Philadelphia 76ers: How Montrez Harrell’s signing affects Paul Reed

Montrezl Harrell (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Montrezl Harrell (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers recently made a move in the NBA’s dormant period. The team had the Montrez Harrell shoe drop, with his signing on September 6th, 2022, for the first of a few impending moves coming for this roster. The Sixers need to cut two roster spots to get down to 15. This move affects Paul Reed’s possibility of being a part of the rotation.

How Harrell’s signing affects the Philadelphia 76ers’ young big man.

Reed was one of the bright spots in last year’s ugly second-round loss to the Miami Heat. Reed played as one of the first two players off the bench. His contributions entailed defending the rim, defending the perimeter, screening and rolling, running the floor hard, rebounding, and finishing. With the Sixers additions this offseason, Reed was going to slide down the totem pole no matter what. Montrez Harrell is a player in competition with Reed for minutes.

Harrell can do all of the tasks that Reed executed in his time in the playoff rotation. Both forwards are legitimate candidates to play the power forward or center position. Whether the lineup is a small ball one or closer to a traditional lineup. They are both more suited for a small lineup. With that outlook, it seems it’s a 50/50 shot as to who we will receive consistent backup big man minutes.

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That logic takes into account Reed being called for by fans and media, head coach Doc Rivers cramping over the Paul Reed victory tour, and being a serviceable rotation player with two months of NBA game experience under his belt. Reed added a key component to the Sixers bench last year and that was NBA athleticism. Paul Reed is the first Sixers backup center in the Embiid era to not post a minus -5 or more in the postseason.

What I have not mentioned yet but is known is that Harrell thrived under Doc Rivers’ coaching. In his three-season stint (2017-2020) with the Clippers, Harrell never averaged less than 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 17 minutes per game. Harrell is an incredibly efficient scorer, shooting in the 58th percentile or higher under Rivers. Of course, Harrell’s crowning achievement was being the 2019-20 Sixth Man of the Year.

Harrell has a relationship with Doc Rivers, James Harden, and Daryl Morey.  These types of highly influential people in your corner give you an edge in winning the job. The problem with this thinking is that it can be very rigid and closed-minded. It’s not a campaign for it to be Reed’s spot as the backup 4 or 5 over Harrell. Mainly it is to raise the idea that both guys can be deployed in bench lineups together or as a fill-in starts as the power forward.

Given the history of Doc Rivers with younger/unproven guys and the narrative around it, it is likely to see Harrell get ahead in this race. A decent blow to the depth and versatility of this now-deep Philadelphia 76ers team.

The experimentation of Reed and Harrell is certainly worth trying out in the regular season. Will Doc Rivers heed the conversations about Paul Reed being helpful? Maybe, just maybe. The team has up until at least the trade deadline on February 9, 2023, to do their due diligence with Paul Reed.

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