There’s a very obvious potential solution to the shooting issues if the Lakers want to go after Buddy Hield, but the solutions to the lack of size on the perimeter are less obvious. One name that was recently added to the free agency pool was Moe Harkless.
The veteran wing was released by the Rockets just before the start of the season and is available to be signed. Being that he is listed at 6’7”, he has reportedly drawn some interest internally from the Lakers, according to longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein in his latest Substack newsletter.
There were also some fresh rumbles this week that the Lakers have given some internal consideration to the merits of free agent swingman Moe Harkless, who is only a career 32.0% shooter from deep but theoretically helps address a lack of reliable wings that is almost as glaring as the Lakersʼ shooting deficiencies.
To put it simply, Harkless is not the answer to any question the Lakers have. While he is a wing, that’s about where his utility for the Lakers ends.
For one, he would only add to the Lakers’ shooting woes. He is a career 32% 3-point shooter, but shot 30.7% for the Kings last season and 27.4% across 37 games in the season prior. He’s only had two seasons where he’s shot at least 36% from the 3-point line and the most recent of those was in 2017-18.
His Cleaning The Glass stats don’t offer much more room for encouragement. Since that 2017-18 season when he ranked in the 98th percentile on non-corner 3-pointers, he’s ranked in the ninth, 21st, fourth and fifth percentiles on the same shots. His corner 3-point percentage is only moderately better, ranking in the high teens or lower 20s in that same span.
Without much value as a shooter, Harkless would need to be an elite defender to make signing him worth its while and that is not the case, either. In short, there’s a reason he’s bounced from team to team and only once signed a significant multi-year deal.
Effectively, he’s a 3-and-D wing who can’t hit threes and doesn’t defend. His has the physical profile of a 3-and-D wing without much of the skillset. It’s a harsh take but he doesn’t solve any of the Lakers problems and would only serve as further frustration for the team and fan base.