Over the course of the short 15 game G League season, there were a slew of rookies that impressed whenever they took the court at the Disney World bubble. Whether it was Myles Powell pulling up from deep for Westchester, Reggie Perry showing off a well-rounded offensive arsenal for Long Island, or Mamadi Diakite being an explosive prospect for Lakeland that was able to make a difference on both ends, rookies were able to make an impact in the unique bubble environments that they were playing in.
However, despite the play of all of those players plus other rookies were more than impressive, it still paled in comparison to the accomplishments of prospect: current Philadelphia 76ers forward Paul Reed.
Before his current status as a player on a guaranteed deal, Reed entered the current season as a two-way prospect that was selected with the 58th pick in last year’s draft. Besides consecutive early January games against the Nuggets and Hawks where he played more than 20 minutes, the rookie was a fixture on the team’s bench for the first few weeks of the season. That predicament ultimately led the 76ers to send the former DePaul standout to the G League bubble to play with the Delaware Blue Coats.
From day one, Reed played at a level that was last reached by Chris Boucher where he was putting up video game numbers for the Raptors 905 in 2018-19. In terms of efficiency, the rookie only had one game, a March 1st matchup against the G League Ignite where he went 6-15 from the field, where he shot worse than 50% from the field. That great efficiency is made even more impressive when you realize that he finished 6th in field goal attempts and 15th in Usage Percentage (USG%).
That mix of volume and efficiency is even more remarkable when we expand on the examination of his offensive game and realize the versatility of moves that he utilized during the G League season. During the 15 game run, Reed showed a knack of being able to snag defensive boards and push the ball up the floor in transition, roll to the paint, snag 4.6 offensive rebounds per game, and be a strong catch-and-shoot threat that was able to shoot 44% from deep on a total of 54 attempts.
While he was incredibly strong on the offensive end, Reed played well enough on the other end of the floor that he was one of our finalists for Defensive Player of the Year. From the perspective of statistics, his status as a finalist was worth it as he averaged 1.8 blocks and 1.9 steals per game. Those numbers put him in rare company as Canton Charge veteran forward Sir’Dominic Pointer as the only players in the G League to average more than 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per game.
Along with those numbers, his defensive versatility is simply shown through watching him work over the course of the year. During the short season, he showed an ability to make an impact from both within the restricted area and perimeter by switching on to driving guards and holding his own inside against current NBA bigs like Tyler Cook and Moses Brown. Visual evidence of that is seen in the clip below.
From the moment he arrived in, Reed stood out as a phenomenal player that combined volume and efficiency on the offensive end with being a versatile defender. Those factors are why Ridiculous Upside is proud to announce that Paul Reed is our pick for NBA G League Rookie of the Year for the 2021 season.