Sixers: Projecting the 2022-23 starting five and bench unit

James Harden, P.J. Tucker, Sixers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
James Harden, P.J. Tucker, Sixers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Sixers backup center: Paul Reed

Paul Reed finally cemented his status as the backup center in the playoffs, and he should be first in line to relieve Joel Embiid next season. At 6-foot-9, his relentless hustle, immeasurable confidence, and slowly blossoming offensive skill set make him an extremely intriguing prospect. He’s going to stick around the league for a while.

The next step for Reed is improving his decision-making and cutting down on bad fouls. He still tends to find himself out of position, but it’s not because he’s lazy or unathletic. It’s because he’s always looking to make a play, be it diving into passing lanes for the steal or being disruptive around the basket. You will take high energy defense with mistakes over smart, stolid defense any day. As Reed gathers more NBA experience and adds muscle to his wiry frame, his defense will go from sporadically impressive to potentially elite.

Even in his current unpolished state, Reed’s ability to throw a wrench into the opposing offense is highly impressive. He’s a storm of arms and self pride. He takes every matchup seriously and he wants to succeed. He wants to make the play and elevate the team, and his work ethic away from the team appears to line up with his enthusiasm on the court.

A full training camp to learn from James Harden and get more comfortable in the pick-and-roll should also help Reed. He sometimes tries to do too much offensively, but he has touch out to the 3-point line, ample mobility in the lane, and the ability to finish above the rim. He should be an excellent role player once it all comes together.

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