76ers under-25 rankings: Which young prospects have the brightest future?

Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

4. Paul Reed

Here’s the difficult part of the equation. Paul Reed clearly has tremendous upside as a brute-force defensive anchor and burgeoning role player offensively. But, he plays center on a team that employs Joel Embiid. And, while questions about the Sixers’ future loom large, it’s hard to imagine Embiid not starting at center in Philadelphia for the foreseeable future.

So, what is the path forward for Reed? Does another team simply out-bid the Sixers and give Reed a full runway to develop and flourish? Or, do the Sixers invest in Reed’s theoretical versatility (maybe some power forward minutes?) and cement him as the Robin to Embiid’s Batman for the next half-decade?

The Sixers should try to keep Reed around. He was a 40 percent 3-point shooter in the G-League and he’s a notoriously hard worker. If anybody can learn to space the floor because he just wants to, it’s Reed. On defense, he’s certainly mobile enough to share the floor with Embiid. In fact, that might actually place Reed in a more favorable position — less foul trouble, fewer key responsibilities, and the ability to roam freely for steals or blocks.

3. De’Anthony Melton

De’Anthony Melton has cemented himself as Philadelphia’s sixth man. With the playoffs on the horizon, one has to imagine he will close a lot of games with the starters — especially in potential matchups featuring high-octane guards, such as Miami (Tyler Herro), New York (Jalen Brunson), or Cleveland (Donovan Mitchell).

While the Sixers get plenty of mileage out of Melton as an on-ball stopper, his best defensive traits manifest off the ball. He’s a professional pickpocket, phasing in and out of passing lanes and using his spindly 6-foot-9 wingspan to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. He’s averaging 1.7 steals per game, the highest mark of his career, and he could be due for some All-Defensive team votes.

He’s also shooting just a shade below 40 percent from 3-point range on healthy volume. The Sixers have long lacked competent two-way role players. Melton has been a significant boon and arguably Daryl Morey’s most impactful player addition yet, with the obvious exception of James Harden.