The official Twitter account of the NBA 2K13 videogame announced Friday that Orlando Magic rookie Maurice Harkless would be among the players to receive a skills upgrade in its latest roster update. That update went live on Saturday morning, and it delivered on that Twitter promise: Harkless, who had long been one of Orlando's worst players in the game despite playing big minutes, is now the team's third-best healthy player, behind Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson, according to the formula which NBA 2K uses to calculate player ratings.
Harkless went from a 66 overall rating to a 73 as a result of Saturday's roster update, which upgraded his accuracy from short range, close range, and three-point range. It also boosted his stealing and shot-blocking attributes as well as his overall on-ball defense.
On the season, Harkless is averaging 6.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.7 combined steals and blocks in 22.5 minutes. The St. John's product has started the Magic's last 23 games at small forward. In that more recent stretch, Harkless has boosted his averages to 10.9 points, 5.3 boards, and 2.4 combined steals and blocks in 33.3 minutes. His 31.3 percent shooting on three-pointers in his last 23 appearances is still below the league average, but he's shown a more consistent ability to connect from deep during this most recent stretch, a true sign of growth for the 19-year-old.
While an upgrade to the virtual Magic won't save the real team's season, it's nonetheless positive to see at least someone outside of Orlando has taken note of Harkless' emergence as the season has worn on.