We’re still a couple of months away from kicking the tires on the upcoming 2023-24 NBA season, but the Philadelphia 76ers already managed to have an affair with the injury bug, losing backup big man Montrezl Harrell to season-ending ACL and meniscus tear injuries he incurred while doing his offseason workouts.
It was an unfortunate development for the 29-year-old who was just re-signed by the 76ers to another one-year deal after arriving in Philly last year. Now, the former Sixth Man of the Year is suddenly facing a gloom setback to what was once an burgeoning career as one of the league’s most potent weapons off the bench just a few seasons ago.
How does Montrezl Harrell’s injury impact the 76ers next season?
Objectively speaking — and with no ill meaning whatsoever — the Harrell signing was one of the more perplexing moves this offseason by any team. While the energetic big man is undeniably still an NBA-level contributor, the 76ers were obviously not a great fit to mask his deficiencies while highlighting his strengths. In fact, this was fortified by the fact that the front office went ahead and signed Mo Bamba and re-upped Paul Reed in hopes of strengthening their safety net behind Joel Embiid.
Hence, basketball-wise, it’s quite tough to imagine a scenario wherein Harrell’s absence could leave the Sixers gasping for air. He was already expected to be an emergency player at most, and his injury will only solidify Reed’s stature as the team’s go-to big man option on the second unit and give Bamba the reps he need to prove himself as a viable rotation piece.
In the right situation, Harrell can still function as a dangerous rim threat who can score in bunches as a pick-and-roll partner. Him being undersized interjects the need to surround him with rangier and lankier defenders, but there’s a reason why he won the 6MOY plum recently. Hopefully, a team out there with the right tools can give him a chance to prove himself when he recovers — and he will.
But going back to the Philadelphia 76ers, the team is already well-equipped to handle his absence. Fortunately, they reportedly plan on keeping Harrell on the roster despite his injury. And while it may be largely due to the fact that his salary can be towed as a trade chip, it’s certainly a pleasant development that he will have the support of an NBA team and a world-class staff behind his recovery.
Here’s to Trez recovering soon and dominating!