Montrezl Harrell Bemoans Lack of Playing Time: ‘Ain’t Up to Me’

Montrezl Harrell, Philadelphia 76ers

Getty Montrezl Harrell #5 of the Philadelphia 76ers.

When the Philadelphia 76ers signed Montrezl Harrell at the end of the summer, the move was hailed as the latest in a series of savvy offseason additions by the front office. The no-nonsense former Sixth Man of the Year was thought to be the perfect addition to a Sixers team desperately in need of an offensive punch off the bench. That, and a capable backup to superstar center Joel Embiid.

But so far this season, the Sixers’ “dawg” has been all bark and no bite. His minutes, attempts, rebounds, and points per game are all the lowest since his rookie season. After appearing in Philadelphia’s first 10 games, he’s played in just two games since. And the big man is starting to notice.

“Of course, I wanna be out there on the floor. Of course, I wanna be in a position [of] something that’s consistent, but hey, it’s the game. I’ve been in the game for eight years. It’s just about coming in the game and doing what you’re supposed to when you’re name is called so really that’s all I do, man”

“I don’t know. It ain’t up to me. I just do my job when my name is called. It’s as simple as that. When my name is called, I just go out there and try to do it to the best of my ability, play the right way and just give us a lift off the bench,” Harrell said after the win against the Jazz Sunday.

Does Harrell Deserve More Time?

So far this season, Harrell has been splitting the lion’s share of backup big minutes with Paul Reed. Neither one is a complete player — where Harrell shines (offense), Reed struggles, and vice versa.

Across 259 possessions, lineups featuring Harrell are scoring 120.8 points per 100 possessions, 97th percentile in the league. The only catch? Those same lineups are giving up 119.8 points per 100 possessions, one of the worst totals in the league. It comes as little surprise: Harrell has always been a below-average defender. His career defensive plus/minus is a positive, though only barely: plus-0.4.

After consistently poor play to open the season (plus/minus of plus-1.0), some called for Sixers head coach Doc Rivers to swap Paul Reed into the rotation. But in his limited action so far this season, Reed hasn’t been much better on the stat-sheet: he owns a minus-2.5 net rating. Nonetheless Reed passes the eye test for Philadelphia, with his energy, bounce, and tenacity a promising sign.

Harrell isn’t the only center to voice his disappointment with Rivers’ lineup management.

Joel Embiid Calls Out Doc Rivers After Loss

After a disappointing loss to the Atlanta Hawks last week, Sixers star Joel Embiid took a moment to discuss his absence from the lineup in the closing minutes, when the game suddenly got tight.

“I think I’m smart enough not to foul. But I thought that’s probably when the game changed. They went on that run and we could never get it back… I trust whatever my teammates and coaches say. Tonight, it just happened to be, at the time, probably the wrong decision.” per Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

It’s a storyline to watch, though Embiid seems to have put any frustrations to rest against the Utah Jazz.

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