The Wizards made a concerted effort this offseason to add to their depth. And one of the players they added learned a thing or two about coming off the bench.
Montrezl Harrell, acquired in the Russell Westbrook trade with the Los Angeles Lakers, doesn’t know what his role will be with the Wizards quite yet. With so many new faces, and with Rui Hachimura’s new absence just before training camp, so much remains unknown.
But if he has to come off the bench, he learned from one of the best.
Harrell has spent time with Lou Williams in his career, the three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year. When asked what kind of lessons he learned from “The Underground Goat,” Harrell quipped back, “You see him win it the year before? You see him win it the next year? Guess he said the right things.”
Those lessons passed down from Williams to Harrell, whatever they may have been, could impact the Wizards directly this season because they’ll need depth players to step up with Westbrook gone and in the absence, for the time being, of Hachimura.
“He’s a guy that hasn’t been on a team where he’s started, but you always hear his name,” Harrell said of Williams. “He didn’t put himself in a position to where he’s coming off the bench, that’s what the coaches put him in. So he said, ‘If y’all are going to put me in this position, then I’m going to be the best at this position.’ And then to where, now you’re going to have to give him an award every year for it.”
Harrell is hopeful that he, and another new player acquired this summer and likely to come off the bench, Aaron Holiday, can give the Wizards the boost they need this season.
They are together on the same team now, but Harrell said he always hated Holiday when he played for the Indiana Pacers. But those are exactly the type of players -- similar to longtime NBA veteran and jack-of-all-trades disruptor Patrick Beverley, now with the Minnesota Timberwolves -- that he’s happy are on the Wizards now.
“I’ve come across some of the NBA’s best that say the same thing about me,” Harrell said. “When it’s all said and done, no matter what, you know [Holiday] left it all out there. You ain’t gonna never have to second guess or be like, ‘Was he playing hard tonight? Was he trying to do the right things to win?’ You know for sure he was trying to do those things because he showed it and proved it to you. Hell of a pest, man. Honestly, I look at him as one of those Pat Bev type players. He’s a hell of a young player.”