At first glance, Josh Harrellson just looks like one of those big-bruising, nonathletic, and inexpensive centers to play the remaining minutes of blowout games. However, we should not judge this book by it’s cover.
After one year at Southwestern Illinois Junior College, Harrellson transferred to the University of Kentucky and played three seasons as a Wildcat. In his final season he averaged 7.5 points along with 8.7 rebounds, per game.
The 6-foot-10 center was drafted as the 45th overall pick in 2011 by the New Orleans Hornets, then immediately traded to the New York Knicks for cash considerations.
His most productive game as a Knick came on April 26, 2012, where he scored a career-high 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
After his rookie season Harrellson was traded to the Houston Rockets, in a deal that helped the Knicks acquire Marcus Camby. He was waived by the Rockets just a month later.
Harrellson was then picked up by the Miami Heat in September of 2012 and played just six games as a member of the Heat prior to the team parting ways with him in January of 2013.
Harrellson decided to take his talent overseas to the Chinese National Basketball League where he averaged more than 22 points and 18 rebounds per game. He was awarded with the NBL player of the year honors.
In the five games leading up to Sunday’s game against the Portland Trailblazers, Harrellson played more than ten minutes in each game. He may not play a huge role in the team’s offensive approach, but he does provide flexibility.
With Harrellson in the lineup, the Pistons can afford to rest Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe without losing any size and toughness to their lineup. Outside of the two starting big men, Harrellson may just be the only other “true” big man on the Pistons’ roster.
Not only may he become a valuable asset to the roster, Harrellson also brings a unique personality to the team. With open arms, he took on the nickname “Jorts” while he was at Kentucky. “Jorts” is a term used to describe jean shorts, which Harrellson was known for wearing frequently. Any person to frequently wear jean shorts, as well as take on the nickname, must be the type of fun-loving guy any team would like to have in their locker room.
As Detroit looks to modify their lineup in order to play to all of the strengths the team holds on an individual level, expect Harrellson to see increased playing time. He doesn’t need to receive many offensive touches, if any at all, he will play a role in running the offense through other players, and help out on the defensive end.
With Jorts in the lineup while Monroe and Drummond get some rest, Josh Smith can play power forward and dominate the post position. Harrellson is also a great pick-and-roll player and can really compliment Brandon Jennings’ game.
Pistons’ fans will never see the type of numbers he put up overseas, but they can count on Jorts to play a key role in the lineup.