Key takeaways from Al Harrington's Sydney Kings debut

Al Harrington’s debut lasted a little under twenty minutes last night before he fouled out in a much needed Sydney Kings win. He shot 2-5 from inside the paint, 2-2 from mid-range, 0-3 from behind the arc and finished with a plus/minus of -9.

How was his movement?

Understandably (given his age, past injuries and very limited preparation), he looked a little slow and lacked some lift when rebounding or finishing, although he did show a little more speed with a couple of straight line drives that netted some results. A comparison with Childress is probably unfair but it was apparent that Harrington doesn’t have the lateral movement to defend the perimeter or the ability to protect the rim in the same fashion. His contribution to this Kings team will be on the offensive end.

What position did he play, who did he defend and how did he score?

In his power forward minutes, Harrington saw time guarding all four of Townsville’s bigs (mostly Mitch Young or Nicholas Kay) and on a few occasions had to switch onto Jordair Jett and Mitch Norton in the pick and roll. Jett scored against in this scenario three times going towards the rim whilst Norton’s speed caused some issues as he drew two fouls in the final quarter resulting in Harrington fouling out.

There were times when he was beaten down the floor, including one possession where a turnover led to an easy Kay layup in transition, whilst there were also a couple of times when he leaked out ready for the fast break before he or his team had actually got the rebound

Apart from a couple of promising straight line drives, another encouraging offensive play included a defensive rebound before leading the fast break as the ball handler and drawing a foul. He used a shot fake to get some space to drive as well as cutting to get on the end of some simple passes

Primarily, Harrington played power forward, although we did get a look at some line-ups in the first half that featured three of Khazzouh, Brandt, Garlepp, Hill and Harrington. He defended Leon Henry and Clint Steindl during this short small forward stint but they didn’t (and generally don’t) have the off the dribble game to take advantage of such a matchup.

Offensively, during his SF minutes, Harrington obviously had the size advantage and used this exactly how you would have expected when Jordair Jett picked him up on one possession

Coach Cotter went away from the big line-ups in the second half and I’d be surprised to see much more than the odd minute or two where he’s at SF. These occasions will probably be limited to when foul trouble throws rotations out, or when an opponent’s line-up doesn’t allow a three guard set up while Dion Prewster is sitting. Regardless, I’d bet Harrington would much rather be defending inside than running around the perimeter chasing a wing such as Todd Blanchfield or Mitch Creek (Sydney play Melbourne and Adelaide in their next four games).

How does he fit in with this current roster?

Al’s certainly more of PF/C on both ends of the floor than Josh Childress is with the latter being a far superior athlete at this stage of their careers. Harrington gives them a genuine stretch four (although Tom Garlepp did knock down two threes last night) to pair with the do it all package that is Julian Khazzouh, and if the guard play can improve, the offense and shooting should start to trend upwards.

Dion Prewster is the guy who will benefit the most from the roster reshuffle and his play will be crucial to the win-loss column as the only legit SF on the roster (he’s their best perimeter defender). Prewster should be fine to play minutes in the twenties as long as he’s surrounded by talent (which Sydney have) and he avoids foul trouble.