3. Paul Reed
Paul Reed continues to put his stamp on games with unmatched defensive intensity. He brings an undeniable spark off the bench and would, in this writer’s opinion, be a worthy contributor in the playoffs (as he was just last season).
The Sixers’ backup center alternatives haven’t gotten any better at first glance. Reed has relegated Montrezl Harrell to benchwarming duties and we have not seen any real effort to get the newly signed Dewayne Dedmon involved. The backup five minutes, for now, are Reed’s to lose.
But Doc Rivers has hinted at a potential alternative in the playoffs: small ball. More precisely, small ball with P.J. Tucker manning the five. The Sixers have seen sporadic success with those groups this season and there’s a much longer history of Tucker small-ball success next to James Harden dating back to their shared Houston days.
And frankly, it’s a reasonable approach. Tucker can still wreck offenses with his tank-like strength and dogged determination to get stops. In fact, Reed could probably learn a lot from Tucker. They’re kindred spirits. Reed’s size and versatility is quite useful, and I would aruge: why not both? But there’s a real chance, especially if the Sixers advance past the first round, that the rotation tightens up considerably and Tucker mans the middle for the 8-10 mintues per game that Embiid sits.