Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Sixers Big Man sends a powerful message amidst an uncertain future

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The Philadelphia 76ers retooled their roster this summer, addressing key areas in their quest for a deep playoff run next season. But new faces mean old favorites could be relegated to the bench even further.

Early in free agency, the Sixers were quick to add PJ Tucker and Daniel House to the team. During the draft, Sixers boss Daryl Morey made a clever trade for Grizzlies rotation draft De’Anthony Melton. And just a few weeks ago, James Harden helped convince former sixth man of the year Montrezl Harrell to sign a two-year deal with Philadelphia.

This means that there will be four new faces in the city of brotherly love next year. New Blood is great news for a team that was in dire need of more bench depth and an Enforcer-type player. But for some players at the back of the bench, it means they are even further away from game time.

Additionally, with the Sixers having 17 players under contract, the club must make difficult decisions to cut or trade some in order to get below the league maximum of 15 during the regular season.

Enter Paul Reed. The Sixers center is only entering his third season in the league and was originally slated to be Joel Embiid’s replacement from the bench. But after signing Harrell, Reed’s place in the rotation became murkier. But that hasn’t stopped Reed from preaching his own gospel on social media. On Tuesday, he tweeted a message amid his uncertain future in Philadelphia.

“The best revenge is success” tweeted Reed.

Is Reed trying to send a message to the front office, daring them to cut ties with him at their own peril? Luckily for Reed, his place could be the safest among those at the bottom of Philadelphia’s roster.

Reed was in a similar position with the Sixers last season. During the regular season, he played behind backup centers Andre Drummond and Paul Millsap. But many fans got to know Reed during the playoffs.

When Joel Embiid missed time with a facial fracture, Reed saw his gametime balloon. While the Sixers typically started with veterans DeAndre Jordan or Paul Millsap, Reed’s playing time hit double figures in four of the team’s six games against the Miami Heat. Based on that experience, PhillyVoice’s Kyle Neubeck believes Reed’s spot on the list is secure unless he is included in a trade.

“The only reason Reed is even mentioned here is because of his contract. . . .The only way he’s leaving this roster before the regular season is if a team wants to ambush him in a trade and the Sixers trim the roster that way,” Neubeck wrote.

Reed was by no means without a light in the postseason. His performances have been inconsistent: he was plus/minus from plus-12 in a game against Miami, only to drop that number to minus-9 four days later.

That’s why, despite his experience, Neubeck Reed put the brakes on even as a daily contributor.

Though traditionally considered a center, Reed also has some power forward experience. But a lack of consistent shooting from deep has limited Reed’s ability to get a consistent look at position.

“Although I think he’s very capable defensively as a forward and has had good shot counts in the G-League, it will be a long time before he convinces his opponents that he’s a real threat for three-pointers,” Neubeck said.

If that shot develops, Reed could be in line for a big minute. As it stands, the Sixers have few options with the Fours. PJ Tucker, Tobias Harris and Georges Niang can all play the position well, but the addition of Reed could give the team more options during the regular season.

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