Denton: Harkless Improvement
By John Denton
Nov. 3, 2013
ORLANDO – The definition of insanity can be doing the same things over and over and expecting the same results. With that in mind, Orlando Magic forward Maurice Harkless made it a point to change the way he shot the ball as a rookie after mostly struggling with his shot last season.
Harkless had a solid rookie season for Orlando, averaging 8.2 points and 4.4 rebounds in 76 games. He even shot a solid 46.1 percent from the floor, but most of his baskets were drives to the rim and floaters in the lane. It’s outside shooting where Harkless struggled, hitting just 27.4 percent from 3-point range and 57 percent from the free throw line as a rookie.
Harkless was back in the gym two weeks after the Magic’s season ended. He broke down his shooting stroke step-by-step and rebuilt it in several different ways. Harkless worked to get the ball more in front of his head instead of behind it – something that allowed him to release it quicker and get more arc on the shot.
``It feels a lot better and I get the ball off quicker and higher,’’ Harkless said. ``A lot of times last year my ball would be flat when I was shooting. It’s something that I worked on a lot this summer.’’
Harkless entered Sunday’s game against Brooklyn shooting 50 percent from the floor, 57 percent from 3-point range and 66.7 percent from the free throw line. When last season ended he vowed that he would return a much-improved free throw shooter and he put in the work to make that happen.
``I shot tons of free throws,’’ he said with a laugh. ``I put in so much work at the free throw line this summer. It’s paying off. It’s not where I want it to be yet, but it’s getting there. You can see the difference.’’
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