The Atlanta Hawks are close to filling their roster with only one spot remaining. After he played in the AEBL, Hawks fans may have been forgiven for thinking that Montrezl Harrell might fill the last roster spot for a veteran’s minimum. However, this was not to be the case as the veteran chose to sign on with the Philadelphia 76ers.
There was a case to sign Harrell, his aggressive inside play has caused many teams, including the Hawks, issues over the years. The Hawks have actually left themselves very thin at the power forward position thanks to Danilo Gallinari being traded. The Hawks may have signed Harrell as a big body but the fit just does not seem right.
Harrell has little to no ability to space the floor so he would be a third big man on the roster who is strong in the paint but can only set screens away from the hoop. Adding Harrell would only really cause a roster imbalance.
How does Montrezl Harrell’s signing with the Philadelphia 76ers impact the Atlanta Hawks?
To put it simply, this makes the 76ers a much better team. Part of the reason that the Hawks were able to beat them in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals two seasons ago was that Onyeka Okongwu absolutely outplayed the backup big man of the time Dwight Howard.
Now when Embiid sits down the 76ers have another player whose body shape allows him to be a dominant presence on the court. To put it simply, there is no relief in the paint for any bigs around the league when they play the 76ers.
The Hawks may have thought that their offseason moves may have put them ahead of the 76ers in terms of a potential playoff seeding, with the addition of Harrell, this makes the 76ers a much harder team to beat in the regular season, meaning that the Hawks may finish below the 76ers in the standings.
Of course, nothing matters until the regular season tips off in the middle of April. Until then, it is all conjecture. We do not know how the rotations will pan out, nor how either team’s chemistry will work out.