When we found out that Montrezl Harrell was leaving the Clippers for the Lakers, reactions were mixed. On one side, the Clippers fan base was not very happy with Harrell switching to their city rivals, but the narrative was that he was a defensive liability. Harrell won the Sixth Man of the Year award, but the Clippers were often punished with him playing in the center position, mostly when he was up against much bigger guys.
However, Trez stepped up his defensive displays this season. He is nowhere near Anthony Davis‘ level on the defensive end, but he’s becoming better by the day, and that is a big confidence boost for the Lakers fans, especially after Davis got injured. Trez and Marc Gasol have to step up on defense, and they’re doing just that. After the Lakers win against the Timberwolves in which Karl-Anthony Towns was held to just 15 points, Trez was asked about his mindset in guarding bigger centers.
“I don’t really believe in that smaller stuff, man. At the end of the day, if you believed in that, the elephant would be the king of the jungle, and that ain’t happening. I come out here and put my hard hat on like everybody else on this team. Everybody in this league knows I don’t back down from anybody. I don’t care what your size is, and I don’t care what you do. At the end of the day, it goes back to our coverages. Our coaching staff was mixing up coverages every time KAT caught the ball. Marc’s coverages were different from mine. I don’t think we let him get comfortable. As far as that giving up size stuff, people who know me around this know I don’t back down from anybody.”Montrezl Harrell, Lakers Nation
Trez, however, has a lot more improving to do. Many experts state that he looks better on the defensive end because coach Frank Vogel uses him differently, but Harrell refused to talk about that.
“Honestly, I can’t really even speak to that because you don’t even know what my defensive coverages were in my previous years. I don’t remember them. That’s something in the past and not anything I’m really worried about.”Montrezl Harrell, Lakers Nation
It’s obvious the Lakers got Harrell for regular season scoring on the second unit. If he can be decent on defense, it’s a major win for them. Given a clean bill of health, we all know AD will be out there playing the five when it matters in the Playoffs. But the attitude and mentality Harrell brings to the locker room are surely helping the Lakers – even when he’s not on the court.