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Examining Houston Rockets Montrezl Harrell Summer League Performance

Nov 16, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk (41) and Houston Rockets forward Montrezl Harrell (35) reach for a loose ball in the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 16, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk (41) and Houston Rockets forward Montrezl Harrell (35) reach for a loose ball in the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
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Moving on with the Summer League Performances mini-series SCS reflects on the best & worst exhibitions by Montrezl Harrell with Houston Rockets Summer team.

The always entertaining and powerful forward product of the University of Louisville Montrezl Harrell had some nice and strong showings in this year’s edition of the Summer League.

Harrell who had several stints with the Rockets D-League affiliate the Rio Grande Valley Vipers last season actually earned quite a few opportunities with the professionals as the 6’8” forward displayed his talents on court with the Rockets in 39 opportunities including one start in the 2015-2016 regular season as well.

Now Harrell, who averaged 3.6 Points Per Game in 9.7 Minutes Per Game with the Rockets last season, is hoping to garner a more steady sequence of games and minutes for the 2016-2017 season.

Despite the fact that this year Montrezl Harrell has already logged some experience in the NBA (as opposed to the Rockets other 2015 Draft Pick: Sam Dekker) the athletic player did little to show any sort of improvements or impressive skills and talents that might’ve catapulted him into Mike D’Antoni’s rotation.

Averages:

27.6 Minutes Per Game, 14.8 Points Per Game, 5.6 Rebounds Per Game, 2.0 Assists Per Game, 47.4 FG%

General Highlights:

There isn’t anything particularly new  Harrell has added to his game in the offseason; he is still the same explosive player that benefits from hustle plays especially grabbing offensive rebounds and finishing near the rim with put back dunks.

Harrell’s entire game is still very much limited to plays inside the paint and in the post but there’s no reason to believe that he can’t be an useful player for the Houston Rockets in the upcoming season, mostly when providing an energy spark coming off the bench.

Improvements:

As stated Montrezl Harrell didn’t demonstrate anything new in his tool box in this year’s edition of the Summer League.  And, even though he did try to expand his range and knocked down a few jump shots from the top of the key there’s still a long way to go until he becomes at least mildly reliable from that distance.

Nevertheless there’s no denying Harrell’s motor, explosiveness and strength when finishing plays. Whenever the Rockets need someone to do the dirty work and scrap with defenders Harrell is probably the guy to go to this season. Take a look at some nice stuff from him in the Summer League:

Harrell with the driving layup! pic.twitter.com/EXVuPGe8jq

— André Luiz (@dededeco) July 26, 2016

In this play Montrezl Harrell shows a pretty decent ability handling the basket and goes for the driving layup shot very nicely.

pic.twitter.com/5NqHvIGf5A

— André Luiz (@dededeco) July 26, 2016

Next a Harrell classic: the put back dunk. And even though he does take advantage of the mismatch, we have to appreciate the level of quickness he uses to rotate and free himself of the defender and the strength to finish the play.

What Needs Work:

He can’t shoot three-pointers. He just can’t. Throughout the Summer League Montrezl Harrell fired up 19 shots from beyond the arc and knocked down just 3. An abysmal 15.7 3P%.

Harrell’s poor 3P attempts pic.twitter.com/kIuc1M8FpP

— André Luiz (@dededeco) July 26, 2016

These are just 3 of the many opportunities he lost from beyond the arc. What’s worse, many of those shots actually didn’t even come close to the basket: airballs, barely grazing the rim, etc. I’m afraid It might just be something out of his range. Thus he might not able to add this shot to his arsenal.

Perhaps worst of all his free-throws aren’t any better with Harrell shooting just 56.6% from the charity stripe in the Summer League.

There’s some undeniable value to what Montrezl brings to the table in terms of hard-work, guts and hustle plays. However going forward if he wants to compete in a high level ever-changing NBA Harrell must seriously consider expanding his game specifically in terms of perimeter shots and free-throws.

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