Montrezl Harrell's future

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by basketballholic, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. basketballholic

    basketballholic Contributing Member

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    It's early.

    But....I've seen enough of Harrell to make an evaluation of him and here it is.

    Firstly, I want to point out a few things that we know.

    1. Harrell was the 13th big and around the 8th to 10th power forward drafted in last summer's draft, depending on how you view guys like Kristaps, Kaminsky, etc. I personally put Okafor, WCS, and Multinov in the category of 5's only and everybody else in the category of 4's that can play the 5 to varying degrees. In Harrell's case he is mostly a 4. He could possibly turn himself into a Draymond Green type 5, but it is highly unlikely since he simply isn't a difference-maker nor will likely ever be a difference-maker on the glass.

    2. Harrell is probably one of the stronger bigs drafted this summer. He's got good muscle mass and a good body with plenty of athleticism. He does lack a little bit of length because of his height but his super-long arms and athleticism make up for most of the height issue.

    3. Harrell is lacking in key career-defining skills that bigs need to be star to superstar level players in this league. That's why he went in the second round behind so many other bigs.

    4. At this time, Harrell is a power big with his game defined by what he does around the basket. He has no offensive range and he has poor defensive perimeter skills as well. So, it's hard to see him ever playing the 3 for example. It's difficult to see Harrell playing any other position outside of the 4 except for some occasional mop-up minutes or situational minutes at the 5.

    5. Harrell is a hustler. At least so far he is.

    6. Harrell has exhibited decent basketball iq with his passing. He reverses the ball quickly, is a willing passer, and he's definitely doesn't hang onto the all. That's all good.

    ============================================

    Looking forward to the rest of this year, the summer, and next fall if Harrell is still with us, a lot of Harrell's upside will be determined by what he does this summer.

    There are three key areas that bigs, especially power forwards have to be above average at to possibly be a positive difference-maker at the NBA level. They are:

    1. Rebounding
    2. Defense
    3. Shooting/floor spacing or post-up offense

    These are the three key skill areas when it comes to bigs. You may want to add playmaking/ball-handling but that skill only helps good bigs become great bigs. It won't help average to below average bigs become good bigs. So I don't consider ball handling/playmaking as a key skill for bigs since the overwhelming majority of them do not handle the ball.

    In regards to these three skill areas I'm going to opine on Harrell.

    1. Rebounding - I see no reason to believe that Harrell will ever become anything other than an average rebounder. Rebounding is one of the skills that translates from college. He was not a good rebounder in college. And he has shown no propensity early for being a good rebounder at the NBA. And when you look at his video you understand why. I think he'll improve marginally as a rebounder but I see no possibilities of him becoming a good-to-great rebounder. Contrast Harrell to a guy like Paul Millsap, another long-ago second round pick. Millsap was a dominant rebounder in college. And he came into the NBA rebounding his butt off and never stopped. Harrell doesn't have that. He won't ever be more than an average NBA rebounder and he'll have to work to achieve that.

    2. Defense - In my opinion, Harrell has shown good defensive potential. I like his combination of quick feet, movement, and muscle mass. He's a big, strong guy. But he moves well. The second thing about his D is he seems to know where to be. He seems to understand scheme and he seems to have a good amount of bball iq. He may not always get to the spot, but he knows where he's supposed to go. I like that a lot. And I see this is a possible skill that he can hone to a very high level.

    Harrell is an anomaly in my opinion in that he doesn't have great rebounding potential but he does have good defensive potential. Usually guys that have defensive potential also have good rebounding potential and are already good rebounders. Not the case with Harrell.

    3. Shooting/Offense - He seems to have good form on his jumper. It just isn't going down. But it doesn't appear to me that he has major mechanical issues at this point that would cost him a couple years of re-building his jumper and then getting the reps in to get it strong (ala MKG and others). So, I'm intrigued by his shooting potential. I think he has the potential to become a good-to-great shooter. He has shown no significant post-up game and isn't likely to develop one since he is a shorter big going up against mostly longer bigs that can affect his shots down low a lot more, especially when they can put a body on him and take away a lot of his spring.


    My conclusion: For Harrell to be a plus big in the NBA he has to become a great defender and shooter. IF he becomes great at just one of those two skills he can become a good role player. If he doesn't become great in either skill then he probably won't be more than just a bit player in the NBA. But if he becomes a great defender at the 4 along with a plus shooter from distance then he's got a chance to be a starter/difference-making player and could become a star.

    So, this is what I'm going to be watching going forward with Harrell, how he develops with his D and his shooting. And he's at a critical stage of his career from now until next fall and training camp. This next few months and on into the summer is when Harrell has really got to tackle these two key skills and become very, very good at them. He's got to get even faster defensively and he's got to becomes a knock-down shooter.

    And the key time is the summer between his rookie and sophomore seasons which is coming up.

    What I think Harrell should do this summer if he wants to become great:

    1. 1000 catch-and-shoot 3-point shots every day with a shooting coach tweaking his shot, from his footwork to his release.

    2. 500 in rhythm free throw shots, just like he'd do in the game.

    3. 500 quick catch-and-shoot free throw shots. Where he catches like a hot potato and pushes it up and in. Emphasis on quickly with the shooting coach mixing it up with him with distractions, etc.

    4. Working with a defensive coach of the ilk of Chuck Hayes for at least 2 hard hours on his defense, moving his feet, sliding, post defense, chasing on the perimeter, and getting over/around screens quickly.

    5. At least l hour of video a day with his defensive coach going over defensive play. And enough video time with his shooting coach for him to observe other good big shooters doing the things the shooting coach is teaching him to do.

    This is just basketball work that I'm outlininig above. That's around 3-4 hours for the 1000 3-balls depending on how precise he is with his time, and another 3 hours or so for the free throws. So when you throw in the defensive work, that's a full day right there. And he'll still need to do some conditioning work with running and lifting beyond that.

    But...if he put in this work with the proper coaching this summer I'm confident that he would blossom as a 3&D big man and he would propel himself towards stardom.

    The odds of him doing all this???? Probably 10%. Most players simply aren't going to work this hard from June to September to make this happen. But I'll know next fall when I see him ball. I'll be able to see it. Looking forward to the rest of this year, the summer, and next fall if Harrell is still with us, a lot of Harrell's NBA future will be determined by what he does this summer.


    This general evaluation is where I start with bigs. I left out a lot of detail i nthe interest of time and space. But I wanted to put this out there now so you'll understand when I post about Harrell next season where I'm coming from and why I suggest either trading or holding on to him at that time. ;)
     
    #1 basketballholic, Jan 13, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2016
  2. ibm

    ibm Member

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    not sure he's got a future per se.

    he's a 2nd rounder. most likely will be a journeyman.

    so far i've not seen anything of significance in him.
     
  3. Pen15clubber

    Pen15clubber Member

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    Should use him tonight boys will be tired #yeardme #electrolytes #predator #likes2fightguy
     
  4. Bobbythegreat

    Bobbythegreat Member

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    I look at Harrell as a perfect replacement for Jones, he's one of those easy to find athletic tweeners but I think he's got a bit of upside due to him having crazy energy AND a shot that might come along. He'll be one to watch the next few years.
     
  5. cheke64

    cheke64 Member

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    Looks like he has a nice midrange jumper hit they got him practicing 3 pointers. Making him obsolete is what we like to do
     
  6. Deckard

    Deckard Contributing Member

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    Enjoyed the read, Holic. I'll be watching Harrell to see if he improves enough in the areas you mentioned to garner more minutes as this season plays out. While there isn't much practice time during the season, obviously, ambitious players still put in extra minutes working on their game when they can. There's always the chance that the "light bulb" will turn on for the guy and his game bumps up a notch in time to make at least some impact during the playoffs, enough to garner some minutes, assuming luck with the "i" word keeps the Rocks from playing him simply because we have to. Whether he puts in the work during the off-season depends on both Montrezl and the organization. I agree that this summer is critical for him.

    You mentioned how valuable spending time learning from someone like Chuck would be for Montrezl. Couldn't agree more, and it's yet another example of why I was so pissed that Morey couldn't manage to hang on to him. Harrell isn't the only player who could have benefited from Hayes being on the bench. That's putting aside how the Rocks could really use him on the court in games, depending on the situation/matchups. I still dream of Chuck's massive picks, his defense, and his passing out of the high post.
     
  7. Pass 1st shoot 2nd

    Pass 1st shoot 2nd Contributing Member

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    You're right as Harrell is presently performing. That's not the point of this post, though.
     
  8. JoeBarelyCares

    JoeBarelyCares Contributing Member

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    Good analysis.
     
  9. ThatBoyNick

    ThatBoyNick Member

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    Seems to have low potential due to his sever lack of rebounding, no post up skills, undersized, and as of yet no consistency to his shooting(of course, he can develop a shot and a little post up game as time goes by). Carl Landry type player(maybe better 1on1 D) if he reaches his peak IMO. And Carl Landry a very nice player in his prime, but not much more then a average starter or good bench player on a good team.
     
  10. CertifiedTroll

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    Bbhollic you are an enigma to me. I can never tell what I should or shouldn't take away from your writtings. That being said, I enjoyed your write up.
     
  11. JVL713

    JVL713 Contributing Member

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    <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Come chill wit me an my brother <a href="https://twitter.com/youngmichael_">@youngmichael_</a> tonight <a href="https://t.co/RHjQaFCI91">pic.twitter.com/RHjQaFCI91</a></p>&mdash; Montrezl Harrell (@MONSTATREZZ) <a href="https://twitter.com/MONSTATREZZ/status/687696402269532161">January 14, 2016</a></blockquote>
    <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

    Preparation for the future starts tonight at the Hive! Then more preparation afterwards at V Live!

    No need to rest up for the Cavs!
     
  12. basketballholic

    basketballholic Contributing Member

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    Hayes has always been one of my favorite players from the time he was struggling to make it as a rookie. In my opinion, that dude is a basketball genius. His bball iq is simply off the charts. I still remember watching that game live where he literally wadded KG up and threw him in the trash can. He basically had KG in the fetal position by the end of the game and single-handedly won that game by constantly stripping KG and disrupting every play they tried to run to KG.

    Always thought it was hilarious when we'd bring him in and the opponent was so stupid that they'd go right at him with a post-up. Hayes would just annihilate the play and then it was a huge game within the game to see how many possessions it would take to break the opponent's stubbornness of going at him.

    Offensively, nobody thought he could play but he was virtually unstoppable from the high post. He could find the cutters better than all big man in the league except for perhaps the Gasols. And with that passing, and standing in the circle, he had this nack for catching his defender taking a step outside the paint area to re-establish a new 3-seconds. Hayes would catch them doing that and make a lightning move to the rim. Every time I saw that play it just made me laugh. All 6'4" of him, Mr. Stubby, going to the rim against all these monsters by simply using his head and catching them out of position, knowing they were going to have to step out of position, and knowing the exact spot in the circle where he had to get position to force that reset to occur. The dude is crazy smart on the court.

    I think he'd make a tremendous big man's coach. Defensively with his footwork, and his ability to read plays, he'd be a great teacher. And offensively he's so smart. He may even be head coaching material down the line somewhere once he gets some coaching experience.

    =========================================


    One more point I want to make about youngsters. It's not just important that they work hard. But they have to do the right kinds of work. Harrell could do one of 3 things this summer:

    1. He could goof around, get in the gym 2-4 days a week, do some weights and running, and just meander around in developing his skill set. If he does this he'll come back next fall, probably a little heavier and a little slower and we will be able to tell he's on a downhill career trajectory.

    2. He could get in the gym and run and pump iron ad nauseum and put on another 15 pounds of muscle mass while practicing all sorts of dunks nad alley-oops (finishing moves) and come back looking like Elton Brand. Some guys do stuff like this. They won't address the parts of their game that they need to address. They'll simply fool around with parts of their game that they are already good at. While it would help Harrell to be stronger and while the dunk practice could help him become a better finisher...those are areas of the game where he's already a plus. He'll only be able to marginally improve those areas. And if he works on those things and neglects the key skill areas, then he's going to come back next summer with the same deficits only now the whole league knows his weaknesses and can play him for his weaknesses.

    3. He can dedicate himself to becoming a great shooter and great defender. He can get in the gym with the right coaching direction and really go to town on turning up a couple skills to peak levels.


    Hopefully he does #3. But you never know with these guys. You just never know. However, come next fall, I'm 100% sure we'll know a whole lot more about his future.
     
  13. rocketsmetalspd

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    Harrell can be the next Rodman: Rebound / Defensive specialist.
     
  14. basketballholic

    basketballholic Contributing Member

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    Sorry about that. I'm putting this up early because we've already seen enough of Harrell's actual play to know his basic strengths and weaknesses. I like to track players progress from the time we draft them. I think there are ways to tell early what a player is going to become and when his trade value peaks and ebbs and whether or not he's going to be a difference making player that fits our system.

    The thing is.....we have probably still not seen what our complete system looks like when we have a floor-spreading 4 and a playmaking 1, with both players being plus defenders. We've never got our complete system in place because we haven't had the right parts yet. We've had small glimpses of our system when Carlos was here playing the 4 and making our offense just plum electric. And we've survived and thrived without having that definitive second playmaker out there since Parsons signed away. But we've never put it all together. And so I'm looking at these guys on our team, young guys in light of our system, what it's going to take for them to be successful here, and be a positive, difference-making starter, role-player, or possibly even star for us.

    Harrell has potential. He needs to exploit and build major building blocks on his potential this summer.
     
  15. basketballholic

    basketballholic Contributing Member

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    Wishful thinking here. There is absolutely zero indication that Harrell is going to become a Rodman level (top 5 all time) rebounder.
     
  16. Ns575

    Ns575 Member

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    "no post up skills"? Have you watched the man play? He has a great post up game with up and unders and spins. and you don't grab a rebound with your head dude, his wingspan compensates for it.
     
  17. ThatBoyNick

    ThatBoyNick Member

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    ....

    Two or 3 spin moves total in garbage time doesn't make him a reliable post player, and he literally is an awful rebounder. I know how wingspan and vertical work, he still can't rebound.
     
  18. Bobbythegreat

    Bobbythegreat Member

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    He probably hasn't seen him play very much, maybe a few minutes of garbage time and the little he's played with the Rockets but I'd bet that's all he's seen of him play and that's what he is basing his opinion on.
     
  19. Ns575

    Ns575 Member

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    Didn't know moves on Speights in the first quarter of his 2nd NBA career was garbage time but my bad.
     
  20. ThatBoyNick

    ThatBoyNick Member

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    Lmao

    Iv watched every single Rocket game this season, and every single Dleague game. Iv seen as much of Harrell as anybody here(unless they watched him in college).

    You guys are off your rockers if you think he can rebound or is a "great post player" due to like 3 post moves total, 1 against Speights a slow 3rd string big man, and another one was in garbage time, I can't remember exactly because I don't keep track of his every shot like you astoute true Rocket fans do.

    Seriously though, he is a bad rebounder, and far from being "great post player".
     
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