The lineups and rotations employed by Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel have been the source of a lot of discussion this year. Of course, injuries played a big part, but many times players saw their minutes fluctuate regularly and possibly the biggest player who was the victim of that was reserve big man Montrezl Harrell.
The Lakers brought in Harrell last offseason to give the team’s reserve unit a huge boost with the 2020 NBA Sixth Man of the Year. But with both Andre Drummond and Marc Gasol on the roster as well, and Harrell’s ideal role being a small-ball center as opposed to the power forward position his frame would suggest, Vogel had some difficult decisions to make.
In the Lakers’ first round series loss to the Suns, Harrell played just 39 minutes total and didn’t see the court in two of the six games. In a recent post on Instagram, fans were debating as to why Harrell didn’t see the court more and Harrell responded to the comments, questioning the fans knowledge of what really goes on in the NBA, via HisandHerLakers Twitter:
Trezz commenting on fans asking about his playing time…I feel like Vogel fucked up with his rotations all year and it hurt our chemistry. Smdh pic.twitter.com/9uRzPVks1N
— HisandHerLakers (@HisandHerLakers) July 10, 2021
Harrell has previously never voiced any issue with his minutes, always noting that anytime his number was called he went out and played to the best of his abilities. That can not be argued just as whether or not Harrell had an excellent night in terms of statistics, his effort and energy on the court could never be argued.
Harrell calling out fans is something many players do as some commenters overstep the lines of what they actually know. As much as everyone can speculate, only the players and coaches are in the locker rooms and really know what is happening behind the scenes. Exactly what Harrell means when he says that matchup situations aren’t real is another story, but the big man has been open about his belief that he will battle anyone regardless of size.
Whether or not this is a glimpse into what Harrell’s future may hold is anyone’s guess. He is the ultimate competitor and wants to be out on the floor as much as possible. Whether or not Vogel’s rotations will push him elsewhere will be found out once free agency begins.
Cacok appreciative of Harrell taking him under his wing
Another area where Harrell will be appreciated, regardless of whether this is his lone season with the Lakers, was his veteran leadership. This especially was the case with young two-way player Devontae Cacok, who spoke on how Harrell took him under his wing this season.
“Being compared to him from in college, our game resembled each other,” Cacok said. “Understand that we have fight, we play hard and all that stuff.
“He kind of just took me under his wing and just gave me his knowledge as well you know we always got a couple of ones in as much as we possibly could and he’s definitely given me a lot of his game and his knowledge as well from what he does best at how he plays his game and he’s definitely helped me out and I appreciate him for doing that for me.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!