Fan-Favorite Big Man Out The Mud With Guaranteed Contract

Paul Reed, Sixers

Getty Paul Reed #44 of the Philadelphia 76ers blocks a shot by Caleb Martin #16 of the Miami Heat during the second half in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

It has been an eventful two seasons in the NBA for Paul Reed. After being selected with the 58th pick in the 2020 draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, he has kept his head down and worked while battling for a spot in the rotation. The big man became a fan favorite from the second he was drafted due to his unique style of play, hilarious personality, and tip-tier social media posts. It was no surprise, but Reed saw his spot on the Sixers officially set in stone as the team agreed to guarantee his contract ahead of the 2022-23 season.

The deadline to make this decision was not until January, but Reed has earned the role with his strong play. His impactful backup minutes in the postseason were a major reason for the Sixers’ success. It has been impressive to watch his evolution from a simple fan favorite to a key part of the rotation and Reed has been rewarded for this.

Reed’s Fight for Minutes

It has been a fight for the DePaul product to find his way into the Sixers rotation. As a rookie, he played just 177 minutes as Dwight Howard soaked up the majority of the backup center opportunities. Last season he saw this number increase to 302 minutes on the year as Andre Drummond served as the team’s primary backup to Joel Embiid. Even after he was sent to the Nets as part of the trade for Ben Simmons, the Sixers signed DeAndre Jordan who passed Reed on the depth chart.

After it became clear that Jordan had nothing left in the tank, (and there was a near riot from Sixers fans), Reed was given the primary backup center role for the playoffs. He played 140 minutes and averaged 3.7 points and 3.8 rebounds. The defensive specialist made his impact felt by getting into passing lanes making life difficult for opponents. However, even with the guaranteed contract, his role may not be as clear for the upcoming season.

Reed’s 2022-23 Role

The backup center position has been a point of emphasis for the Sixers for several years. The massive shoes that Embiid leaves when he steps off the floor are difficult to fill. Philadelphia added to their depth by signing Montrezl Harrell in free agency. The former Sixth Man of the Year is an offensive weapon beyond what the team has had at the position throughout Embiid’s career. His energy and toughness have already made a presence within the Sixers and among the fans.

Doc Rivers has also hinted at P.J. Tucker playing the small-ball center role at times. The Sixers experimented with this against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the preseason and saw some success. Tucker’s toughness and strong sense of playing within his role has already made an impressive impact as well.

Regardless, Reed is sure to find himself in the mix. He has kept the right mindset throughout his time with the Sixers and openly stated how he is only competing against himself this preseason. Reed’s versatile defense and active hands are a differentiating factor and will make him the right matchup against some opponents. It is great to see the 23-year-old rewarded for his strong play thus far and he has made it clear never to count him out. It is great to see the reassurance of his contract and it will now be determined what his role will look like this year as the season kicks off.

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