RENO, Nev. — There are Swiss watches that aren’t as reliable as Luke Harangody. No need to wind him up. He rebounds, he hustles, he gets to the foul line.
Harangody played back to back games at the NBA D-League Showcase, averaging 22.5 points and 14 rebounds. Tick, tick, tick.
All the things that made him a former Big East Player of the Year are still there every time he steps onto the court. So, too, are the questions. At 6-foot-7, he can tear up the D-League. But can he take the step back up to a permanent place in the NBA?
A second-round pick in the 2010 draft by the Celtics, Harangody was traded to the Cavaliers where he appeared in 42 games over two seasons. He averaged 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 15 minutes a game. But he was cut in November, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and recently was traded from the Canton Charge to Ft. Wayne.
“It wasn’t really a negative considering what’s happening in Cleveland and with the organization,” Harangody said. “It’s good to be in Ft. Wayne with a good group of guys. I’ve only been with them about a week, and I’m still learning about how other guys play and they’re still learning about me. It’s been an easy transition for me.”
He plays the game in the manner that made him familiar and successful at Notre Dame, with a nose for the ball, ability to clean the glass and a willingness to mix it up on the inside. It was that style that enabled Harangody to average 19 points and 12 rebounds in 19 D-League games last season, almost getting Canton to the finals.
But it would seem in order to find a place in the NBA, Harangody is going to have to develop a more consistent mid-range game or 3-point shot and that’s still not there. He’s 5-for-15 from behind the arc in his first five games with the Mad Ants. And with his lack of size, he has trouble making defensive stops in the lane.
“I’m working on my outside shot, but that’s really no different than the work I do on the rest of my game,” Harangody said. “I think coaches always know what they’re gonna get from my game. I have to be more consistent at times. What I do out there is what they see — hustle, energy, getting on the glass. Just getting there and mixing it up for the team, doing the dirty work.”
It’s consistent. It’s tough. It can be devastatingly effective in the D-League. But will it be enough to ever carve out a place in the NBA?