The Los Angeles Clippers were left for dead after finishing last season 42-40, their collection of castoffs, nobodies, and HERO OF SERBIA not considered to be enough to compete in a loaded Western Conference.
But there the Clips are, at 21-16, sixth in the West and hanging in a top eight that is starting to create some separation between itself and the teams from ninth (Sacramento, at 19-19 2.5 games back of the Clips for sixth and two back of the Lakers for eighth) place on down.
Part of this has been because what one observer would call a lack of star power, another might call “emphasis on bench depth.”
After all, between the Marcin Gortat/Boban Marjanovic starter platoon at center, the rest of the Clips’ regular starters (except Avery Bradley, who sucks), perpetual Sixth Man of the Year candidate Lou Williams, and Montrezl Harrell, that’s a team that goes a solid eight deep every single night.
Or does it? After all, no performance should go un-examined, and that’s what’s got Harrell in the crosshairs this week.
The question at issue: If there were a Seventh Man of the Year, would Trezz be it? Put another way, is he the top-tier bench guy that good teams need in order to out-compete top-heavy star-driven teams like the Warriors and Rockets?
The Counting Stats
Trezz is averaging 15.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game in just 25.2 minutes.
Per 36, that’s 22.4 and 9.5. Those are not just starter numbers, those are “in the mix for All-Star consideration if he started” numbers. I mean, he’s no Domantas Sabonis (21.3/13.9 per 36), but not many sixth or seventh men in the league are.
Trezz is hitting on 63.6 percent of his shots and finishing 73.6 percent of the time when within three feet of the rim.
He’s a lousy free throw shooter (just 61 percent) but the degree to which we can hold that against him is suspect; it’s still well above any kind of Hack-A number.
And at least he gets to the line, getting there for 5.5 attempts a game and nearly 8 per 36 minutes, both career-highs.
But where Trezz shines…
The Advanced Stats
A plus defender with a 25.3 PER, .648 True Shooting, .219 WS/48 (over .200 is superstar level), 5.3 BPM, and 3.77 VORP/82…in 25 minutes a game?
You know who has a 25.4 PER, .592 True Shooting, .190 WS/48, 3.5 BPM, and 3.77 VORP/82 in 33.9 minutes a game?
Joel Embiid, that’s who.
That’s right. I just compared Montrezl Harrell to Joel Embiid. And the numbers backed me up. (sure, Embiid’s about a million times better rebounder than Harrell, whose rebounding percentage is a lot lower, but Harrell is a power forward and Embiid is a dominant rim-protecting center.)
I think you see where this is going.
Take a bow, Trezz. You walked into this hot seat that is the weekly statistical test…and walked out with the numbers voting you into the damn All-Star Game.
Confirmed. Montrezl Harrell is really, really good.