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Maurice Harkless says Magic will have a chance to make the playoffs next season

Sep 2, 2014, 2:43 PM EDT

Maurice Harkless, CJ McCollum Maurice Harkless, CJ McCollum

Orlando is a young team in the middle of its rebuilding process, and finished with a record of 23-59 last season, which left them 15 games out of the playoff picture when all was said and done in the Eastern Conference.

But at least one of the team’s players believes this is the year the Magic can make the leap into the postseason.

Maurice Harkless is one of the young pieces in place on the roster, and started half of his team’s games a season ago while averaging 7.4 points and 3.3 rebounds in 24.4 minutes per contest. He feels like the experiences his club went through last season have prepared the team to be much better in the upcoming season.

From Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

“If you look at us last year we competed with pretty much all the best teams in the league, we even beat a few of them,” Harkless said. “I feel like this year, with that much more experience and guys being that much better after another summer of work, we’ll have a chance to make the playoffs.”

Harkless expects the team to be better on the road this season.

“I think that comes with experience,” Harkless said. “You know, just being able to learn how to close those games out. You look at our road games, we’d be in it for the first forty minutes, and it’s those last eight, last six, even those last four minutes. We just let it get away from us. I think a part of that is being young and learning how to win on the road. It’s a lot different than being at home.”

The Magic were 4-37 on the road last year, the worst in the league. But even if they are able to show a marked improvement in that category, Orlando didn’t appear to add enough talent to be considered favorites to reach the postseason just yet.

Arron Afflalo was traded to Denver for Evan Fournier and Jameer Nelson was waived, and while the acquisitions of Channing Frye and Luke Ridnour may help (as will incoming rookies Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton), it may take some time for all the pieces to fit — even if guys like Harkless and Victor Oladipo mature more quickly than expected.

  1. eugenesaxe1 - Sep 2, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    They play in the E-League, so there’s always a chance.

    • avb300 - Sep 3, 2014 at 12:47 AM

      Mo Harkless is multi talented – a bball player and is probably a better comedian.

  2. asimonetti88 - Sep 2, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    so… you’re saying there’s a chance?

  3. rymurphy617 - Sep 2, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    In all honesty the door on the 15′ playoffs is not shut. The east is a mess outside of two elite squads. Orlando’s young core (Vuc, Olidepo, Harris, Harkless) with the addtion of the two lottery rooks Gordon and Payton sever as an extrealy young team with a very high celeing if developed correctly. Gordon is a project, but many believe Payton is ready to go now and could very well be a Rondo-ish player in the near future.

    That being said, as a Magic fan Orlando is NOT making the playoffs even in a shallow weak East. Why?

    Thier youth is still underdeveloped, they play hard at home and teams had to recognize them in Orlando last season. The road is a different story… the Magic have no convidence without a fan base behind them.

    Secondly, the Magic offseason addtions are insane in a bad way. Over paying Frye and Ben Gordon, letting Nelson walk and trading Affalo for peanuts was beyond puzzling. Could they have chased youth with team staple potential like Lance, Monroe, or Bleadsoe? Yes….they had the cash to throw around. Instead they make a mess of nearly every move over the summer and no one knows why.

  4. sportsfan18 - Sep 2, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    Bulls because Thibs plays to win and plays dudes too many min’s in the regular season
    Cavs because it will take them a few games to mesh
    Miami depends on Wade’s knees
    Nets depends on Brook Lopez and D. Williams health

    #9 Pacers
    #10 Knicks

    Then the following “duke” it out… but since the Sixers WANT last place more than others, I’ll put them there.

    Boston, Orlando, Pistons, Bucks


    Orlando is in the scrum for 11th place…

    • 2016olympics - Sep 2, 2014 at 5:22 PM

      I think you’ve got the Pacers way too high. No PG or Lance. Stuckey and Miles are decent replacements…Hibbert and West one year older. I’d be pretty surprised if they finished as high as 9th.

      • money2long - Sep 2, 2014 at 7:45 PM

        how is hibbert being one year older a problem exactly ?

    • ProBasketballPundit - Sep 2, 2014 at 6:04 PM

      I think my Hornets have a shot at the #3 seed but I appreciate all the hate. Can’t wait for them to prove you & PBT (they had us ranked 19th) wrong.

      • 2016olympics - Sep 2, 2014 at 6:19 PM

        I got Hornets finishing 6th and giving the winner of the Atlantic (probably Toronto) a run for their money in the playoffs, before getting squashed in the semis by Bulls or Cavs.

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