With big man Joel Embiid expected to miss the next two-to-three weeks with a left knee bone bruise, the NBA trade deadline suddenly has an added level of intrigue for the Philadelphia 76ers. Although a home-run move is unlikely, the team could probably benefit by adding another depth piece to help weather the storm.
To that end, fans and armchair GMs alike have been burning up the trade machine for weeks. The buyout market has been a hot topic on social media as well. However, one option for bolstering the 76ers’ bench may already be part of the organization.
Two-way signee Paul Reed was arguably the best player in the G League bubble. Thanks in large part to his efforts, Philly’s developmental affiliate — the Delaware Blue Coats — stormed its way to the G League title game last week before falling short against the Lakeland Magic.
Shortly thereafter, Reed returned to the Sixers to be with the team for the stretch run. And a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania on Monday indicated that the organization is expecting him to do more than simply sit on the bench and watch while preparing for next season.
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Paul Reed Reportedly Getting a New Deal
According to Charania, the Sixers are angling to convert Reed’s current two-way contract to a fully-fledged NBA deal. In his latest round-up of trade-deadline intel, the league insider wrote the following about the late second-round pick:
76ers rookie Paul Reed — aka ‘BBall Paul’ — finished an impressive run in the G League’s bubble in Orlando for the Delaware Blue Coats: 22.3 points, 11.9 rebounds, two steals and 1.3 blocks per game while shooting 44.4 percent from 3-point range. Reed is on a two-way contract, but look for him to have that converted to a standard NBA deal at some point.
While Reed’s raw numbers in the bubble were eye-popping in their own right, even they don’t fully paint the picture of how effective he was in Orlando.
As noted by ESPN’s Kevin Pelton, he led the field in WARP during the regular season, outpacing Raptors 905 big man and former first-round pick Henry Ellenson by a significant margin (3.54 to 2.47). He also ranked fifth in offensive rebounding percentage (13.1) and seventh in effective field goal percentage (63.7).
His ability to clean the offensive glass should come as no surprise. He was one of the Big East Conference’s best rebounders during his final two years at DePaul. Reed also shouted out his rebounding prowess after the draft when discussing his future NBA role. However, his offensive improvement is noteworthy.
In the bubble, Reed showed an increased willingness to let it fly from different areas on the court and in varying situations and was more effective than not in doing so. Accomplishing the same feat at the NBA level will be a tough nut to crack, but his early improvement may bode well for his ability to remain on a roster.
In the meantime, his defense, athleticism and energy have earned him a look.
The Numbers Game
Although Charania’s report would seem to indicate that Philly is as enamored with Reed as Sixers Twitter, other dominoes will have to fall before his two-way deal can be converted.
As it stands, the Sixers’ main roster is full-up with 15 players under contract. So Philly’s president of basketball operations would either have to release a player or send out more players than the Sixers would receive back in a trade to free up a full-time spot.
At the back end of the roster, Vincent Poirier and Terrance Ferguson — both of whom will be restricted free agents after the season — have largely been out of Doc Rivers’ rotation.