The power forward position has been a constant spot of struggle for the 76ers over the last few seasons. After trading away Dario Saric in 2018, the team opted to run Tobias Harris at the position as a “stretch four”. Just a few months later and Harris was bumped back to small forward, with Al Horford now taking over PF duties. With the introduction of Horford proving to be a disaster, and trade rumors swirling around him already, it’s likely the team will look to address the position once again this offseason.
We already looked at Jalen Smith out of Maryland, now it’s time to turn our attention to a slightly higher ranked prospect…
PAUL REED – POWER FORWARD
Strengths: defense, scoring, rebounding. ATHLETICISM!
Weaknesses: shooting, turnovers, playmaking
College Stats (2019-20): 15.1 PTS, 10.7 REB, 2.6 BLK
After barely playing his freshman year, Reed quickly caught the attention of scouts with a breakout sophomore season. Seeing his production skyrocket in pretty much every category possible, Reed won the Big East’s “Most Improved Player” award. By his junior year, Reed was setting the NCAA on fire with his dynamic play on both ends of the court.
Reed is an athletic freak. At 6’ 9” and 220lbs of pure muscle, Reed has the perfect build for today’s modern NBA. He’s strong, fast, can jump out the gym, and has the lateral quickness of a 6-foot point guard.
Reed’s elite level athleticism showed in all levels of his game at the collegiate level. He’s a tenacious rebounder, elite defender, and a ferocious finisher when it comes to scoring in the paint. He regularly attacks the offensive glass, can defend multiple positions and has an offensive game similar to that of any modern-day slashing forward. While playing at the NBA level will involve facing the best of the best in terms of athleticism, Reed’s size and strength should no doubt translate over nicely.
While Reed already appears to be an NBA ready player in the late first round, the biggest “pro” to his game is his ceiling. At just 20 years old, he’s still filling out his frame. The potential to add another 10-15lbs of muscle is right there. On top of that, Reed has shown flashes of taking his game to the next level while at DePaul. Despite struggling when it came to things like perimeter shooting, ball-handling/playmaking, and overall shot creation, he showed a willingness to expand his game into those areas.
With the physical traits already in place, the easy part is developing things like his handle and his jump shot. At his size, adding in those skillsets makes him extremely valuable.
However, like I just mentioned, Reed still overall struggles with some of the “finer” aspects of playing basketball. His dribbling was sloppy at times, his passing careless, and his jump shot has an ugly hitch to it. Despite being a double-double machine in college, the main reason he’s projected to be selected in the 20s is due to him still being a pretty raw prospect.
While the idea of bringing in yet another “developmental project” may scare off some Sixers fans, Reed’s ceiling is so high that it’s worth the risk. On top of that, Reed shot 33% on catch-and-shoot threes in college (!). The idea that he could still space the floor operating as a stretch four is completely reasonable.
I don’t like comparing prospects to NBA players, but I couldn’t help but think of Pascal Siakam when watching Reed play. Combining athleticism with some guard-like abilities, it’s a perfect power forward for today’s fast-paced game. Based on everything I’ve seen and read about Reed, he looks like he could easily be a day one starter. If the Sixers opt to not take a pure sharpshooter in this year’s draft, Reed would be the next best thing by a monumental landslide.
Check out some of the other entries in our “Sixers’ Draft Preview” series:
Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports