The Cleveland Cavs are currently projected to land the #4 spot in the 2013 draft. Cleveland is currently pretty desperate for a long term solution at SF. So much so that one of the writers over at Fear the Sword floated this question out via twitter and according to his article on the Fear the Sword homepage, not a single Magic fan said they would take the #4 pick over Harkless. Also according to the article, "some even suggested that they wouldn't trade Harkless for the number 1 pick in the draft".
Now I love Harkless probably about as much as anyone here and think that we are looking at an all-star in the making but if they Cavs were to really offer us the #4 pick in the draft for Harkless, you'd have to imagine that it would at least make
the savior of our franchise Rob Hennigan pause for a second to think. Anytime you can land a top 5 draft pick, you have to at least think about it for a second. We're talking about landing a guy like Otto Porter, Victor Oladipo, Marcus Smart, Trey Burke, Nerlens Noel, or Ben McLemore with that pick! That's a big deal because in reality we'd end up with 2 of those guys between our pick and theirs!
Ultimately, if I were Rob Hennigan I would still turn down the #4 pick for Harkless despite those players. The reality is that we are at the bottom of the proverbial NBA barrel. When you are at the bottom, in my opinion, potential is one of the biggest keys to the top. I see fewer players, rookies in particular, with more potential in the NBA than Maurice Harkless. I think that for the 13-14 season, you have to give Harkless a full run before you even think about trading him if for no other reason that to see his development. If he is to develop, we'd be trading away someone with a very high ceiling for an unknown commodity. Harkless has come on strong as the season has progressed too, as we all know! He is already an above average NBA defender and I think the offensive game will follow. Coming in to the season, Harkless drew a lot of Danny Granger comparisons but I think he could even pass Granger and go on to have a stronger NBA career. I'd hate to give up all of that for the #4 pick unless I was positive the guy we would draft would be better.
Now I know I'm a Harkless homer because I was really, really high on him even before the draft and as some of the commenters over at Fear the Sword were quick to point out, everyone is quick to over-estimate their own players. I do not deny that here because Harkless is one of the reasons I've still had fun this season as a Magic fan. But that still doesn't change my opinion on trading him for the #4 pick because Nerlens Noel is the only person I would feel comfortable trading him for and we'll probably have a shot to draft him before 4 anyway.
Part of the scenario to consider down the road about Mo's future is if we were to land Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker in 2014, but those are both big if's and I truly think we need to give Harkless time to continue to develop and see what we've got. And that still plays no role in this draft scenario.
So would you keep Harkless or take the #4 pick and why?