Harkless managed only three points (1-4 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 1-2 FT), three assists and a rebound over 17 minutes in Thursday's 109-108 preseason loss to the Clippers.
Getting his turn in the small forward starting rotation, Harkless considerably underwhelmed over his brief allotment of playing time. As had been the case on Tuesday versus the Lakers-- when Harkless came off the bench and his primary competitor for the starting three role Evan Turner drew the start-- it was the reserve who outperformed the starter, as the latter turned in an eight-point, three-rebound, three-assist outing Thursday. Harkless will presumably head back to the bench for the Blazers' tilt against the Nuggets on Sunday and the competition will likely continue until the regular season opener draws much nearer.
Locked in a battle for the starting small forward spot with Allen Crabbe and Evan Turner, Harkless took Tuesday's round, outperforming both players while coming off the bench. Harkless received the start in the preseason opener and logged 10 points, and Crabbe and Turner have had their turns in the starting five in the two subsequent games, so coach Terry Stotts could well be going with a three-man rotation during the exhibition slate until he reaches a decision on a starter. With Turner also able to fill in at either guard spot and Crabbe likely profiling better as a second-unit option, Harkless could have the inside track for the job if he can continue to produce as he did Tuesday.
With coach Terry Stotts indicating that Al-Farouq Aminu will move over to power forward this season after acting as the starting small forward for much of the 2015-16 campaign, the Trail Blazers have only one lineup spot up for grabs during training camp. While the newly re-signed Allen Crabbe is in the mix for those duties, Harkless and Turner, who were also rewarded with new contracts from the Trail Blazers this offseason, appear to have demonstrated that they're the best two fits with the top unit during the early stages of camp. Stotts will use the next four weeks to determine which of those two options will ultimately win the starting role, but Harkless certainly has a compelling case for expanded playing time even if he's forced to come off the bench to open the year. Harkless started the final 11 games of the past regular season and remained with the top unit in the playoffs, proving himself as an excellent fit alongside Aminu, particularly on the defensive end.
After going underutilized for much of the first half of the season, Harkless took over as the Blazers' starting power forward in February and made a positive impression. In his 14 regular-season starts, Harkless averaged 11.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.0 block in 26.9 minutes per game. He came close to maintaining those averages during the Blazers' 11-game postseason run, but it's uncertain if he'll continue to work as a starter in 2016-17. The Blazers' brain trust has already indicated that the team intends to play Al-Farouq Aminu more frequently at power forward this season, and with Evan Turner and Allen Crabbe in the mix to see playing time at the other forward spot, Harkless could see his minutes tail off a bit.
Maurice Harkless (hip) played 17 minutes and provided eight points (3-9 FG, 1-2 3Pt, 1-2 FT), six rebounds, one assist and a steal during Monday's 132-125 overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 4 of the series.
Harkless was cleared to play Monday after exiting early in Game 3 with a sore right hip, but coach Terry Stotts was reluctant to give the forward major minutes. Instead, Stotts opted to go small for much of the night, with swingman Allen Crabbe (38 minutes) soaking up most of the playing time that would normally have gone to Harkless.
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
| 16 |
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| 20 || 21 |
| 23 || 24 || 25 |
| 26 || 27 |
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|Career Shooting Stats|
|More Postseason Stats|
|College Career Shooting Stats|
|2011-12||St. John's (N.Y.)||32||1155||193||427||45.2||17||79||21.5||94||139||67.6||497||15.5|
|More College Stats|
|2011-12||St. John's (N.Y.)||32||1155||188||5.9||47||1.5||51||1.6||45||1.4||80|
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