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NBA Summer League presents rare opportunity for Paul Reed to showcase his versatility for the Sixers

Tyrese Maxey has 21 points as the Sixers rolled to a 95-73 NBA Summer League victory over the Dallas Mavericks Monday at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Sixers forward Paul Reed dunks the basketball past Orlando Magic forward Ignas Brazdeikis in the second quarter on Sunday, May 16, 2021.
Sixers forward Paul Reed dunks the basketball past Orlando Magic forward Ignas Brazdeikis in the second quarter on Sunday, May 16, 2021.Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

LAS VEGAS — Paul Reed is more versatile than one would think.

When the 76ers drafted him in November, Reed was thought to be an athletic but raw power forward/center who would spend significant time in the NBA G League. Initially a two-way player, the 6-foot-9, 210-pounder did excel in the G League, where he garnered both MVP and rookie of the year honors. His dunks and shot-blocking ability were legendary. Reed also shot 44.4% on three-pointers for the Sixers’ G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats.

And on Monday, he had 9 points, a team-high 8 rebounds, 3 steals and a game-high 4 blocks as the Sixers’ NBA Summer League team rolled to a 95-73 victory over the Dallas Mavericks at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Tyrese Maxey showed why the Sixers (1-0) expect him to have a larger role in their rotation next season.

Maxey, who was a rookie last season, led the Sixers with 21 points on 8-for-15 shooting. He had 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals to go with 3 turnovers in 25 minutes, 11 seconds. Maxey made 3-of-6 three-pointers. Nineteen of his points came in the first half.

Two of his goals for the summer league were making the right passes and shooting the ball off the dribble.

“I work extremely hard on shooting,” Maxey said. “So I wanted to be able to show how I was able to shoot the ball.”

Shooting guard Isaiah Joe scored all 15 of his points in the first half while making 4-of-8 three-pointers. He was a game-best plus-33 in the rout.

Rookie Jaden Springer, the Sixers’ first-round draft pick, finished with 11 points on 4-for-12 shooting. The combo guard, who played small forward, struggled from the field in the first half, missing 6-of-7 shots, before finding a groove after intermission. Springer’s defense was solid throughout the game while blocking two shots.

It didn’t take him long to realize the speed of the game was faster than what he experienced in college during his lone season at Tennessee.

“I feel like this first game was good for me,” he said of the pace. “I got a taste of it. I feel like next game I’m going to be even more prepared.”

Springer wants to improve his decision-making when the Sixers face the Atlanta Hawks at 9 p.m. Thursday at Cox Pavilion in their next game.

“At times, I was a little nervous out there, like jitters in the beginning of the game,” he said. “So really I got that out of the way. Now next game, I feel like I’m going to be out there and be myself.”

Filip Petrušev had a strong defensive presence. The second-round pick had five points and three blocks. Rayjon Tucker added 12 points off the bench and was displaying unmatched athleticism.

You can’t get too hyped up from summer-league play, but several things stood out about the Sixers.

Maxey plays with a lot of confidence and likes to score. Springer is going to be solid on both sides of the ball once he settles down. Joe can knock down shots with the best of them. Tucker brings a different element to the floor. Petrušev is an impressive shot blocker. And Reed has a chance to be a special player.

» READ MORE: Eastern Conference foes have helped themselves more than the Sixers this offseason

The Sixers’ goal for him is to play more on the perimeter in the summer league. That sounds like a big leap until you find out what position Reed played at Wekiva High School in Apopka, Fla.

“I was a three,” Reed said. “I was bringing the ball up the court.”

That’s because he stood 6-foot-2 as a high school freshman. Reed grew to 6-6 as a junior and was 6-8 by the start of his senior year. At DePaul, he played some small forward in addition to the power forward and center positions. Reed basically grew into the post-player positions.

“So I can play there,” he said of the perimeter. “The only reason I played the five is because they needed me to play the five. Now, they need to me the play the four, I can play the four. If they need me to play the three, I can play the three.”

The numbers back up Reed’s statement.

He averaged 22.3 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.9 steals, and 1.8 blocks in 15 regular-season games for the Blue Coats in the Walt Disney World bubble in Kissimmee, Fla. He also led the league with 12 double-doubles.

However, his success didn’t lead to a spot in the Sixers’ rotation after having his contract converted to a regular NBA deal.

He finished the season with NBA averages of 3.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 6.8 minutes in 24 games played. Reed missed all six of his three-point attempts.

“I was thinking about it like this: We are the No. 1 team in the East,” he said. “My head coach is Doc Rivers, a legendary coach. If he feels like I’m not ready to play for some reason, I got to respect his decision. That’s Doc Rivers, and we are the No. 1 team in the East at the same time.

“Of course, I wanted to play. And of course, sometimes I felt I can help. But at the end of the day, he was doing what’s best for the team, and we got to trust his decision-making.”

But he’ll definitely get his share of minutes at the summer league while showcasing his versatility.