Paul Reed is motivated, grateful, and excited.
The 76ers’ rookie will use having 57 players drafted ahead of him in last Wednesday’s NBA draft as motivation. But he’s grateful the Sixers took a chance on him and excited about his opportunity to showcase his skills in the NBA.
“I feel like every team that passed on me,” Reed said, “they are going to regret that decision.”
In Reed, the Sixers acquired a 6-foot-9, 220-pound interchangeable big man with a 7-2 wingspan. He showed some flashes of post scoring and an outside touch last season for De Paul, but he’s best known for being an up-tempo rim runner and a standout defender.
Reed, 21, could be a steal for the Sixers.
As a junior last season, he was the only NCAA player season with more than 70 blocks (74) and 50 steals (54). He averaged 15.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, and 1.9 steals. Reed’s 142 career blocks rank third in school history.
Not bad for someone who was a three-star recruit at Wekiva High School in Apopka, Fla. As a sophomore at De Paul, he was named the Big East’s most improved player.
Reed entered his junior campaign as a preseason All-Big East selection. Listed as a power forward, Reed guarded centers at De Paul. Reed and the Sixers think he can add value as a small-ball center.
“Paul Reed is super, super underrated in our minds, especially with the Al Horford move,” said Daryl Morey, the Sixers’ president of basketball operations. “You know there’s a path there. He can also guard multiple positions.”
Horford started at power forward and played backup center before the Sixers traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder on draft day.
“With Joel [Embiid], for the 13-to-15 minutes he’s off the floor, Paul Reed is a guy who can guard multiple [positions] and we can play a dynamic, up-tempo ... good fit with Ben [Simmons].”
But that could take some time.
“The reality is most rookies take more than a year to even contribute,” Morey said. “But obviously, Joel and Ben are going to be here a long time.
“We feel like all of the guys we took [in the draft] are very good fits with those guys.”
Reed’s attributes were the reason why the rookie was projected to be drafted in the 30s to 40s range of the draft. He was two picks away from going undrafted.
“As a far as a chip of my shoulder, I have [a big] chip now,” Reed said.