Jusuf Nurkic might have been the subject of summer workout buzz, but Maurice Harkless was right alongside him in pushing himself.
Harkless, who started against the Phoenix Suns in the Trail Blazers’ season opener and has the chance to start all season, put himself through “intense” workouts to prepare for the season – and possibly a bigger load with the team.
From an interview with Men’s Fitness:
“These past few summers I spent my time down in Florida at IMG Academy, training there. During those workouts, some days I’ll do a turf workout in the morning and then some weight training, then to basketball, and then later, basketball workouts again at night.”
Harkless’ focus in workouts included core strength and lower body, using deadlifts, single-leg workouts, RDL’s (Romanian Deadlifts), leg curls and squat jumps in training.
But the 6-foot-7 small forward is also a “big believer” in yoga. It not only stimulates his health physically, but also mentally and spiritually:
“It can put you in the zone, and when you’re on the court and matching up, you have to be in the zone in the same way. I think doing yoga and meditation helps you get into that place, and it helps my game overall.”
The forward also reveals shooting was one of his main focuses this offseason, especially from three and at the free throw line.
Last season, Harkless averaged 35.1 percent from three, triggering a bonus that was built into his contract. He also set career-high marks in 3-point attempts (2.5 per game) and makes (0.9 per game), but was rather disappointing at the line, hitting free throws at a 62.1 percent clip.
Against the Suns, Harkless’ defense shined and he hit both of his free throws. Reliable contribution from Harkless could lead to a lasting, expanded role and a more formidable Blazers front line.