The Dallas Mavericks hold the 21st and 52nd pick of the NBA Draft on June 25th and with holes up and down the roster could go in any direction.
Most mock drafts have the Mavericks taking a point guard – certainly an area of need – and the Mavericks reportedly have liked what they’ve seen from Duke’s Tyus Jones, but it’s hard to predict the picks before them and Dallas may end up taking the best player available.
If that’s the case Louisville PF Montrezl Harrell could definitely be in play.
Mar 29, 2015; Syracuse, NY, USA; Louisville Cardinals forward Montrezl Harrell (24) handles the ball against Michigan State Spartans forward Matt Costello (10) during the second half in the finals of the east regional of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Montrezl Harrell: PF – Louisville, JR
- 21-years old
- 6’7.5″, 253 lbs
- 2014-15 Averages: 15.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, 56.6 FG%, 1.2 blocks
- Explosive Athlete
- Relentless motor
- Terrific defender and rebounder
- Strong, finishes well in traffic and through contact
- Improved offensive game
The level of interest Dallas has in Montrezl Harrell depends on their pursuit of LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency and the efforts to re-sign Al-Farouq Aminu, but there’s no doubt they could use a player like him.
What sticks out most about Harrell is his incessant energy. He just doesn’t take a play off. And when you take into account that his effort is combined with explosive athleticism, a 7’4″ wingspan, and a 253-lb frame it’s not exactly shocking that he nearly averaged a double-double for the Cards in 2014-15.
But forget his 15.7 points a game scored last season for a minute. Harrell would help shore up two areas of need for the Mavericks with his work on the glass and his tenacious defense.
Harrell averaged 9.2 rebounds his junior year, good for second-most in the talented ACC. He’s a bit undersized, but really, what does that even mean anymore? LeBron James and Draymond Green have been the two biggest guys on the floor for long stretches of the NBA Finals.
Today’s power forwards are mobile, versatile defensively, and can stretch the floor. Harrell doesn’t possess a reliable outside jumper yet, but mobile? Absolutely. Versatile defensively? You bet.
Harrell has the foot speed to contain ball handlers in the pick and roll, and the length and strength to hold his own in the low post. He’s also a good rim protector as a second defender. Watch how he uses his wide frame to close off a passing lane while he patiently waits and times his jump to swat away an attempt from Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein.
And not to sound like a broken record, but his energy and effort help him make plays even when out of position. Now, to be fair, he’s often out of position by his own doing. But watch how he blocks a shot from behind after falling for a pump fake, then turns defense into offense by sprinting down court for an alley-oop finish.
His fundamentals need refining but with some coaching and experience Harrell could be a fine NBA defender.
On the other end, Harrell is more of a work in progress. But he has shown improvement. He has soft, reliable hands and can finish with touch inside or through contact in traffic. Against bigger players he likes to face up in the post and use his quick first step and wide body to get a shot off, but has the strength to back down a defender into a jump hook as well.
Harrell is also great in transition, running the floor and finishing above the rim, and though his mechanics still need attention he has progressed quite a bit with his mid-range game.
He won’t be a big scorer in the NBA but could contribute the same ways Brandan Wright did off the bench for the Mavericks.
- Unreliable jumper, not much of a threat
- Footwork in the post
- Size concerns
The concerns here are warranted. Though his jumper has improved Harrell still won’t stretch the floor, his height could be a problem even with the freakish wingspan, and his fundamentals are not sound.
But these are the reasons he’s projected to be a late first rounder rather than a lottery pick. And he’s shown enough to surmise that he will continue to work and improve. If he’s on the board at #21 the Mavericks should take a hard look at him.
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