76ers’ Paul Reed-Jalen McDaniels duo could work magic in playoffs

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers are a team with their limitations, everyone has them. On the Sixers, their deficiencies include perimeter defense, secondary rim protection, defensive and offensive rebounding, hustle, and athleticism. When the playoffs begin, these weaknesses will be amplified. That’s where the tandem of forwards Paul Reed and Jalen McDaniels can work some bench mob magic in the playoffs.

Both Paul Reed and Jalen McDaniels are sort of similar players, not too much but a little. They have a few things in common. They are both too old to be considered young, developing players, McDaniels is in his age-25 season, and too young to be considered a veteran, Reed is in his age-23 season. Both are at least 6-foot-8, have wingspans over seven feet wide, and are athletic players.

Paul Reed and Jalen McDaniels are built for the 76ers’ playoffs run

Paul Reed, better known as “Bball Paul”, is just what the doctor prescribed for all the facets of basketball that the Sixers lack. The energy that Reed brings teeters between being a mix of infectious and clumsy movements. Whenever he’s in the game, it doesn’t take that long to spot #44. And that is for good and bad reasons. That said, Reed embodies the attitude for the role he has been asked to play. On the season, Reed is averaging 10.3 minutes, 3.7 points on 59.4 percent shooting from the floor and 71.4 from the free-throw line,  3.5 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks per game in 71 games this season.

Reed grabs 2.1 defensive rebounds and 1.5 offensive rebounds per game this year, indicating his activity level. Reed’s constant movement and nose for the ball is the type of hustle and dirty work is done by another Sixers player named P.J. Tucker. He has mastered getting his hands on a loose ball. The third-year player’s offense and ability to chip in his few points per game is getting good positioning for putbacks or tip-ins, rolls to the basket, and in transition. None of these things require refined skill, just hard work.

On the defensive end, Paul Reed hounds people with his dog mentality. Reed jockeys for position with strength, finesse, and the right amount of will without fouling in the post or maneuvering for a rebound to complete the defensive stop. Then out on the perimeter, Reed can slide his feet to help with the Sixers’ sometimes porous perimeter defense. His length, athleticism, and physical nature assist him in being a perimeter good defender. Reed’s 7-foot-2 wingspan allows him to poke balls away or disrupt passes when moving his feet, at times. Reed can be prone to fouling but thankfully for him, the referees should be more familiar with him by now and playoff basketball allows turns up the physicality notch a couple of turns. The DePaul forward also has helped his case by fouling only 1.8 times per game this season.

Jalen McDaniels is one of the most athletic Sixers players that the Sixers have had since “The Process” began. It is a breath of fresh air. McDaniels, since first suiting up for the Sixers has been trying to dunk whenever he has the ball remotely close to the rim. The former San Diego State Aztec forward demonstrates the type of run-and-jump athleticism that benefits himself and his team in a few ways. The swingman can set screens and roll, run the floor in transition, and save a few balls from going out on his team on either offense or defense. His activity will help the Sixers bench lineups stay afloat as he will set screens for James Harden and move towards to the free throw line on a short roll or a hard roll for a lob.

McDaniels is averaging 15.7 minutes, 5.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 0.4 steals per game while possessing the shooting splits of .500/.267/.786. McDaniels provides offense on drives and cuts to the basket, taking full advantage of his genetic ability. On the defensive end, McDaniels provides the Sixers with another NBA sized wing. Over his entire season with both the Charlotte Hornets and the Sixers, McDaniels is averaging two deflections per game in his 24.5 minutes of play. His two deflections per game this season is tied with defenders like Mikal Bridges, a candidate for a potential All-Defense team selection this season, and Jaren Jackson Jr, the big man who will most likely be a finalist or the winner of the Defensive Player of the Year award. Like Reed, McDaniels is prone to fouling too much as well.

With the fact they are both hungry players with skillsets the Philadelphia 76ers will need, Paul Reed and Jalen McDaniels together could work some magic together in the playoffs. The duo can make their presence felt with rim running in transition to collapse, trap opposing players on pick-and-roll actions, and provide athletic, bouncy energy. The stuff that can’t that be taught. The type of stuff that has been devoid from a Sixers team for quite some time.

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