Weight: 220 pounds
Paul Reed entered high school in Florida at 6-foot-2 but grew to 6-foot-8 by his senior year. That might explain why he shows so much skill for a player his size. A three-star recruit out of high school, Reed has a strong pedigree with his dad playing professionally overseas and his uncle being former NFL wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker.
As he grew into his body and role at DePaul, Reed improved in each season. After not playing much his freshman season, Reed earned Most Improved Player in the Big East his sophomore year. By his junior season in 2019-20, he earned Second Team All-Big East honors by averaging 15.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 1.9 steals.
Reed has a ton of skill for a player with his size and length. He’ll be a mismatch problem at the next level with his ability to put the ball on the floor against bigs and take guards into the post.
His shot is funky but it shows promise. He didn’t take a ton (1.1 per game), but he hit 33 percent of his threes in college. He also made 73.9 percent of his free throws. He showed a strong midrange jumper and flashed the ability to shoot off the dribble. He also has nice touch around the rim with his floater and hook shoot and features a nasty Euro step.
Where Reed is most intriguing is defensively. At 6-foot-9 with a reported 7-foot-2 wingspan, Reed is the type of big NBA GMs salivate over. He has enough athleticism to switch out on guards on occasion. He’s also extremely disruptive. He was second in the Big East in both blocks and steals and led the conference in defensive win shares and defensive rating in 2019-20.
He also proved to have a knack as a rebounder. He led the Big East in total rebounds and was second in boards per game this season.
While Reed’s skill set is intriguing at his size, it did cause problems in the way of turnovers. As a focal point of DePaul’s offense this season, Reed had a tendency to get overzealous with putting the ball on the floor.
At his size and with his athletic ability, he could be a dynamic roller at the NBA level. He didn’t run a ton of pick-and-roll at DePaul and his screen setting leaves a lot to be desired.
The height and length are tantalizing, but he’ll need to get stronger to finish at the rim and guard NBA bigs. The good news is he looks like he has the frame to hold more muscle.
While positionless basketball is the way the NBA is trending, I still worry a bit about where Reed fits. Will he get strong enough to hang on the block? Is he agile enough to operate on the perimeter?
When I watch Reed, I see a little bit of Jerami Grant and Nerlens Noel. He has more skill offensively and shows more promise with his shot than either player did coming out of college. But his frame, versatility defensively and disruptive nature are reminiscent of both former Sixers.
Players like Reed are what the NBA is looking for. He possesses ideal size and length to be switchable defensively. If he hits NBA threes, you could have an extremely versatile weapon.
At worst, Reed could be a player like Grant that provides off-ball rim protection, defensive versatility, athleticism and competent outside shooting. If he fine-tunes his offensive game, he could be more.
Reed has been rising and could be gone before the Sixers make their picks in the second round at 34 and 36. Reed’s skill set could be one worth maneuvering up or down to acquire. He could be extremely intriguing as a small-ball five playing with Ben Simmons or as a stretch four next to Joel Embiid. Players this unique and versatile are worth taking a flyer on.
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