After the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Toronto Raptors on March 31, head coach Doc Rivers singled out backup center Paul Reed on what he has to do when he’s on the floor and how much better he’s gotten as the season’s progressed.
“What Paul has to do every night is what he’s doing: he has to roll, and he has to roll with speed,” Rivers said, per Jump View’s YouTube channel. “What we’re trying to teach him, and I teach him daily, we work on it daily, he’s not big, he’s fast. So a slow roll from Paul Reed does nothing. A fast roll from Paul Reed gives us an advantage, and so he’s doing that way better than he was doing it earlier in the year.”
Reed, who did not start the season as Embiid’s primary backup, has since been deployed in that role dating back to February 10 in the Sixers’ matchup against the New York Knicks.
Since then, Reed has averaged 5.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks while shooting 61.9% from the field.
Sixers Insider Predicts Paul Reed Will Be in Playoff Rotation
In a mailbag on March 31, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer said that he believes Rivers demonstrated who will be in the Sixers’ playoff rotation when they played against the Dallas Mavericks on March 29, including Reed.
“I think we saw a sneak peek of the Sixers’ playoff rotation against the Mavs. Tobias Harris, P.J. Tucker, Tyrese Maxey, Embiid, and Harden were the starters. De’Anthony Melton was the first player off the bench, followed by Niang, McDaniels, Paul Reed, and House, who only played four seconds,” Pompey said.
Pompey added who he believes will get the nod as the backup center will depend on matchups, though he believes Reed has the edge over their other two backup centers.
“When the Sixers need a guy to shoot it a little bit, they can insert Dewayne Dedmon. The Sixers can go with Montrezl Harrell when they need a low-post scorer. And if they need defense or energy, they’ll probably go with Reed.
“Right now, I would lean toward the Sixers going with Reed over Dedmon and Harrell.”
Reed has played in 15 playoff games total since coming into the league in 2020, but has played behind the likes of Dwight Howard and Deandre Jordan, among others, in his time with the Sixers.
Doc Rivers Explains Playing Dewayne Dedmon Over Paul Reed
When the Sixers played the Phoenix Suns on March 25, Rivers played Dedmon over Reed in the second half of what would go on to be a loss. During his postgame press conference, Rivers explained why he went with Dedmon instead of Reed.
“Just needed some life,” Rivers told reporters. “That first group in the first half gave us nothing. We have Dedmon here, and we need to get him some minutes to see what he can give us.”
Dedmon has played in six games total since joining the Sixers on February 14, playing a grand total of 43 minutes. The Sixers have depended on him as a starter, as he filled in for Embiid when they took on the Denver Nuggets on March 29.