It has not been the start to the season that has been desired for Montrezl Harrell. The former Sixth Man of the Year has not cracked the Sixers’ rotation regularly and has struggled for stretches when he has been on the court. His greatest impact has been with the extracurricular activities beyond the basketball court which includes kicking Giannis Antetokounmpo off the court to prevent him from shooting free throws after the game. Harrell added to this list of beef by getting into an argument with a Hornets fan during the third quarter of the Sixers’ recent loss in Charolette.
The Sixers ultimately lost the matchup 107-101 to move to 9-9 on the season. Harell got the start in the matchup and played 22 minutes where he tallied 16 points, seven rebounds, and an assist. On the season he is averaging just 4.9 points and 2.5 rebounds in his 11.3 minutes per game.
Harrell’s Thoughts on Altercation
Following the loss, Harrell was asked about what led up to this shouting match. The 28-year-old was heckled by a fan sitting near the Sixers’ bench after being subbed out in the third quarter. Harrell also revealed his father was in attendance and seated near the heckler. He did not disclose specifically what comments were directed at him, but Hornets security personnel approached the fan and stepped in to diffuse the situation.
When speaking to reporters about that altercation. Harell put it “That’s just how it goes. It is what it is. Fans got a lot to say whether it’s in an arena, on social media or wherever it may be. People fail to realize the aspect that you’re just a fan, bro. Stay in that nature. Stay in the element. Don’t try to take it somewhere where it doesn’t have to go, because then when you do that now you are going to get the retaliation from me,” per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
This was Harrell’s first game back in Charolette after playing 25 games with the Hornets last season. He averaged 11.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.0 assists during this stretch.
Is Harrell Misunderstood?
While discussing the event, Harrell also made it known that this was far from the first time he has had problems with a fan. As he stated, “This isn’t my first time dealing with fans, dealing with interactions. I’m always used as that scapegoat to be a villian. I don’t care. And that goes for everybody, bro. I don’t care what you think about me. My family knows me; my kids know me. That’s all that matters to me, bro.”
Harrell emphasized how he does not let these types of run-ins affect him and put it, “As far as me trying to wake up in the morning to feel the need of a fan or somebody else where they feel negatively about me, I’ll kill myself if I had to worry about those things. So it doesn’t faze me. I tell people all the time, you are talking a whole lot for somebody who paid to get in. I’m getting paid to be here,” per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Due to Joel Embiid’s foot injury, Harrell is receiving an extended on-court opportunity. Despite the altercation, his performance against the Hornets was among his best games of the season thus far. Harrell has not been the offensive spark it was hoped, he has plenty of time to turn things around. The strong play of Paul Reed has put some additional pressure on Harrell to pick it up sooner rather than later. There is no clear timeline for Embiid’s return yet, but the Louisville product should be focused on picking up his level of play as soon as possible.