Portland Trail Blazers wing Maurice Harkless had a season of setbacks. However, he still has the skills to help his team in the future.
Portland Trail Blazers wing Maurice Harkless had a big year in 2016-17. His 10.0 points on 50.3 percent shooting, 4.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 0.9 blocks in 28.1 minutes per game marked a career-high statline. He also swiped 1.1 steals per game, his best since 2013-14. These numbers seemed to foretell big things to come.
Harkless entered the 2017-18 season as the starting small forward. Unfortunately, he could not pick up where he left off the year before, averaging 4.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in his first 18 games. He lost the starting role following a game against the Philadelphia 76ers where he only scored one point.
From there, Harkless would find himself in and out of the rotation, appearing in 24 of the next 36 games. However, an Evan Turner injury, coupled with a 19-point, eight rebound performance on Feb. 4 at the Boston Celtics, helped him get back into the lineup.
Harkless started the remaining 17 games he played, averaging 9.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. He shot 57.1 percent from the field and 46.8 percent from beyond the arc over that span.
Moe’s season was cut short on March 27 when the Blazers announced he would undergo a left knee arthroscopy. He was ruled inactive for the last nine games of the regular season and two of Portland’s four playoff games.
All told, Harkless played in 59 games in 2017-18, averaging 6.5 points on 49.5 percent shooting, 2.7 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.7 blocks per game. Despite the drop in production, he still came away with career-highs in 3-point and free throw percentage. Harkless shot 41.5 and 71.2 percent from those ranges, respectively.
With his sixth season in the books, how can we assess Maurice Harkless’ 2017-18 campaign?