Playing Style: Defense, Rebounding, Energy. and Physicality
Height w/ Shoes: 6' 7.5"
Wingspan: 7' 4.25"
Standing Reach: 9' 1"
NBADraft: 17th (Milwaukee)
ESPN (Chad Ford): 26th (San Antonio)
AZ Central (Paul Coro): 23rd (Portland)
Montrezl Harrell is a physical, inside presence on both ends of the court. He has a motor that won't quit, combined with a long, athletic physique and an aggressive demeanor; not to mention an improving jump-shot with fairly consistent consistent shooting ability out to mid-range.
During his time at Louisville, he shattered the all-time dunk record as a sophomore, further adding to his total before leaving after his junior year. He is also a very good defender. He was the 5th highest rated defender in college basketball his sophomore year, and was the 4th best in the ACC as a junior. In addition to his post scoring and defending, Harrell has worked to improve his jumpshot as well, becoming relatively consistent from mid-range, which will help keep the defense honest.
But even though he has improved his shooting, and even has inconsistent range out to the three point line, he doesn't want to transform his game to become someone he isn't, either. As Harrell himself recently pointed out, "I'm not going to go out there and shoot 100 3s to try to impress anybody or to say I can do it. I bring something special to the table, playing hard, playing every possession, never giving up on a play and just working my butt off day in and day out."
This is what Montrezl does best, and it's comforting to know that he won't try to follow in the footsteps of a player like Josh Smith. He knows his role, and knows how he can best help his team.
So, with all of these positives, why isn't he rated much higher?
Montrezl's biggest drawback is his lack of height for his position of strength. Harrell is undersized as a power forward, standing only around 6' 8" in shoes. In addition, he is a very poor free-throw shooter, and while he has improved in this regard each year, still only shot around 60% as a junior.
However, proponents of Harrell will point out that what he lacks in height he more than makes up in length, strength, and explosiveness. Montrezl had the third-highest wingspan measured at the combine...a ridiculous 7' 4.25". This should alleviate many of the concerns of his ability to rebound and defend in the post at the next level, as it gives him a standing reach of 9' 1", which is more than adequate for a power forward in the NBA, and only half an inch shorter than the reach of center Frank Kaminsky, who some have mocked to the Suns.
When combining his tremendous length with his strong NBA-ready physique, his explosive athleticism, his agility, and his aggression/physicality; his height deficit of an inch or two seems more like a non-issue.
Fit on the Suns
Montrezl is a great fit for a team like the Suns who play fast, and also loves to take advantage of smaller lineups. He is the perfect complement to a player like Markieff Morris, who is more of a skilled power forward than a banger down low. Not to mention, he is much more aggressive and plays with a chip on his shoulder, without losing his cool.
Harrell has been compared to players like Kenneth Faried and Ben Wallace, and while I think both of those are fair, I see him being much more offensively versatile than either one, with a higher ceiling in that regard as well.
He has improved his shooting, and even has inconsistent range out to the three point line, but he isn't trying to become someone he isn't, either. As Harrell himself recently pointed out, "I'm not going to go out there and shoot 100 3s to try to impress anybody or to say I can do it. I bring something special to the table, playing hard, playing every possession, never giving up on a play and just working my butt off day in and day out."
The Suns are in desperate need of another player who brings toughness and intensity on the floor, and Montrezl provides that. He plays with controlled anger and emotion on the court, and also isn't afraid to ruffle some feathers in the locker room when his teammates aren't living up to his expectations. On a young team with many players who either don't have the personality to be leaders on and off the court, or who simply aren't qualified due to their own missteps, Harrell could at least help in filling that vacancy.
In my opinion, believe Harrell warrants serious consideration from the Suns. I've often stated that if he was two inches taller, with arms two inches shorter, and the same standing reach, he'd likely be a top-10 pick. I think he is being tremendously undervalued due to his lack of height. After all, you don't rebound or block shots with the top of your head.
He has already begun his workout tour, and visited the Suns this past Friday. Even though he is generally being mocked later, I wouldn't be surprised if he is one of the players who goes much higher on draft night...quite possibly even at #13.