Josh Harrellson: 2013-14 Detroit Pistons Preview

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

After a nomadic year, the man known as Jorts looks to set down roots in Detroit's rotation.

2012-13 Year in Review

Josh Harrellson parlayed some early success as a stretch big man with the New York Knicks into a roster spot with the Miami Heat shortly before last season began. Being a reserve center on a team desperate for size who also happens to be the defending champions seemed like a good place to be for Harrellson, but it wasn't meant to be.

Harrellson was released in early January. And if the Midwestern boy famous for his love of jean shorts (his nickname is Jorts) thought the glitz and glamour of South Beach was a long way from home, I struggle to think what he must of thought when he eventually landed in Puerto Rico as a member of the Brujos de Guayama and then China with the Chongqing Fly Dragons.

It was in China where Harrellson shined, eventually being named player of the year after averaging 22.3 points, 18.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals. He also shot 32-93 (34.4 percent) on 3-point attempts.

2013-14 Projected Production

Not all 15th men are created equal. Harrellson was the last body signed by the Pistons. Leading up to the signing most fans thought the team was simply looking for big man insurance, even throwing names like Jason Collins around.

Harrellson wasn't part of the rumor mill thanks to playing overseas but he's not necessarily destined to wear a suit every night. He is a stretch-big (more of a five but they could slide him to the four), and even though he's not light's out from downtown, he shoots well enough to keep defenses honest.

He's also lights years better as a rebounder than Villanueva. Despite being a pick-and-pop big man who hangs out largely on the perimeter, Jorts averages nearly two rebounds per 36 minutes more than CV.

And, crucially, he seems poised to be a more competent defender than his main competition -- Charlie Villanueva.

Villanueva has shot 33 percent and 34 percent from downtown the past two years. And he's also played zero credible defense. And Villanueva is limited to only playing power forward, which happens to be the Pistons' deepest position.

Assuming that Josh Smith and Greg Monroe get the lions' share of the minutes at power forward, you also have Jonas Jerebko, Luigi Datome, Kyle Singler and Tony Mitchell in the fold. Those players might play a lot of minutes at small forward, maybe even some at shooting guard, but they also will be available to play the four.

At center, the Pistons have Andre Drummond and ... Harrellson. Starting power forward Greg Monroe will get a lot of minutes at center but how do you guard against foul trouble? Injury?

I wonder how comfortable the team is to have its only credible reserve center in a suit on a nightly basis.

Could Harrellson beat out Villanueva as the designated stretch big? I'm going to go out on a limb and say yes.

Prediction

14 mpg (800 minutes), 8.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 47% shooting, 34% 3P shooting, 67% FT shooting

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