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Montrezl Harrell says matchups are ‘excuses’ for benching him: ‘That s--- isn’t real’

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Montrezl Harrell doesn’t understand why he didn’t play more in the playoffs.

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Portland Trail Blazers v LA Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Lakers sent shockwaves throughout the NBA when they signed Montrezl Harrell last year. Not only did Harrell play for a rival team, but he had a disappointing end to the 2019-20 season.

The hope among Lakers fans was that Harrell would have more success playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and to his credit, he was for most of the regular season. However, when the postseason rolled around, Harrell once again struggled to make an impact, which led to him getting benched by Frank Vogel.

At the time, Harrell didn’t make a big fuss about it, but on Saturday, he made his feelings about his role in the playoffs, or lack thereof, well-known:

The problem with Harrell’s defense is that this isn’t the first time his limitations have led to him having a smaller role in the postseason. In the 2019-20 season — the same season he won the Sixth Man of the Year award — Doc Rivers Harrell’s minutes per game dropped drastically from the regular season to the postseason.

Could the argument be made that Rivers and Vogel should have made adjustments to hide his weaknesses amen maximize his strengths? Sure, but two different coaches have now decided that it’s just easier to not play Harrell in high-stakes situations and that’s pretty telling.

Fortunately for Harrell, he’ll have the opportunity to sign with a team that can offer him a bigger role by declining the $9.72 million player option in his contract. If he leaves and thrives with a new team, then obviously it will look bad on Vogel, but until that happens, it’s Harrell’s former coaches that deserve the benefit of the doubt.

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