Montrezl Harrell was the heart and soul of Louisville for the past three seasons. He plays with a passion and intensity that the Houston Rockets will certainly enjoy. The Rockets selected Harrell with the 32nd pick in this year’s draft. In college, Harrell helped lead the Cardinals to an NCAA championship. He was a contributor off the bench that year and blossomed into the leader of the team the following two years. He became a double-double machine and one of the best big men in the country.
Harrell was a terrific college player but fell to the second round of the NBA draft due to his lack of size. As a power forward, Harrell lacks the height coveted by NBA teams, as he is listed at 6’8”. NBA teams tend to be skeptical of undersized big men with the large amount of 7 footers in the league. Harrell may be undersized but he is still a terrific rebounder. He is an NBA worthy athlete and has a motor that you just cannot teach. He goes for the ball harder than everyone on the court and that is a gift in and of itself. Harrell is also a good finisher at the rim and developed a decent mid-range jump shot by the end of his collegiate career. He showed off his rebounding skills in the summer league, where he averaged 8 boards a game.
Graphic via fivestarbasketballrankings
Harrell was also very impressive on the offensive end during the summer league. He capped off the summer with a 24 point performance and averaged nearly 17 points per game overall. The offensive spark had to be a pleasant surprise for Houston, but free throw shooting is the one glaring weakness in his game. He shot just 50 percent from the line during the summer league and struggled with it during his time at Louisville. Overall, getting Harrell in the second round was a nice pick for the Rockets. Not only did he have first round talent, but power forward is a position of need in Houston. Terrance Jones is the likely starter in Houston, but Harrell may have a chance to contribute immediately. The only other power forward on their roster is Donatas Motiejunas who is a much different player than Harrell. He is a stretch forward and has the size of a center. Harrell’s summer league performance should be enough to earn him a chance to get minutes off the bench.
Look for him to be a hustle type player that brings energy off the bench when the team needs it. Most teams in the NBA have this type of player and Houston found theirs now in Harrell. He is walking into a good situation, with a chance to play on a contender.
Graphic via kentuckysportsradio