Sixers: Montrezl Harrell and Georges Niang can’t play together

Philadelphia 76ers, Montrezl Harrell (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers, Montrezl Harrell (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

It’s one game into an 82-game season, but there are a lot of adjustments for head coach Doc Rivers and the Philadelphia 76ers to make. Christopher Kline wrote about some of them in his recent article about the game.

One, in particular, stood out to me and that’s the duo of Montrezl Harrell and Georges Niang. Niang was one of the best reserves for the Sixers last season and Harrell was an offseason steal based on the value of his contract.

Both had solid preseasons and are solid rotations in their own rights. However, in this first game of the season against the Boston Celtics, it’s become clear they can’t play together.

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The Sixers shouldn’t play Harrell and Niang together.

Offensively the fit is fine as Niang is a shooter and Harrell has traditional center skills. The big issue comes on the defensive end. There are two reasons why they don’t fit defensively moving forward.

The first issue is that they are both undersized for their position. Both players measure in at 6-foot-7 which is small for power forwards and especially centers. This makes it harder for them to defend the interior and rebound.

The other issue is that neither player can defend on the perimeter very well. This makes switching on defense especially hard for the Sixers when both are on the floor. With both playing at the same time, Philly gives up sizes, rebounding, and defensive versatility.

The easy solution is the play Paul Reed over Harrell which should be the number one option. The other option is to make sure that Harrell plays alongside either Tobias Harris or more preferably P.J. Tucker to help make up for his deficiencies.

Either way, Doc Rivers and the Sixers coaching staff can’t continue to play the two reserves together if they want to maintain a lead when Joel Embiid is on the bench.

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