It was a revealing scene before the Trail Blazers’ game Saturday in Washington, when Pat Connaughton prepared to step onto the court for his second start of the season. As he walked down the sideline before the opening tip, Connaughton slapped hands and exchanged quick hugs with several teammates. The last teammates waiting, near midcourt, was Maurice Harkless, the man Connaughton replaced in the starting lineup. Harkless embraced Connaughton, and held on while speaking into his ear. It was by far the longest hug of any teammate in the line, and the show of support touched Connaughton. “I always made sure I spoke some positive things before he would go out for the starting lineup, and now he has done the same for me, which I think has been really cool,’’ Connaughton said. Connaughton replaced the struggling Harkless as the starting small forward before the Friday win in Brooklyn, and he said he has adopted a mindset to help his teammates in this starting role, a process he says has been aided by Harkless’ approach.
Pat Connaughton, with embrace from Maurice Harkless, grabs his new role
NBC Sports Northwest | Nov 28