With the 2015 NBA Draft fast approaching, we're look at some of the players who may be available for the Portland Trail Blazers at the number 23 selection. Up today is Montrezl Harrell.
A two year starter at Louisville, Harrell is projected as an under-sized power forward in the pros. At 6'7 and 255 pounds, he appears too small for power forward, but puts those concerns away with a nine foot reach and a 7'3 wingspan. He averaged 15.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in his final season with the Cardinals, including almost three offensive rebounds per game. He is an interior scorer, throwing down dunks with authority and cleaning the glass.
1) Terrific athlete. Capable of powerful dunks at multiple ranges, including alley-oops and putbacks. Amazing jumping ability for someone who is 255 pounds and can likely add more muscle. While at Louisville, it was rare to see anyone around his size beating him down the court, and can start fast breaks at the drop of a hat. Has a similar motor to Wesley Matthews, willing to throw around his body and constantly play at breakneck speed.
2) Solid around the rim. He was a feared dunker in college, and has the leaping ability to perform catch-up blocks on defense. He was also solid as a defender in the post, but did it through pure energy and effort, not relying on his size or strength.
3) Possible mid-range shooter. He significantly improved his shooting his junior season, and if that holds he can be a good catch-and-shoot jumper target.
1) Undersized. He has the want to play power forward with a small forward's height. Some scouts made comparisons to J.J. Hickson, but Harrell is even smaller than that. How much of a factor his reach and wingspan makes at the NBA level will be a huge factor on his final position.
2) Not a strong shooter. His mid-range shot improved in his junior season, but he is a zero from behind the arc, and even with improvement he only shot 60% from the free throw line. That is especially troubling for a player who lives around the rim and draws contact. Opposing teams will be able to simply foul him rather than letting him complete his dunks.
3) Poor decision making. Harrell often fell victim to double-teams with no idea how to escape them. His passing ability out of the post is virtually non-existent. His want to challenge every shot leaves him vulnerable to pump fakes and often leaves him well out of position on defense. Uses his aggressive approach to mask weaknesses in defensive awareness.
Floor and Ceiling:
His ceiling is an improved Kenneth Faried, a monster rebounder and dunk artist who can change the flow of the game.
His floor is Shelden Williams, a similarly undersized forward who never found a shooting touch or a good sense for the game.