The Magic made it pretty clear — particularly at the end of the season — they were going to go young and play their rookies and young players to speed along their development. Orlando was not expecting any of its rookies to win the Rookie of the Year. Maurice Harkless, Andrew Nicholson, Kyle O'Quinn and DeQuan Jones were bringing brought along slowly.
They all still had great seasons. Harkless and Nicholson seemed to have good enough seasons to gain All-Rookie team consideration.
Nope. Not so much.
The NBA announced its All-Rookie teams Tuesday and the Magic's rookies were left off. NBA Rookie of the Year and Portland guard Damian Lillard headlined the first team and the lone unanimous selection along with Washington's Bradley Beal, New Orleans' Anthony Davis (the top overall pick), Cleveland's Dion Waiters and Golden State's Harrison Barnes. The second team is Detroit's Andre Drummond, Toronto's Jonas Valanciunas, Charlotte's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Detroit's Kyle Singler and Cleveland's Tyler Zeller.
The All-Rookie teams are voted on by the coaches and are selected regardless of position.
Maurice Harkless, for what it is worth, was the first player left off the second team. He actually tied Zeller with 15 points and apparently lost because he received only one first place vote to Zeller's three. Hopefully it keeps him hungry.
Harkless averaged 8.2 points per game this year, shooting 46.1 percent from the floor. However, in March and April Harkless averaged 13.1 points and shot 44.7 percent in 36.4 minutes per game, a significant increase from his season average. In a larger role Harkless began to show all the talent and potential he had as a scorer and defender.
Nicholson also received a fair amount of votes too.
Nicholson was voted on four ballots with no first place votes. Nicholson averaged 7.8 points per game and 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting 52.7 percent from the floor. Nicholson was strong at the beginning of the season and struggled some as the season went on and defenses adjusted. He will need to improve his rebounding and his defense this offseason before heading into training camp if he wants to crack a very loaded power forward rotation — Glen Davis and Tobias Harris are expected to return.
These guys got shut out of the rookie teams this year. They should be aiming to head to New Orleans for All-Star Weekend next year as part of the Rising Stars Challenge. And Orlando should have a member of this All-Rookie team next year thanks to their high draft pick.