PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia 76ers used to have too few reliable backups for Joel Embiid. Now, they may have too many. Doc Rivers has both Paul Reed and Montrezl Harrell at his disposal, giving the Sixers a ferocious presence off the bench.
Reed has played more than Harrell this preseason (both in terms of total minutes and minutes per game) but Harrell played a lot in the Sixers’ final preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets. Harrell’s 14 points, six rebounds and two blocks helped Philly beat his former team by a score of 99-94 to remain unbeaten in the exhibition games.
Doc Rivers said that the backup center spot will be “fluid” as the season rolls along, saying that Harrell and Reed will both get their minutes. “There will be times when one will play, there will be times when they both will play and one will play the four at times with Joel. So, it’s good to have them both,” he said. He completed Harrell’s energy after another night of pumping up the Wells Fargo Center crowd.
“He just plays with great energy. That’s who he is. Plays hard, plays with energy.” – Doc Rivers on Montrezl Harrell https://t.co/bNRqHHCBXW
— Sam DiGiovanni (@BySamDiGiovanni) October 13, 2022
Harrell, who scored in double figures for the third straight preseason game, has shown his strong interior scoring often. His ability to get downhill and power through the defense and to the hoop gives the Sixers an offensive boost. Meanwhile, Reed is close to a traditional lob threat and a strong, versatile defender. They come together with their different skill sets with the same goal: to provide quality minutes while Embiid rests.
“We just go out and do what we’re supposed to do, man,” Harrell said. “We’re just trying to keep the energy at a high level when big dog [comes] off the floor. We try to make sure that the play stays consistently, make sure we’re boxing out, rebounding the ball, making shots difficult on the defensive end of the floor and that we’re finishing for those guys at the offensive end, simple as that. We don’t come in trying to fill big dog’s shoes.”
While Harrell got 16 minutes of action, Reed only got six. Rivers explained after the game that part of that decision was to get Harrell, who missed their previous game, some more action. His mixing and matching of the lineups speak to a bigger trend that he plans to have for the team.
Doc Rivers says this will be more of a stagger group between Embiid, Harden, Maxey and Harris, with the goal to keep two of them on the court as much as possible. Doesn't anticipate this being a situation where he tries to have the starters minutes tied to each other.
— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) October 13, 2022
Paul Reed, Montrezl Harrell and P.J. Tucker as a small-ball center all give the Sixers reliable options behind Embiid. Whoever plays will endear themselves to the Philly faithful and look to bring the energy each time down the floor.