NBA Playoffs: 3 X-Factor Sixers that could surprise us, 2 that could fall flat

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

The last surprise X-factor for the upcoming playoffs is Paul Reed. B-Ball Paul has established himself as the backup big man in Philly, overtaking Montrezl Harrell about halfway through the 2022-23 season. Reed is an athletic forward/center that provides a spark and gives maximum effort when he does see playing time.

At the young age of 23 years old, Reed’s future looks bright and he appears to be one of the better backups to Embiid that this team has seen in recent years. In the past, the Sixers signed over-the-hill veterans in Greg Monroe, Dwight Howard, Andre Drummond, etc. but the answer was down the bench this whole time.

Doc has been favoring a small ball lineup.

A factor that could work against Reed is that even though Doc has played him in the regular season, down the stretch he has been using lineups where PJ Tucker plays the center position. This seems to support the thought that only Embiid and Tucker will be seeing time at the center position, barring foul trouble, but that may not be the best decision for success.

In his third season in the NBA, Reed is averaging 3.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per game but is only seeing about 10 minutes of playing time. Doc’s reluctance to play young players is on full display yet again, but passing Harrell in the rotation is still a win for Reed. He is shooting 60% from the field and this number is not due to his limited playing time. Just last week, Reed saw 17 minutes against the Denver Nuggets when Embiid was out and he shot 7-7 from the field scoring 16 points.

Similar to McDaniels, when given the opportunity, Reed has shown that he is reliable and contributes on both offense and defense. Even if the small ball lineup is favored with Tucker at center, I think there will be matchup opportunities where it makes sense for Reed to play this postseason and he looks like he will be ready when called upon. We gave all those old-head veterans opportunities in years past. Why not try something new?