Montrezl Harrell was rewarded with a new contract this past offseason, and has shown the NBA exactly why he deserved that and more.
There is not one player throughout the NBA who is outplaying their contract more than former Cardinal star, Montrezl Harrell. Through 13 games into the 2018-19 season, playing for the Los Angeles Clippers, Harrell is averaging an incredible 14.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2 blocks per game in just 23 minutes, all while coming off of the bench.
This summer Harrell went into free agency after playing out his rookie NBA deal between the Rockets and the Clippers, and many expected him to sign a monster deal. Though money was tight through the market, Harrell had exploded onto the scene down the stretch of the season for the Clippers, finishing the year averaging 11. and 4, while just playing 16 minutes per night and shooting an incredible 63.5% from the field (good enough to finish 3rd in the NBA).
But with money being tight, Harrell didn’t get the deal he thought he deserved. After being on the market for over a month and a half, Harrell decided to re-up with the Clippers, who had plenty of minutes to offer after losing star center DeAndre Jordan to the Mavs, signing a two year, $12 million contract.
While earning $6 million a year is not shabby by any means, there are several names throughout the NBA making two, three, and even four times that amount. Entering the 2018-19 season, Harrell ranked as the 190th highest paid player in the NBA, with names like Davis Bertans, Darrell Arthur, JaMychal Green, Wesley Johnson, and Nemanja Bjelica all making more than him.
That has clearly motivated Harrell this season, and currently there’s probably not a more dominant bench big man in the NBA.
Through the last 10 games, Harrell – who again is coming off the bench for the Clippers – has scored in double figures 9 times, and has grabbed 6 or more rebounds, eight times. Through that stretch Harrell has dropped 30 points, 26 points, and 23 points against the Rockets (his former team), Bucks (who currently are one of the best teams in the NBA) and the Warriors respectively, helping to lead the Clippers to victories in all three games.
Simply said – Harrell is on fire and quickly has outplayed his new contract. Last night in a matchup against the NBA’s best team and defending champions, the Golden State Warriors, Harrell was once again unstoppable.
His scoring, shot blocking, rebounding, and endless energy helped the Clippers pull out their biggest win of the season, knocking off the Warriors 121-116 in OT.
One of the biggest plays of the night came in the third quarter, when Harrell swatted Draymond Green’s shot off the backboard and then proceeded to stare him down like a mad man.
His game changing performance led ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, one of the country’s most colorful TV personalities to compare Harrell to a former NBA legend. Ignore the mispronunciation of his name – we can all admit we’ve mispronounced his name a time or two)
Who’s going to tell Stephen A. Smith he’s wrong – because it certainly won’t be me.
He is powerful, explosive, jumps out of the gym, brings enough size to be a dominating power forward and in this day and age even an undersized center, just like Rodman back in the 90’s. The enthusiasm and complete recklessness that he plays with strikes fear into just about any opponent’s heart, and the fact that he’s doing all of this off of the bench, for just $6 million a year is a complete travesty.
While many have compared Rodman to Draymond Green for his ability to guard guards, forwards, and centers, while grabbing rebound after rebound and pissing off more players than anyone in the last 10-15 years, it’s Harrell whose build, demeanor and skill match more with the five time NBA champion.
Even with veteran center Marcin Gortat on board for what was supposed to be a “rebuilding year” the Clippers and head coach Doc Rivers will continue to have a hard time leaving one Montrezl Harrell on the bench as. No one, and I mean no one, is doing what Harrell is doing in the amount of time that he’s being given on the floor.
While the Dennis Rodman clone isn’t getting paid his worth now, as the NBA continues to grow and the bad contracts that were inked several years back when the salary cap jumped, you can best believe it is only a matter of time before Trezl gets the contract he has undoubtedly deserved.