Each year, we do a themed preview series to ready for the season. This year’s theme is "Playoff Push."
What is the No. 1 thing Josh Harrellson can step up to do to help the Pistons make the playoffs?
Be a viable rotation player
The Pistons have three players capable of regularly playing center, and two, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, start. It’s possible Detroit might want to trade one of Drummond, Monroe and Josh Smith – likely Monroe – to create a more balanced starting lineup. If Harrellson is a viable backup center, that makes a Monroe-for-wing trade much more palpable. If Drummond, Monroe and Smith work well together, great. But if not, Harrellson being a rotation-caliber player gives the Pistons more options.
Make Charlie Villanueva irrelevant
You can toss Jonas Jerebko in there too, while we’re at it. Harrellson was signed to the team’s final roster spot, but he’s played reasonably well in very limited NBA opportunities. I would assume the incumbents – the perennially under-performing Villanueva and under-performing newcomer Jerebko – will get the first crack at spot minutes as the first bigs off the bench, but Harrellson is physical, a decent defender and a good bet to quickly snatch up minutes from one or the other if they start slow this season.
Wear jorts and be physical in practice
Harrellson is in a similar situation to Siva this season. If he’s playing big minutes in games, something has gone horribly wrong with the Pistons. He brings some interesting attributes to the Pistons — specifically being a 3-point threat at center — but his job will be in practice. Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, whoever, these guys need big bodies to bang with in practice. That’s where Jorts comes in to play. If he does that, and screams his brains off from the bench during games, he’s doing his job.
Harrellson won’t be seeing that much playing time this year (hopefully), due to a stacked Pistons front court, but he will see time in case of injuries to Drummond or Monroe. Basically, he’s taking the place of Viacheslav Kravtsov. He’s a better shooter than Kravtsov, but is of a similar a age and will play a similar role.