With the Center position up for grabs, should the San Antonio Spurs consider offering a contract to restricted free agent Montrezl Harrell?
If there’s one thing the San Antonio Spurs are sorely lacking in their frontcourt, it’s athleticism. Even with the acquisition of Chimezie Metu in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Silver and Black still need a veteran addition to support this group.
Restricted free agent Montrezl Harrell joined the Los Angeles Clippers in the blockbuster trade that sent Chris Paul to Houston last summer. With an increased role following the departure of Blake Griffin, Harrell evidenced his true potential as an athletic two-way threat.
While very talented in their own rights, LaMarcus Aldridge or Pau Gasol aren’t the most limber athletes on the court. While strong and instinctively sound, both big men often struggle to keep up with agile foes on the low block.
This is where Harrell would shine for San Antonio. At just 24 years-old, Harrell has proven himself as a reliable rim protector and dynamic athlete with strong instincts on both sides of the floor. After a season under elite defensive center DeAndre Jordan, Harrell has taken strides in improving his all-around game. His lateral quickness at the PF/C positions is an invaluable asset for a team competing in the uptempo Western Conference.
Pairing a wicked vertical and great rim-running ability, Harrell creates opportunities for himself by attacking the basket and scoring on second-chance opportunities. His numbers were through the roof in spite of his limited action. Per 36 minutes, Harrell averaged a killer stat line of 23.3 points, 8.5 rebound, 1.4 blocks and one steals. In an increased role, Harrell’s production could skyrocket if aided by San Antonio’s playmakers and motion-centric offense.
Adding Harrell to the lineup alleviates pressure from LaMarcus Aldridge in many ways. With a second rim protector down low, Aldridge can better preserve his energy for the increased offensive load he carries night-to-night. The implementation of Harrell would also relieve Aldridge of some rebounding duties, which helps to preserve the 12-year veteran’s body.
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More than anything, Harrell provides a hustle and energy that San Antonio hasn’t seen from their big men in years. His motor is his greatest asset and his instincts near the rim are an impalpable quality that allows him to fit with any team. Harrell is the kind of big man that’d compliment both Dejounte Murray and Rudy Gay, who were San Antonio’s leaders on the open floor this year. Adding a big man to that tandem would leave a mark on San Antonio’s fastbreak production, an area that they’ll need to improve upon to compete with the league’s best.
Whether it be as a starter or a contributor off the bench, Harrell brings an intensity to the table that’d mesh easily with San Antonio’s core. He shouldn’t command much money in the open market, as most teams wouldn’t value him as highly because of his size and lack of floor spacing. Nevertheless, Los Angeles will likely try to retain him with Jordan on the move.
Without much cap space to work with, the San Antonio Spurs must target cheaper players with high upside to contribute in the coming season. Fielding an offer to an energetic big man is something to consider for a team in need of some vitality in the frontcourt.