The Philadelphia 76ers enter the new season with fresh faces, and new schemes, but the same overarching goal: to win the championship. After a summer of retooling the roster, the Sixers have to feel good about their chances at a deep postseason run.
Joel Embiid should continue his MVP-like form, James Harden enters camp after an offseason of health and wellness, and Tyrese Maxey could well be on the way to his first All-Star nod. If Maxey does indeed take another leap like last year, he would cement his status as a late-first-round steal back in 2020.
Maxey excelled in year two with the Sixers. He proved that he could handle the responsibility of being a starting guard in the league, over doubling his points (17.5) and assists (4.3), all while seeing massive increases in volume. He’s an electric talent, capable of zipping down the court in a transition break that usually results in two points, be it from the floor or free throw line.
And his teammates know he’s unstoppable. Well, almost unstoppable, according to teammate Paul Reed.
“It’s impossible to guard [Maxey]. Unless your name is Paul Reed,” the Sixers reserve big man joked with reporters during training camp on September 28.
While all of the attention is on Maxey, he’s not the only young Sixer turning heads so far in training camp.
Doc Rivers Experimenting with Paul Reed in 76ers Lineup
After the first full day of training camp, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers opened up about a few new lineup packages the team was experimenting with. And in a surprising twist, Reed’s name was tossed out by Rivers.
“With PJ [Tucker], it’s probably more 3 than 4 because we want PJ to be in his spots. We ran some Paul Reed at the 4 and Joel at the 5, and we ran some today with Tobias at the 4 and a small guy at the 3. We moved that around a lot today,” Rivers said.
That Paul Reed was seeing time with first-teamers is a bit of a surprise. While Reed did see more playoff minutes last season when Joel Embiid went down with an injury, he was still considered a raw talent. But there were some hopes he could grow into the backup center stop behind Embiid.
Then the Sixers signed former Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell. On the exterior, it looked like that would doom Reed’s shot at seeing significant minutes this season, with Harrell predicted to take the lion’s share of backup center duties.
But Reed is capable of playing the four and could add depth and upside to the Sixers roster. A strong training camp could go a long way toward Reed securing a spot on the Sixers’ regular-season roster.
76ers Face a Roster Crunch Ahead of Regular Season
As it stands, the Sixers have 17 players under some form of a contract next season, be it fully, partially, or non-guaranteed deals. But per league rules, a team can only carry 15 players under contract during the regular season.
That means a tricky roster situation looms for Philadelphia on the horizon. In all likelihood, the team will either cut or trade players whose salaries are not guaranteed next season. That list includes Reed, Isaiah Joe, Trevelin Queen, and Charles Bassey.
By showing out in training camp, Reed could give the Sixers all the ammunition it needs to keep him on the roster. Given Reed’s playoff experience and relative upside, it was a roster spot that likely was his to lose anyway.