On draft night 2020, the Philadelphia 76ers walked away with a handful of exciting young prospects. Many focus on Tyrese Maxey, who has proven to have star potential following a breakout season. But, there is another player from that class who has shown some nice flashes.
Being selected 58th overall, not much was expected of Paul Reed. However, the 23-year-old has managed to turn some heads in his first two years as a pro.
As a rookie, Reed spent most of his time in the G-League to refine his skills. During that time, he took home the Rookie of The Year and MVP awards as a member of the Delaware Blue Coats. Across 15 games, he averaged 22.3 PPG, 11.8 RPG, and 1.8 BPG.
Last season, Reed did not see much time at the NBA level during the regular season. That all changed when the playoffs rolled around. In need of energy and athleticism, Doc Rivers called upon the G-League standout to be Joel Embiid‘s backup. In his first taste of the playoffs, Reed averaged 3.7 PPG and 3.8 RPG while shooting 52.8% from the field.
Recently, the people at Bleacher Report listed the best-kept secret on every NBA roster. For the Sixers, they went with the up-in-coming big man.
Some of that lack of exposure is on him, since it’s hard to get a ton of burn with a career average of 6.5 fouls per 36 minutes. Given his other per-36-minutes marks, though—15.3 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.2 steals, 2.1 assists and 2.0 blocks—it’s easy to get carried away imagining what he could do if he ever gets those fouls under control.
Sixers Potential Small-Ball Lineup Revealed
With their best player being a seven-foot center, small ball isn’t something that’s often mentioned when discussing the Sixers. Looking at their fully retooled roster, that could begin to change.
Typically, the Sixers have went and signed a veteran big man to fill in the minutest Joel Embiid is off the floor. With the start of the season right around the corner, they still have yet to do so. Doc Rivers experimented with some smaller lineups at times last season and could do it more often moving forward.
In a recent article for Bleacher Report, Andy Bailey put together one small-ball lineup that every team should try this upcoming season. The group he put together for the Sixers included Tyrese Maxey, De’Anthony Melton, James Harden, Tobias Harris, and P.J. Tucker.
Melton has quietly been one of the league’s better perimeter defenders over the last few seasons, and his 6’8″ wingspan allows him to hold up against wings on switches. And Tucker, who gained plenty of experience as a small-ball 5 with Houston, has the strength to at least challenge opposing big men if teams counter a lineup like this with size.
Can Paul Reed Become The Sixers’ Small-Ball Center?
While Tucker is a viable option given his experience, a case can be made for Reed as the Sixers’ best option when it comes to going small. Along with being a physical defender, his athleticism and aggressive on the glass might soften the blow of not having a traditional center to secure rebounds.
On the other end of the floor, Reed is an ideal partner in the pick-and-roll with James Harden. Whether it’s rolling to the basket or rising up for lobs, the pairing makes sense together. Also, Reed continues to expand his game beyond the arc. Last season in the G-League, he connected on 43.6% of his three-point attempts.
Given that there is no set backup center at the moment, Reed will find himself with an opportunity to solidify a spot in Doc Rivers’ rotation moving forward.