A few weeks ahead of the start of preseason camp, Daryl Morey and the front office decided to address one of the potential weaknesses of the roster, the back-up center spot. To do so, they announced the signing of the 28 years old Montrezl Harrell on a two years, $5.2 million deal, that includes a player option for the 2023-2024 season.
Last year, Harrell started the year in Washington before being traded to the Charlotte Hornets. He ended the season averaging 13.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 0.7 block per game while playing 23 minutes a night. This off-season, he battled against some off-the-court, legal issues that apparently shouldn’t cause any more harm to his career.
The 2019-2020 Sixth Man Of The Year will be a quality back-up center offensively. He will thrive as the roll-man in pick-and-roll situations which should improve the team’s offense when Embiid is out, he is a good finisher at the rim with solid dexterity and he is a relentless chaser on the offensive glass.
The biggest concerns with the fiery Montrezl Harrell should be on the defensive side. Harrell is only listed at 6’7” which reduces substantially his aptitudes to protect the rim (very important for a big man!) and he’s not agile or quick enough to regularly keep up with guards when switched onto them.
But the absolute issue with the under-sized and dynamic center is his playoffs viability. He repeatedly struggled in the post-season, especially as a defender and it’s even scarier when we are (too d*mn well) aware of Doc Rivers’ tendency to give struggling centers unreasonable minutes and his overall ineptitude to adapt when things go south.
The other downside to this signing is that it’ll inevitably take minutes away from the promising Paul Reed. It’s great to have a back-up center who has been running the pick-and-roll business for years, but with the post-season issues stated earlier and the positive impact Reed had in the playoffs setting last year, it probably would have been deserved and smart to give BBall Paul a run as the primary back-up center to start the year.
Im feeling Great ion see nobody but me https://t.co/BenUFr4wEm
— Paul Reed (@Bball_paul) September 6, 2022
In Philly, Harrell will reunite with Doc Rivers, under whom he played his three best seasons, including his career-year in 2019-2020, where he averaged 18.6 points. The North Carolina native will also play alongside James Harden, as he did during his first two seasons in the league and after De’Anthony Melton, P.J. Tucker and Danuel House Jr., he will be the fourth player to join The City Of Brotherly Love this off-season, after Daryl Morey had already enrolled them during his time in Houston.
Going back to my number “5”
— Montrezl Harrell (@MONSTATREZZ) September 6, 2022
The truly sparkling Trez announced that he will be rocking the number 5 next year, and we should expect to see our new #5 throw a lot of thunderous slams, angry faces, muscles flexin’ and to keep us well entertained during the regular season, just like Andre Drummond previously did. Let’s simply hope that when it matters the most, he will be grimacing because he just out-rebounded and scored on the opposite center, not because his impact numbers are the worst of the entire team and Doc continues to play him nonetheless.
Having said all that, we will definitely cheer him up like we always do, with our unmatched passion, and he will surely pay his back with his constant energy and toughness.
Montrezl, welcome to best sport city in the world and let’s do big things together!
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images