hile most of the madness of the NBA offseason seems to be over, the Philadelphia 76ers made a final splash. It was announced that the Sixers reached an agreement with Montrezl Harrell on a two-year contract worth $5.2 million with the second year as a player option. Sixers general manager Daryl Morey recently sat down on the TakeOff Podcast with John Clark where he revealed his thought process behind the signing.
“Trez had his best years under Doc. (He was the) Sixth Man of the Year, and he really flourished after that Chris Paul trade that brought him to the Clippers and working with Sam Cassell.”
Harrell’s Past With Doc Rivers
He has bounced around between the Lakers, Wizards, and Hornets since this time but Montrezll Harrell did have his best years under Doc Rivers with the Clippers. After initially being drafted by Daryl Morey to become a member of the Houston Rockets, he was traded to Los Angeles before the 2017-18 season where he flourished.
In the three seasons he spent with the Clippers, Harrell proved to be an impactful part of the second unit. During the 2019-20 season, he earned Sixth Man of the Year honors for his strong play. The rim-rocking big man averaged 18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game during the 27.8 minutes per game he played this season.
At 28 years old and still with several years of production ahead of him, this signing has the potential to hold incredible value for the Sixers. There are plenty of reasons for optimism and if he can rekindle this production it would benefit Philadelphia in a major way.
Sixers Need For Harrell
The backup center position has been a position of concern for the Sixers throughout Joel Embiid’s entire tenure. The bench as a whole has also been a unit desperate for improvement. Last season, the Sixers had the third-fewest bench points across the NBA.
The franchise has not had a bench scorer of the level of Montrezl Harrell in quite some time. The closest thing that can be seen is the scoring burst of Lou Williams in 2011-12 when he poured in 14.9 points per game.
Adding this type of bench production will be necessary to lift strain from the starting unit and help to raise the Sixers’ championship window in the way they desire. Even the perceived decrease in the production of Harrell in recent years is still well above the impact the Sixers are accustomed to. With a clear role and familiarity with the key decision-makers (such as Daryl Morey, Doc Rivers, and James Harden) there is plenty of reason for optimism for the Louisville product to settle in quickly.
He has drawn some criticism for the numerous additions of former players, but it is clear Daryl Morey has been extremely calculated with the decisions he has made this offseason. With the trio of Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey having another full year to develop together, having the right complementary pieces could be what is required to get them over the hump. Montrezl Harrell is set to quickly grow into a key member of the rotation and will be expected to play a major role in the team’s success moving forward.