The Lakers have a number of holes on their roster, which means that when their time comes to make their draft selection, they can simply take the best player available.
While the focus is obviously on the biggest names such as Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, and Jabari Parker, there is still a chance the Lakers’ pick falls outside of the top five.
If that were to happen, the Lakers will still have a number of options and one of the most intriguing is Louisville power forward, Montrezl Harrell. Though slightly undersized, Harrell possesses a number of attributes that would make him a great selection for the Lakers.
Harrell is an excellent athlete with a motor that never stops. What he lacks in height, he makes up for in athleticism and length.
He is listed at 6’8 but is probably closer to 6’7. However, he has a 7’3 wingspan which, combined with his explosiveness, helps to overcome his height. He is also a solid 235 pounds, so he isn’t being moved off the block easily.
Harrell has proven to be competent scoring both in the post and facing up. While he is not the most technically skilled yet, he has the potential to develop a number of solid moves that could work at the next level.
He also averages more than eight rebounds per game, including three offensive rebounds. Rebounds tend to be the stat that translates the best moving to the next level, so if nothing else, we know Harrell will hold his own on the glass.
He has also stepped up in a number of big games for the Cardinals this season. Averaging just under 18 points and seven rebounds in the AAC Tournament, to go along with a number of strong showings against ranked teams such as Memphis, Connecticut, and Cincinnati.
Did I mention that Harrell was undersized? Even in this new NBA where teams tend to go smaller, Harrell lacks the size you would like to see in a true power forward.
He is also raw offensively. At the college level, he is able to get buckets due to his elite athleticism, but at the next level, he will have to develop some moves to consistently get baskets. While he has the work ethic to do so, that doesn’t always mean it will happen.
Harrell could be a solid role player in the NBA, but that’s not what you want in a top 10-12 pick and it is unclear whether Harrell will develop to the point where he can take on a larger role in the NBA.
On a Louisville team filled with upperclassmen like Russ Smith, Luke Hancock, and Wayne Blackshear, Harrell simply has to stay in his role and play. The NBA will demand much more from him, and he has not proven that he can handle a larger load.
Harrell’s positives outweigh his negatives. While he does lack the size you would want in a true power forward, he has excellent length — something that Elton Brand was able to use to his advantage for years.
But, he also possess the excellent athleticism that has allowed Paul Millsap to thrive since he entered the NBA.
Harrell would be an excellent addition to a Lakers team that will likely need some competent big men next season.
Pau Gasol’s future is uncertain, Jordan Hill and Chris Kaman seem unlikely to return next season, and Ryan Kelly qualifies as a power forward in height only, which leaves Robert Sacre as the only big man.
Harrell would immediately become one of the best rebounders on the team, in addition to providing at least a little bit of rim protection for a weak defensive team.
If the Lakers pick falls in the 8-10 range, someone like Harrell would be an excellent fit for a Lakers team in need of post players. His energy and motor would fit right in with the young energetic Lakers, and his potential outweighs the risks at the point the Lakers would choose him at.
Harrell has potential match-ups with the likes of North Carolina State, Wichita State, Kentucky, and Duke, all of whom boast players who won’t back down from Harrell in any way.
A strong showing in this tournament would be big for Harrell, especially if he is able to show that he can handle players who are taller than him. Harrell has a chance to be the next Paul Millsap, and on the Lakers roster, that would be much needed.
Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure 2014 With Lakers Jordan Hill