Rookie Montrezl Harrell has the ability to give the Rockets a boost in the rebounding department, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes. “We need to rebound,” interm coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “Montrezl is a guy who is going to bring energy, he’s going to bring toughness, he’s going to bring grit. If he doesn’t get [the rebound], his guy sure as heck isn’t going to get it.”
The decision the Rockets made to sign Harrell to a three-year deal came with consequences, as Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors detailed in the offseason. Houston had to use its mid-level exception, which meant the team would be hard-capped and unable to carry a payroll of more than $88.74MM at any point during the 2015/16 campaign. The franchise currently has $87.26MM in guaranteed salary on the books this season, leaving little room should the Rockets look to add another player.
The rookie hasn’t been a factor in many games this season, but if he can become a contributor, it’ll make the decision to sign him for the long term look more favorable for the team and it should help the 18-19 Rockets climb the playoff ladder in the Western Conference. Here’s more from around the league:
- Harrell credits the Rockets‘ one-on-one affiliation with the D-League for allowing him to stay ready just in case his number is called, Feigen writes in a separate piece. “When I feel like I’m going through a stretch, a couple games, where I’m not running plays, I asked to go down,” Harrell said. “It’s about getting in that in-game situation, playing running plays, getting the in-game experience with the refs calling fouls. I know by going down, we’re running the same exact things we’re running here so it’s going to help me.”
- Thaddeus Young is having one of his best seasons as a pro in the first year of a four-year, $50MM deal, but the power forward is focusing on helping the Nets improve rather than his stats this season, Fred Kerber of The New York Post writes. “My biggest thing is I just want to win basketball games, and that’s how I’ve been throughout the course of my career, just trying to win as many games as possible to help put my team in a position to where we can be successful. Obviously it’s not happening this year, but no matter what, I’m still going to go hard, 110 %,” Young said. The Georgia Tech product is averaging 15.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game while shooting 51.9% from the field and sporting a 19.1 player efficiency rating this season.