Sixers: Grading every player’s 2021-22 season

James Harden, Joel Embiid, Sixers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
James Harden, Joel Embiid, Sixers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

. C. Sixers. PAUL REED. B+

Grading every Sixers player: Paul Reed // B+

In the end, even Doc Rivers couldn’t keep Paul Reed glued to the bench. It took far too long, and Doc Rivers won’t ever admit it, but Reed is the best backup center on the roster and he has been all along. The former G-League MVP is the exact kind of mentally tough, hard-working player the Sixers need more of.

Reed is already an impactful NBA defender. His penchant for deflections and forcing turnovers is Robert Covington-esque. He’s a thorn in the opposing offense’s side, a pure force of chaos. He fouls too much and he can’t always match up with the more physically imposing centers, but that will come in time. With more reps next season — and Reed better get more reps next season — we should see him start to develop as a decision-maker.

The Sixers have been in search of the long-term answer at backup center for years. After a half-decade of half-retired veterans, the Sixers have finally landed on the player who should back up Joel Embiid for the next five years. Reed can play in the NBA, and with more development offensively, he may even be able to spend time next to Embiid. There’s every reason for optimism around Reed’s future because he works his tail off and he clearly craves the competition.

Philadelphia should focus on bolstering the wing rotation this summer. The backup center job is already taken. Reed has accomplished exactly what he set out to do. He caught the attention of Doc Rivers, he proved his mettle on the biggest stage, and now he has the chance to cement his place in the rotation moving forward.