Ranking Sixers’ 25-and-under players based on potential

Tyrese Maxey, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Tyrese Maxey, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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. 23 years old. Philadelphia 76ers. Paul Reed. 4. player. 93

Ranking 25-and-under Sixers — 4. Paul Reed

A braver man than me would bump Paul Reed up a couple spots. In a ranking based on potential, it’s hard not to be taken with Reed’s athleticism, burgeoning skill set, and relentless work ethic. He claims to have added eight inches to his vertical over the summer! Reed still has a long way to go in multiple respects, but he has already earned Doc Rivers’ trust — to the point where the famously youth-averse and inflexible Rivers is going out of his way to find avenues to playing time for the 23-year-old from DePaul.

Reed can already cause opposing offenses serious problems with his sheer activity level on defense. Reed is unafraid to get physical. He may be “out the mud,” but what Reed does best is muck up the game. He’s still prone to mistakes and would do well to limit his gambles, but that’s also what makes him special. Reed is out there to make plays, and more often than not, he succeeds. The foul trouble should subside with time and experience.

Aside from defensive fundamentals and discipline, Reed’s biggest weakness is probably his lack of a defined role on offense. The Sixers need Reed to take a page out of DeAndre Jordan’s book: set solid screens and run hard to the rim. If Reed can get his pick-and-roll timing down with James Harden, then there’s very little excuse not to play him. He’s so much better defensively than Philly’s other backup center. But Reed tends to do too much offensively: there’s a lot of free-styling going on. He doesn’t always make the simple read, which can be to his detriment.

On the flip side, Reed’s confidence and desire to expand his offensive repertoire is part of the appeal. He was a deadly 3-point shooter in the G-League. If he can add that his his tool belt in the NBA — if he can become a legitimate face-up scorer with post moves and soft touch — then the team might have a real treasure on its hands.