Per Shams Charania of the Athletic, Clippers’ big man Montrezl Harrell has claimed the Sixth Man of the Year award. This is not really a huge surprise – Trez was one of three finalists (along with Lou Williams and the Thunder’s Dennis Schroder), and numerous journalists announced that they were giving Harrell their votes.
Trez put up averages of 18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.6 steals, and 1.1 blocks in 27.8 minutes per game across 63 regular season contests, with the points and rebounds serving as career highs. His scoring efficiency took a bit of a dip, as his 58% field goal shooting was somewhat lower than years prior, but it makes sense due to his expanded offensive role.
Moreover, Trez just brought a lot of energy to a team that could be very calm and complacent during the long regular season. While there are times he’s not effective, there are very rarely occasions when Trez’s motor isn’t at 100%. That energy and effort sometimes turned the Clippers around on nights when they lacked that kind of passion otherwise, and is tough to put into quantifiable terms.
There has been some “controversy” around Trez this year, as fans have critiqued Doc Rivers’ over-usage of him, especially over Ivica Zubac. Trez is simple not a good defensive player, and there have been times when leads have been bled away due to his deficiencies on that end. Zu, on the other hand, is a fearsome defender, and his improvement on offense has made him the better overall player. It’s not Trez’s fault that he receives so many minutes, bu it has been a source of frustration nonetheless.
All that said, Montrezl Harrell winning the Sixth Man of the Year Award is a magnificent achievement for a player who was a throw-in to the Chris Paul trade and who was lingering on the edges of the NBA in his first couple seasons. Trez has worked hard to become one of the better interior scorers in the NBA, and to translate his energy and effort over a full 48 minute game.
Trez is a fan favorite, particularly of “casual” Clippers fans who don’t engage in hundreds of arguments regarding his playing time on Twitter. He’s energetic, throws down thunderous dunks, and is one of the biggest trash talkers the Clippers have seen in recent years. All of that has made him beloved of the fanbase, and someone who most Clips’ diehards would be devastated to see leave this summer in free agency.
Congratulations to Montrezl Harrell on winning the Sixth Man of the Year Award, building on the legacy of Jamal Crawford and Lou Williams. It’s well deserved, and a testament to Trez’s work ethic and ability.