Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell hardly takes time off
When you tune in for an LA Clippers game on any given night, their second unit is one of the characteristics that jumps out like a neon yellow in a crowd of grey and blue.
Their second unit averages 51.5 points per game, first in the NBA. The next best top-4 seeded (in their respective conference) team in that metric is the Miami Heat with 41.3 points per game.
It’s an advantage for sure, one that allows the Clippers to suffocate team on tired legs and provide their primary stars with more time to rest. A more than capable second unit is key for a team vying for an NBA title.
Montrezl Harrell is a huge part of that second unit, leading the squad along with Lou Williams. Both players could realistically compete for the Sixth Man of the Year Award this season.
With Harrell, one of the strongest traits he brings to the table is his unrelenting motor. At 6-foot-7, he doesn’t have the frame to take on some of the league’s biggest centers, but he has speed and resilience that allows him to produce on the interior. He scores 7.8 points per game from the paint.
How does he keep that motor going? Part of it might be the fact that he never takes a break from the game.
LA Clippers center Montrezl Harrell never stops playing basketball
Speaking to Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles on the Knuckleheads podcast, Harrell revealed that throughout the year, he only takes one or two weeks off from playing basketball.
“In the summer you know I don’t take vacations. Man, I literally go a week to two weeks without touching the ball, just being around my family, my kids. Then after that I’m right back at it with Rico, get my workouts in Monday through Friday, and Saturday and Sunday is where I go and you know, days I work on my game, put them into in-game form.”
Montrezl Harrell revealed that during the summer, he’ll train Monday-through-Friday with drills to add things to his game, and on the weekends he’ll participate in Pro-Am leagues to work on getting those drills into a game-ready package.
His schedule is exhausting. He mentioned he often plays in Atlanta on Saturday and then flies out to California on Sunday to participate in a new Pro-Am league there.
For Harrell, it’s simply about an appreciation for the job he has and continuing to bolster his skillset.
“I just want to work on my craft and be around the game that I’m blessed to be able to call my job.”
Where does this unrelenting motor come from? It’s been there since childhood for Harrell. He’s never not known picking up a basketball in every free moment.
“Every possibility that I had, man. Every time somebody was playing no matter where it was at. Dirt courts, asphalt, no matter where the run was going, we had an open gym, I’m there man. ‘Cause it’s just, being around the game, man, I fell in love with it.”
Even early in his career, Harrell was willing to accept a diminished role if it meant more playing time, asking the Houston Rockets to send him down to play with the G League team in his rookie season.
Some Clippers fans — especially knowing the impacts of overwork through Kawhi Leonard and Paul George — may get uneasy at the idea of a player literally never stopping and resting their body. Most stars even take a month or so to rest and recover after a grueling season.
No one path is just right for every player though, and if the continual work is working for Harrell, well, so be it.