Sixers: Pros and cons of Montrezl Harrell signing

Montrezl Harrell, Sixers (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Montrezl Harrell, Sixers (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Sixers signed former Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell on Tuesday, cementing the backup center spot behind Joel Embiid. Harrell, 28, is arguably the most productive backup center of the Embiid era and he will no doubt have the support of Doc Rivers, who coached him years ago with the LA Clippers.

While there have been mixed reviews of the signing around the fanbase, Harrell tends to make the most of his minutes in the regular season. He averaged 13.1 points in 23.1 minutes per game last season, splitting time between the Wizards and Hornets. His minutes will decrease playing behind Embiid, but his per-minute production may improve with the assistance of James Harden.

Here are some of the pros (and cons) the Sixers fanbase should expect with Harrell.

Pro to Sixers signing Montrezl Harrell: Offensive support

The Sixers’ second unit has loaded up on quality defenders (Matisse Thybulle, De’Anthony Melton, Danuel House), but there is a tangible lack of offensive firepower in that group. Harrell will help. He’s an elite finisher around the rim who should make fast friends with James Harden. Harrell can go up and finish above the rim, or he can put his back to the basket and score with more old-school flavor.

Just based on his resumé, Harrell is probably overqualified to be Embiid’s backup (not dissimilar to Andre Drummond last season). Daryl Morey has always prioritized talent over fit, but in this case, there’s plenty of overlap. The Sixers’ strong backcourt should provide Harrell with plenty of opportunities to feast at the rim. That Philadelphia was able to get him for such a small price speaks to the appeal of the city and the franchise’s competitive standing.

There’s also the matter of spot starting whenever Embiid inevitably has to sit. The Sixers won’t ride their star big man all 82 games, even if he’s healthy the whole season. While there’s plenty to be said about Paul Reed and Charles Bassey, neither is prepared to start NBA games. Harrell is an excellent stopgap.