Montrezl Harrell Got Passed Over in the 2015 NBA Draft for a Bunch of Below-Average Players

Montrezl Harrell has proven to be a very valuable player for the LA Clippers. That’s especially been the case this season as his play not only helped him earn the Sixth Man of the Year Award, but the Clippers are also one of the top championship contenders in the league. Despite Harrell being a really talented player, though, some teams didn’t recognize his potential when he entered the NBA. In fact, there were a bunch of below-average players selected before him in the 2015 NBA draft.

Montrezl Harrell has become a really effective player for the LA Clippers

Harrell went to the Houston Rockets with the 32nd overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft. He didn’t play very much in his first season, though, as he only played in 39 games with the Rockets. Harrell ultimately averaged 3.6 points per game and 1.7 rebounds in 9.7 minutes that season.

During the 2016-17 season with the Rockets, Harrell started getting more playing time. He averaged 9.1 points per game and 3.8 rebounds in 18.3 minutes per game.

However, in 2017, the Rockets traded Harrell to the LA Clippers, and he has since become a star. After averaging 11 points per game and four rebounds for the Clippers in 2017-18, Harrell has been a force for LA the past two seasons. He averaged 16.6 points per game and 6.5 rebounds in 2018-19, and he helped lead the Clippers to the playoffs.

This season, the Clippers have been one of the best teams in the NBA with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Harrell is a big reason that they are contending for a title too as he is averaging 18.6 points per game and 7.1 rebounds.

He won the Sixth Man of the Year Award

For his stellar play this year with the Clippers, Harrell earned the Sixth Man of the Year Award.

“I’m just so proud of him as a coach,” said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, according to ESPN. “He epitomizes what a Sixth Man of the Year Award winner is, and trust me, we’re getting used to ’em here, with Lou Williams and Jamal Crawford in the past. To have Trez join the group is really amazing.”

Harrell’s teammate Lou Williams has also won three Sixth Man of the Year Awards, including two with the Clippers in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

“I’m following the other guy who’s won this award three times,” Harrell said of Williams, according to ESPN. “He’s the ideal person that you could model behind, playing the game and doing it the right way. He’s been in a lot of different aspects to where he could have been on teams and actually started, but he hasn’t complained once.”

Teams passed over Montrezl Harrell in the 2015 NBA draft

Clippers star Montrezl Harrell just won the Sixth Man of the Year Award. In the 2015 NBA draft, though, teams passed over him for bad players.
Montrezl Harrell of the LA Clippers reacts to a call during a game against the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the 2020 NBA playoffs. | Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images

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As written above, Harrell went to the Houston Rockets with the 32nd overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft, which is a second-round selection. There were ultimately a lot of below-average players taken before him too.

Players like Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell went No. 1 and No. 2 in that draft, and Kristaps Porzingis went No. 4. Those picks were, obviously, great selections. 

However, these players below were also selected before him.

  • No. 5 overall: Mario Hezonja (Averaged 4.8 points per game this season)
  • No. 8 overall: Stanley Johnson (Scored 2.4 points per game in 25 games this season)
  • No. 17 overall: Rashad Vaughn (Hasn’t played in the NBA since 2017-18)
  • No. 18 overall: Sam Dekker (Has averaged 5.5 points per game in his career)
  • No. 19 overall: Jerian Grant (Averaged 4.5 points per game in six games this season)
  • No. 21 overall: Justin Anderson (Scored 2.8 points per game in 10 games this season)
  • No. 25 overall: Jarell Martin (Has averaged 5.4 points per game in his career)
  • No. 28 overall: R.J. Hunter (Has averaged three points in 45 total career games)
  • No. 29 overall: Chris McCullough (Hasn’t played since 2017-18)
  • No. 30 overall: Kevon Looney (Scored 3.4 points per game in 20 games this season.)

Harrell has been an excellent player in the league. All of the teams that passed on him for some of the names mentioned above must be kicking themselves.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference