well. With long arms and amazing athleticism, Harkless has the ability to become a great NBA defender. Playing power forward last season, Harkless was still effective for the Red Storm. Averaging 8.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks a game, he still will impact the game because of his defensive presence. 

Granted that Harkless averaged 15 points a game, the bad in his game is his offensive ability. With 2.4 turnovers a game, he averages more turnovers than assist (1.4). As well, Harkless shot an abysmal 20 percent from the three-point line, making only 17 of his 79 three-point attempts in college and shot 67 percent from the charity stripe. 

On the NBA level, new Magic coach Jacque Vaughn will not ask Harkless to create shots for others or look for his own shot yet. Instead, he will be a substitute to come off the bench and bring in energy with his defense.

Though Harkless was a good piece in the Dwight Howard trade, fans should not look for him to become a 20-point scorer. 

In fact, playing behind Hedo Turkoglu, Harkless should be mentored to learn how to score and create his own shot from a point forward like Turkoglu. 

The most important factor is that the "Dwightmare" is over. 

Magic fans can cheer for the first St. Johns player drafted since Omar Cook.

Will Harkless be a draft bust similar to Cook? 

Time will tell soon enough, the ingredients are there for a forward who cannot shoot. 

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