Friday, October 4, 2013

Previewing '13-'14: Josh Harrellson

This is a series previewing every player on the Pistons roster before the season kicks into gear. Previously: Jonas Jerebko

2012-2013 Stats
44.4% (20%)

Josh Harrellson aka "Jorts" is entering his third year in the NBA and playing for his third team, which should tell you everything you need to know about the former Kentucky big man. Last season, he played for the size-deficient Miami Heat and only managed to appear in 6 games. Harrellson is not long for this league, and likely not long for the Pistons as well.

Since there's scant details about his NBA career, it's prudent to look at Harrellson's college profile to get a sense for his game:
He arrived at Kentucky as a nondescript 3-star JUCO transfer from Southwestern Illinois. He came to Kentucky in 2008 and spent two years serving as a rarely used backup before Enes Kanter's ineligibility pushed him into the starting role during his senior season. Playing alongside current Piston Brandon Knight and NBAer Doron Lamb, Harrellson was good but unremarkable: 7.6 PPG, 61% FG, 8.7 RPG, 1.5 BPG.
Prior to playing with the Heat, Harrellson spent his rookie campaign with the New York Knicks, appearing in 37 games and taking way more three pointers than a clunky 6'10" power forward should (he went 20-59 on the season). Then again, everyone on that Knicks team took too many three pointers, and peer pressure can be a real bitch sometimes.

For the Pistons, Harrellson represents an insurance plan, albeit a dubious one. With Andre Drummond's health in doubt until he can go a season without debilitating back injuries, Detroit's big-man depth is worrisome. Harrellson was a big body on the market with a cheap contract. Harrellson presented a no-lose situation for the Pistons: increased big man depth without a salary hit to a suddenly maxed roster.

Projected '13-'14 role: 12th man
While the core of Detroit's talent may lie in the frontcourt, Drummond is the team's only true center. With fouls and injuries bound to crop up, Harrellson will need to patrol the end of the bench waiting for his chance to stumble awkwardly around the court. Don't expect him to be good or even average, but Harrellson will see the floor more this season than he ever has.

Projected '13-'14 stats
49% (15%)

What does this mean for the team?
Andre Drummond's health is all that's standing between Detroit being a playoff team and Josh Harrellson seeing 15 minutes per game. But having Harrellson's body and fouls around will prove impactful at some point during the season. He won't see consistent minutes or appear in many games, but when Drummond invariably gets in foul trouble after trying to block every shot that's headed at the basket, Jorts will step up and remind you why he's been on three teams already in his brief career.

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