Maurice Harkless has decided not to play for the Puerto Rico national team in this year’s FIBA World Cup, The Orlando Sentinel reports. According to Magic insiders, the forward/guard reneged on his commitment to represent Puerto Rico in 2014 because he wants to focus on the Magic.
The decision should come as no surprise.
Harkless has been an underwhelming prospect for the Magic so far in his short career. Last year, he averaged little more than half the points (7.4) that his counterpart, Tobias Harris tallied (14.6). Then, with the 4th pick in the 2014 draft, the Magic drafted further positional competition for Harkless in Arizona’s Aaron Gordon. Magic GM, Rob Hennigan’s recent acquisitions of shooting guards like Ben Gordon and Evan Fournier during free agency have also severely diminished the need for a swingman.
With his back against the proverbial corner, Harkless must prove himself worthy of a spot in the Magic’s rotation in 2014. Performing in the FIBA World Cup at this point in his career is simply out of the question. An up-hill battle for playing time is on the horizon for Harkless and he knows the future of his NBA career hangs in the balance.
The old saying goes, “don’t quit your day job.” In Harkless’ current case, perhaps it should be rephrased as, “just try to keep your day job.”