Montrezl Harrell should not only be playing more minutes, he should be starting opposite Dwight Howard.
It sounds crazy, but bear with me. Harrell is the best, most-underused option the Rockets have. Harrell brings a lot of the values the Rockets say they want on the team: toughness, aggressiveness, unselfishness, and hustle. All those and more sum up what Harrell provides when he is on the court.
"I feel like I try to bring a certain energy when I come out to the floor," Harrell told The Dream Shake. "I just try to come into the game and do anything I can, to put our team in the best position to win the game, honestly."
Pace and the effort pick up when Harrell hits the floor. Like Corey Brewer, Harrell makes a lot of winning plays (just in a different way). Harrell is also very unselfish.
A few games back, against the Jazz, I went back through the tape to find out why Harrell played nearly 30 minutes but had only one rebound, and scored only five points yet still seemed so effective. He was boxing out his man when he was on the floor, allowing others to get the rebound. On the offensive side, he set picks for guys to get free and makes space for James Harden and others.
Harrell doesn't have the offensive game that Terrence Jones has, nor the size of Clint Capela. What he does have is a motor that's unmatched in the frontcourt.
In the month of January, Harrell has FAR exceeded what Capela or Jones have been able to do on the floor. Given it's a smaller sample size, but those numbers are a very real picture of how the team is playing with him on the floor.
Next to Dwight Howard, you want a guy who will go up for rebounds when Howard is going for a blocked shot. You want a guy who will play tough defense and keep guys out of the paint. You want a guy who brings all-out effort and determination on every possession.
Harrell is by no means a finished product, and there is still a lot for the rookie to learn, but the effort is there. On defense, he is aggressive and long, but there are still things he can get better at.
Capela will no doubt continue to start next to Howard, and Jones will still get his normal minutes. But really think about the times when Harrell is on the floor, what do your eyes tell you? I think your eyes tell you Harrell should be playing a lot more than he is right now.