Trail Blazers Review: Maurice Harkless in 2015-16
In what is arguably the steal of the 2015 offseason, Portland was able to acquire Maurice Harkless for a 2020 second round pick. Let that sink in, the Magic traded away a young player with a ton of potential for a player that most likely just finished his freshman year of high school. It isn’t a two sided argument, the Blazers got a steal when they acquired Harkless, as he worked his way up from the end of the bench to starter by the end of the season.
Taking a page from the Warriors’ playbook, Portland began to play small by inserting Harkless into the lineup after the Noah Vonleh experiment fizzled. After averaging 6.4 points and 3.6 rebounds a game during the regular season, Harkless rode his inspired play into the playoffs, boosting his numbers to 11 PPG and 5.1 RPG respectively.
However, it was the intangibles and heart that really put Harkless on the map this season. There are too many moments to count where Harkless came down with a clutch rebound, nailed an important three, or played lockdown defense on a player usually a couple of inches taller than him. He showed tremendous potential this year and provided just another youthful spark that Rip City should be excited about.