Paul Reed Needs to be the Philadelphia 76ers’ Backup Center

Doc Rivers
March 23, 2022, Los Angeles, California, USA: Head coach, Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers questions a no-call during their NBA game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday March 23, 2022 at Arena in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by PI/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire) ****NO AGENTS—NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA SALES ONLY****

In the last game of the season, Doc Rivers decided to let Paul Reed finally play significant minutes after constant pressure from 76ers Twitter. As a reward, Paul Reed exploded with the best stat line of his career. Paul Reed, in 21 minutes, scored 25 points on 12-14 shooting, pulled in 6 rebounds, and accumulated 4 steals in the 76ers’ last regular-season game of the season.

Over the course of the season, the Sixers have had to watch DeAndre Jordan be the consistent choice for the backup center while Paul Reed sat on the bench, picking up minutes here and there. A game like this, though, hopefully, shows Head Coach Doc Rivers who the go-to backup center should be.

Yet, when Rivers was asked about the Paul Reed game, one would expect glowing reviews. After all, Rivers has never been shy about praising his players. However, when asked about playing Paul Reed more in the playoffs, Rivers discredited the validity of the question while also belittling the fantastic game Paul Reed had just had. Reed deserved some amount of encouragement from his head coach, especially since Reed’s fantastic game got Doc Rivers his 1,043rd win, moving Rivers into sole ownership of 9th place on the all-time winningest coach in NBA History, but that’s just not how it played out.

Rivers appears to have some vendetta out against Paul Reed. Or maybe he just has a personal relationship with DeAndre Jordan. It wasn’t as clear as it is now that Rivers has a blind preference for Jordan. Before Sunday night’s game, one could argue it was just veteran experience that Doc played DeAndre. Or perhaps, that Paul Reed was performing poorly in practice or something that Doc had access to that we didn’t. That’s not the case. Sunday night, 76ers fans all got to see Paul Reed feast when he was given a chance to play significant minutes.

While Doc Rivers may have been able to refuse to play Paul Reed during the season, thanks to the collective support for Paul Reed from the 76ers fan base, the hot seat is now turned up to full blast for Doc Rivers. If Rivers refused to play Paul Reed, and the Sixers have a disappointing playoff run while DeAndre struggles, Rivers very well could be fired. If Rivers plays Paul Reed, and Reed plays well, Rivers looks like a genius for not letting teams scout Paul Reed before the playoffs. The 76ers fans have officially put enough pressure on Doc Rivers to play Paul Reed because we all know just how good he is.