Every offseason, the Philadelphia 76ers seem to find a new way to address the back up for superstar center Joel Embiid.
Whether that be by overpaying a player who didn’t like Philadelphia, taking a discount with a player who Embiid had previously beefed with, or using the spot for an older player to mentor your young players, the 76ers have had a revolving door at the backup center position, that continues to grow.
Today, that list grew longer as former Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell, who was with Doc Rivers and Sam Cassell in Los Angeles, signed a two-year contract, including a player option on the second year, signed with the Philadelphia 76ers according to Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Pros of Adding Harrell
Montrezl Harrell brings toughness and offense to the Philadelphia 76ers. Last year, splitting time between the Washington Wizards and the Charlotte Hornets, Trez put up 13.1 points per game on 64.5% shooting from the field.
He also added 6.1 rebounds per game and 2.1 assists per game. Just a few years ago, in a Doc Rivers offense, he averaged 18.6 points per game and 7.1 rebounds per game on 58.0% shooting. For a team very much adapting a “Championship or Bust” mentality, signing a veteran with 23 games of playoff experience seems like a step towards title contention.
Beyond that, James Harden has his kindness from earlier in the offseason, his pay cut, rewarded even further, grabbing another solid piece with connections to Houston, who is a positive to have in the locker room.
The Cons of Signing Harrell
Trez does lots of things well. He is a high-energy, offensively gifted big man. However, he is also a severely undersized center.
Standing at 6’7″, Harrell is more suited physically to play a forward position. However, his lack of shooting would kill any lineup before it even left the clipboard.
More so, while his defensive effort can pass in the regular season and be made up for by his bruising style of play and offensive prowess, in the playoffs, he is, more often than not, taken advantage of.
Since the 2018-2019 season, Trez has watched his playoff minutes tumble consistently, going from 26.3 in 2018-19 to 9.8 with the Lakers in 2020-21.
Another problem, as pointed out by our own Sean Barnard, is that with him joining the Philadelphia 76ers, he takes away minutes that Paul Reed and Charles Bassey could have gotten.
BBall Paul was solid last year in the playoffs and at the end of the regular season, and it seems like it may have negative side effects if we send Reed into the playoffs cold once again, as he was at the beginning of the playoffs last year.
Reed deserves a chance to succeed.
Where does this leave the Philadelphia 76ers?
The best fix would be to deliberately let Paul Reed get more minutes at the backup power forward and center position while still allowing Trez to play well enough to fill in for games when Embiid is out.
Having Trez on the team makes James Harden happier which is a plus. The signing also gives the team a safety blanket option when Embiid is out in the regular season, and hopefully can have a positive effect on the Philadelphia 76ers.