The 76ers backup center spot has been an issue this entire season, and almost every other season with Joel Embiid on the team. But Paul Reed may be changing that.
Reed, a 6-foot-9, 210-pound, 23-year-old, is more of a natural power forward. But with the desperate need at center for the 76ers, he has found a way to make an impact continually.
Throughout this season, Doc Rivers has been hesitant to play Reed much because of his youth and repetitive fouling issues. But lately, Reed has flipped the script a bit.
Impressive Game vs. Miami
On Wednesday night against the Heat, Reed played a huge role in a 76ers win without Embiid.
He went for 16 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks, while limiting himself to just three fouls in his 29 minutes.
His production against Miami is exactly what the 76ers have needed not just from a backup center, but from the bench in general.
In other recent games, Reed hasn’t put up any crazy numbers in his limited minutes. But Wednesday’s game proved that given the opportunity, Reed is more than capable of bringing more than just stats off the bench.
Energy, athleticism & youth
Possibly the biggest positive Reed has is that he plays hard every possession, on both ends of the floor. While his length helps him a lot as a defender, it’s his drive and energy that really makes an impact on the rest of the team.
For example, he was even trying to use his feet while on the floor to keep the ball away from Jimmy Butler on Wednesday.
Every play, he gives it his all; however, that is what has held him back a bit with his fouling issues. In order to be playable, he has to play smarter and be a little bit less physical so he doesn’t rack up fouls.
Reed’s natural bounce and athleticism is even more of a bonus. He can play that rim-running role that the 76ers don’t really have because of his leaping ability, even though he is just 6-foot-9.
On a team full of veterans, Reed brings a nice balance of youth and energy to a team that really needs it from a backup big man,
Defensive impact + rebounding and finishing
The former second-round pick and G League MVP can really contribute to the 76ers on both ends of the floor if he’s used right.
The Sixers’ bench has a big need for rebounding. Reed’s 14-rebound effort against the Heat should be a great sign to address that problem.
Offensively, as mentioned before, he can be a solid player around the rim for the 76ers, which is beneficial for guys like James Harden who can run pick-and-rolls with Reed.
Defensively, Reed is strong, has good length and again, brings a ton of energy. He can definitely be a big part of the 76ers bench going forward, as long as he continues to play smart and the 76ers commit to him as a backup center.
Featured image courtesy of Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
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