Montrezl Harrell is a familiar face to key Sixers decision makers

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Philadelphia 76ers
CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 08: Charlotte Hornets center Montrezl Harrell (8) drives to the basket for a lay up during a NBA game between the Charlotte Hornets and the Chicago Bulls on April 8, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire)

The Sixers recently made a notable move by adding Montrezl Harrell to the bench unit. The former Sixth Man of the Year is an improved tool to add to the rotation. The 28-year-old holds career averages of 12.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in his 21.5 minutes per game. He is an elite finisher around the rim and can be counted on for some rim-rocking dunks this season. Harrell has some creative ability and is the most polished offensive player that has ever backed up Joel Embiid. He also has a great familiarity with several members of the Sixers organization already.

Daryl Morey & Montrezl Harrell

As many are aware, Daryl Morey was a member of the Houston Rockets front office from 2006 to 2020. He was promoted to General Manager of the organization in 2007 and did an effective job steering the franchise in the right direction. One of the decisions that was made during this time was drafting Montrezl Harrell with the 32nd overall pick in the 2015 draft.

Montrezl Harrell spent his first two seasons in the NBA with the Rockets. He was still early in his career development but averaged 9.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in his second season. Harrell also showed some nice chemistry playing alongside Rockets’ superstar James Harden.

Doc Rivers

Following his two seasons in Houston, Montrezl Harrell was traded to the Clippers. The big man was a part of the package that brought Chris Paul to the Rockets. Upon landing in LA, he was coached by Doc Rivers and went on to have his most successful seasons thus far.

Harrell had his best season in 2019-20 where he averaged 18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game. He also won the Sixth Man of the Year Award as a result of his productive bench minutes. However, Doc Rivers was fired following this year after a disastrous 3-1 blown lead in the second round of the playoffs against the Nuggets.

One of the driving forces of Rivers’ exit was his mismanagement of Montrezl Harrell in the postseason. At this time Harrell and Ivica Zubac were competing for the minutes at center. While Joel Embiid is clearly a far superior talent to these two centers, the overuse of Harrell is still somewhat of a concern for the Sixers. Leading too heavily on veterans has been a theme of Doc Rivers’ coaching over the years and the signing makes it clear the lack of belief in Paul Reed and Charles Bassey. While it must be noted the best years of Harrell’s career occurred under Rivers, perhaps the clearest example of his shortcomings cannot be dismissed.

James Harden

Since this time Montrezl Harrell has bounced around the league slightly more. He spent one season with the Lakers and then half of a season with the Wizards and Hornets last year. It appears he has lost not touch with James Harden since their early days in Houston, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Harden played a major role in Harrell coming to Philly.

The high IQ passing ability and feel for the game that James Harden possesses makes Harrell a great fit alongside him in the second unit. The big man is a pick-and-roll machine who will play off Harden extremely well. The duo most recently spent time together at the Rico Hines runs.

In addition to Harden, Rivers, and Morey, Tobias Harris also played alongside Montrezl Harrell during their time in Los Angeles. The bottom line is he will be a helpful addition to the Sixers. Harrell provides a skillset that is unique to the Sixers and one that will make a major impact throughout the season. He will be an especially impactful regular-season player. Among a group of familiar faces and checking a box the Sixers need, Harrell is an improved weapon for the Sixers to have in the upcoming 2022-23 season.

Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire