With the Los Angeles Clippers without their top star, Montrezl Harrell needs to impress while being inserted into the starting lineup.
Montrezl Harrell has not had much trouble taking advantage of opportunities in his first two full seasons as an NBA professional.
The issue? Those opportunities being short-lived.
As a member of the Houston Rockets, Montrezl Harrell was stuck in a frontcourt logjam. When an injured teammate ahead of him in the rotation would occur, he was an adequate substitute.
Trez produced positive results. Thus, it was sometimes an odd mystery when he would string together multiple strong performances in big minutes and then receive an unexpected “DNP – CD” in the box score.
Harrell played in 31 total games for the Rockets in which he received at least 20 minutes per contest. Of those 31 performances, he logged 10+ points 21 times and 10+ rebounds 10 times. As previously stated, Trez produces when given the green light.
Perhaps the biggest opportunity of Montrezl’s young career has recently arrived.
The Los Angeles Clippers have lost five-time NBA All-Star power forward to an MCL sprain. It is anticipated that Griffin will miss approximately two months of action.
Since the injury, the Clippers have played two games. Due to the circumstances, Montrezl Harrell has started in consecutive games — his first two appearances in the starting lineup as an L.A. Clipper.
In both outings, Trez has played a combined total of 45 minutes and 15 seconds. This is a major change from receiving spot minutes over the past month and a half of the start of the new season.
Assuming Blake Griffin does miss a significant amount of time, Montrezl Harrell must remain ready. Now is the time to prove himself — not only in the NBA, but to the Los Angeles Clippers’ Front Office. They need to know if he is starter material or if they need to look elsewhere (delegating Trez to the bench and/or bring in outside resources to man the power forward spot in Griffin’s absence).
If it is anything like Harrell’s time with the Houston Rockets, the four-position will be in good hands. It will be different focusing on the power forward spot rather than primarily being a center, as he was for Houston, but the need is the same. L.A. needs the paint to be contained on defense while easy buckets and board clean-up is essential on the offensive end.
Another hidden gem for Montrezl’s NBA development is receiving big minutes while playing alongside the Clippers’ All-Star center, DeAndre Jordan.
Jordan entered the league as a very raw prospect, much like Harrell. DeAndre worked hard, crafted his defensive presence and other key components, and became the All-Star force he is today.
Injuries are never nice, but if this grand opportunity is seized by Montrezl Harrell, perhaps another NBA All-Star will be born in Los Angeles.