Earlier this afternoon, we relayed a report that the Heat were inviting Josh Harrellson to a pre-camp tryout for a spot on the team's official training camp roster. Although his season averages of 4.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 42.3% shooting from the field in 14.7 MPG may not stand out very much, the former Kentucky Wildcat has shown flashes of how he could be a contributor for teams needing depth in the frontcourt. In his 37 games as a Knick, Harrellson appeared to be a blue-collar role player that didn't need to score to have an impact on the game. Having watched nearly every Knicks game last season, here are some of my observations of what he can do:
While he may not be a standout post-player, I wouldn't consider Harrellson to be an offensive liability either. He found most of his attempts in the painted area (58 FGA out of his total 148 FGA), finishing at the basket with a 53% clip; not to mention finding success with the corner-three point shot, where he averaged 39.1% on 23 attempts last season. Albeit that may not be a great sample size to consider, it still offers some intrigue as to whether he can maintain that type of production with consistent playing time. Without question, his performance from everywhere except the corners (11-for-36) had a significant impact on his overall shooting percentages. However, proper coaching might help direct Harrellson's shot selection more toward his areas of efficiency from last year.
At nearly 6'10 and 275 lbs, Harrellson has enough strength to absorb contact and maintain his position defensively near the basket. By no means is he much of a shot blocking threat, but more often times than not he appeared disciplined enough to remain grounded and not fall for pump fakes in the post, instead raising his hands high and actively denying a good look at the basket. His rebounding abilities also looked solid, and as we pointed out last week, Harrellson is still among the top rebounders available in free agency with an average of 9.6 rebounds per 36 minutes.
Although he may not be the most ideal prospect with regards to big men, the former Knick has enough attributes to viably compete for a spot in an NBA rotation, much less be kept on board as a reserve to round out a roster. As a player who does not need the ball to be effective, Harrellson could fit well in a lineup with multiple scorers and his potential as a corner three-point shooter can be used to help space the floor. On the flip side, there's certainly a chance that he may not be able to find playing time, struggles in his second year, or even remains unsigned. At the very least, such an addition could be very affordable and low-risk for any team looking to add size at this point.