Sixers: Player Grades for every player at the All-Star break

Tobias Harris, James Harden, Joel Embiid, P.J. Tucker, Tyrese Maxey, Sixers (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
Tobias Harris, James Harden, Joel Embiid, P.J. Tucker, Tyrese Maxey, Sixers (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /
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Montrezl Harrell, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /


Written by: Jonathan Geib

The Philadelphia 76ers were strongly looking to upgrade their bench this off-season. One of the biggest areas they needed to upgrade was the backup center position, something we have talked about a lot recently as many are surprised that Daryl Morey did not make a move for that position at the trade deadline.

In the summer the only backup center for Joel Embiid on the roster was Paul Reed. With roster space available, Morey signed Montrezl Harrell to a 2-year, $5.2 million contract with a player option for the second year. Morey and James Harden both had familiarity with Harrell during their tenure together on the Houston Rockets and I am sure that relationship contributed to his signing.

In addition to the Rockets connection, Harrell previously played for Doc Rivers for a couple of seasons on the Los Angeles Clippers. Harrell is known as a gritty and tough player who gives it his all. Unfortunately so far this year in Philadelphia he has been disappointing and is not the backup center that was expected and needed.

Harrell is playing about 13 minutes per game and averaging a measly 5.7 points, and 2.8 rebounds per game, respectively. When he is on the floor he is too slow on defense and on offense he has not contributed much at all. His veteran presence and intensity are probably his best assets, which is not what the team needs in Embiid’s backup.

The 76ers need a force and a presence who is a threat on both ends of the floor and can give 10 minutes of reliability in the playoffs when Joel needs a rest. Morey, as well as others in the front office, thought the best option would be a former quality player who might have lost a step but still has skill in them that they can show in short bursts. That is what Harrell seemed to be, but it just has not worked out.

I hope Doc can acknowledge this mistake and go to Paul Reed in the playoffs. Reed is young but seems to be the best option on the roster right now.