Paul Reed is Thriving as the 76ers’ Backup Center

NBA: MAY 07 Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 4 – Celtics at 76ers
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 07: Shirts line the seats of the Wells Fargo Center for fans before the Eastern Conference Semifinal Game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers on May 07, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

76ers Twitter has notched a massive win on top of the literal win that the team secured in the first two games against the Raptors in the playoffs. The Philadelphia 76ers deployed fan-favorite Paul Reed as the 76ers’ backup center in both games, while Doc Rivers’ preferred backup big, DeAndre Jordan, registered a DNP in game one and in game two.

After many disastrous showings late in the year by ex-Clipper DeAndre Jordan, many fans across Twitter were calling for Doc’s head because of his obvious refusal to give fan favorite big man, Paul Reed, an actual chance in the backup center position. The last straw for many fans came in the last game of the regular season. In the final game of the season, Paul Reed put on a master class, dropping a career-high 25 points with 6 rebounds and 4 steals to go along with a game-high box plus/minus of +30.

This was clearly the turning point for Paul Reed’s place in the rotation for these playoffs. Despite some dismissive comments from Doc Rivers after the Paul Reed Game, it seems that Paul Reed’s production was loud enough for Doc Rivers to finally hear him. In two games against the Raptors, Paul Reed has played 22 minutes, 11 in each game, and while his counting stats haven’t been anything earth-shattering, he has been effective as a backup center.

Through the series, Reed has only scored 3 points (1.5 points per game), grabbed 5 rebounds (2.5 rebounds per game), only 1 steal (0.5 per game), and only 1 block (0.5 per game). These stats may seem significantly underwhelming, but it’s important to look at the general impact he has had on the team in the Embiid-less minutes. Currently, Reed has a +12 box plus/minus, a +4 in game one, and a +8 in game two. The ability he brings defensively to the second unit is clearly a positive, as evidenced by the positive impact and the two wins that the 76ers have secured.

He is far from a game-breaking presence and even further from being the most valuable player on the 76ers, but the stability he brings to the backup center position is something that Sixers fans have been asking Doc Rivers forever since Andre Drummond was sent to Brooklyn in the James Harden trade and for that, Paul Reed is the right player to play backup center to Joel Embiid in this playoff run.

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