Starter: Evan Turner
Bench: Mo Harkless, Jake Layman
The small forward position is where most of the frustrations with the Blazers manifest, mainly because of Evan Turner and the $17.8 million he’s slated to make this season. Turner has struggled as a Blazer, unable to find a spot for his playmaking to really manifest while his shot selection issues have remained prominent. Turner split time with Mo Harkless last year, and will likely do so again based on matchups. Harkless is the much better shooter of the two, and is more consistent as a defender. However, he is a limited offensive creator and even his shooting success has been on low volume.
The Blazers haven’t settled on a good answer here over the past two years, and this year figures to again be a battle between Harkless and Turner for minutes that will continue to result in low-ceiling outcomes for the fifth starting spot. The Blazers could probably use an upgrade and unload one of the two in an effort to find that, but with both locked into deals that pay into 2020, it’ll be hard to find a way to make that happen. The good news is that Harkless is still 25, so there’s still some room for growth with him. the optimist would see Harkless take another step forward as a shooter and take the reigns from Turner, but it’s hard to project that happening right now.