Will exceed expectations: Montrezl Harrell
It might seem weird to say that Montrezl Harrell will exceed expectations. Harrell is already the defending Sixth Man of the Year and Laker fans are certainly expecting a high level of play out of the former Clipper.
However, there has been a bit of a bad rub towards Harrell because of his defensive efforts in the NBA Playoffs. Harrell was absolutely torched by a generational big man in Nikola Jokic and overall he proved to be a defensive liability off the bench in the playoffs.
Thus, the expectations of what Harrell is as a player has swung too far in the other direction. People are discounting him for the bully that he is down low and the elite bench presence that he is going to give the Lakers alongside Dennis Schroder.
This is mostly targeted at the defensive end, though. I truly do believe that Harrell is not as bad of a defender as he looked in the playoffs and two things factored into that. First was a problem of being misused and the other factor being that he was coming up against a generational big man, as we mentioned.
In the right system, Harrell has the athleticism to thrive and I think he will do so on the Los Angeles Lakers. Frank Vogel is a genius at drawing up defensive schemes and Harrell is going to be playing alongside more size on the Lakers.
There will be times where he is the primary center on the court but the Lakers also have the flexibility to play Anthony Davis or Marc Gasol alongside him. This is important as it allows the Lakers to utilize Harrell’s athleticism defensively while having that anchor to protect the rim.
The Clippers needed Harrell to be a rim protector off the bench as they did not have another traditional center on the roster besides Ivica Zubac. The Los Angeles Lakers will not have that problem.