Written by: Christopher Kline
Consistency has been an issue for Paul Reed, primarily because of Doc Rivers’ refusal (until lately) to play him regularly. The Montrezl Harrell experience has unfortunately obscured what should be a pivotal season of development for the DePaul product.
When Reed does play, the results are generally favorable. All of a sudden, the all-bench lineups don’t look so hopeless. He’s a genuine positive-impact defender, almost by sheer force of will. He competes harder than anyone else on the roster, and the Sixers desperately need his kind of competitive fire.
Already one of the league’s best defensive playmakers, Reed has a penchant for pickpocketing unsuspecting drivers. His hands are all over the place, and the foul trouble is slowly subsiding in favor of a more fundamentally sound defense.
He’s not unimpressive on offense either. While Reed still needs time to find his role and rhythm next to James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, he’s a skilled enough finisher with flashes of long-term shooting potential (over 44 percent from 3 in the G-League).
Even with Dewayne Dedmon in the mix, it’s abundantly clear (as it was last season with DeAndre Jordan and Paul Millsap) that Reed should be getting the backup center reps ahead of the postseason, where his nimble feet on the perimeter are quite useful. Reed was rock-solid last postseason, so hopefully, Doc Rivers doesn’t get too tempted by the false promise of the team’s “steady” vets.
The Sixers may finally be out of the mud and into the light. Let’s hope, for everyone’s sake, that Reed continues to receive the non-Embiid minutes.