Reigning six man of the year Montrezl Harrell is a force on the offensive end. His tenacious play to go along with his nonstop hustle makes him a threat at all times. However, he has shown disgruntlement about his playing time during the season. Nonetheless, this is an unusual year being that practices aren’t occurring as frequent as before. With limited to no practices it’s difficult to find working rotations especially with new players on the roster.
The Lakers may have the most depth among every team in the league. They have proved that claim after playing multiple games without LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Now with Davis back in the line up, the front court has different variants. Davis, Marc Gasol, Montrezl Harrell and Andre Drummond are all listed as either centers or power forwards. Not to mention that LeBron and Kyle Kuzma can both slide down to the power forward spot at any time. With so much talent, it’s difficult to find time for everyone especially because each player brings a different skill set when out on the floor.
In AD’s second game back, Montrezl Harrell was a healthy scratch for the Lakers. This was kind of bizarre in the fact that Harrell has been killing it off the bench for LA. For the season he is averaging 14 points and 6.6 rebounds on 62.1% shooting from the field. It wasn’t noticed until ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy gestured towards Harrell’s absence in the second quarter. Once he pointed that out, Laker fans also questioned the move wondered if he injured himself the game before.
Harrell gave his thoughts on not playing in Saturday’s matchup following Monday’s victory against the Orlando Magic.
“I’m a competitor, I want to be out there on the floor,” Harrell said on Monday. “It’s just one of those things you have to learn to deal with, man, but I’ve been in this position before. I came in this league and played behind two centers in Dwight and Nene in Houston, and I’ve been around veteran guys who taught me how to take this game as a pro. I’ve had great veterans throughout this league in guys like Trevor Ariza and Lou Will.”
However, Trez’s past may not be the best analogy for what’s happening in the present. In fact Frank Vogel wanted to experiment different line ups and took advantage of playing against the Dallas Mavericks in back-to-back games. Vogel has expressed this this philosophy throughout the entire year. As stated earlier, with limited to practices available, it’s difficult to create chemistry without being on the floor together. Instead they are using games as practices to see different looks with different players and sets seeing which unit works best together. This is especially important with the playoffs looming.
This isn’t entirely new for the Lakers as they did the same thing in last year’s playoff run. Deciding to go with the matchup scenarios rather than playing everyone. This was evident in the second round match up against the Houston Rockets where both Javale McGee and Dwight Howard saw little to no minutes. This was because Houston played small and was hurting Los Angeles with their perimeter play. Once Frank Vogel tweaked the line ups and made adjustments by moving Markieff Morris to the starting line up and Davis starting at the center spot, the Lakers won the series 4-1.
Same thing happened in the Denver Nuggets series, McGee and Howard played more in order to slow down Nikola Jokic. This worked to perfection as the Lakers won that series 4-1 as well. And last but not least, in game six of the NBA Finals, Vogel decided to start Alex Caruso to add another ball handler and perimeter defender on the floor to which worked to perfection.
With Montrezl Harrell buying into the winning mentality and willingness to sacrifice for the greater good, it just makes the team that much better. Especially when everyone swallows their pride in efforts to win a championship.
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