Paul Reed Is the Only Thing We Don't Have to Worry About
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`Did you see that clip of Paul Reed scrimmaging in a Rico Hines private run -- apparently a thing -- where he gets an offensive board kicked out to him behind the arc? The defender charges out at him, he briefly intimates a shot, then puts the ball on the floor, knifes through the lane, twists around the help defense and deposits two at the rim. "Bro closed out on Paul Reed like he was Ray Allen lmfao" one quote tweet of the video read. "Issa reason," was Reed's own response.
Delightful. Only Paul Reed could get us going teasing us with preseason videos of him not shooting -- Ben Simmons is probably furious, wondering why he never thought of that before. But even if we didn't see it, we still believe that Reed's shooting has been progressing beautifully this offseason, and should be way up in both volume and efficiency come next year. And we believe that as long as defenders are gonna jump out on him to prevent him bombing away, he's gonna be able to unleash the full bag from there and still put ball in basket with style and ease. We believe it all with BBall Paul. We have no reason not to.
In fact, while thinking about everything else going on with the Sixers right now is like remembering at 10:15 on Sunday night that you have an early morning meeting the next day, BBall Paul remains a source of pure, unmitigated joy. He may be the only one we have left. Possibly for a long time to come.
There's certainly no others on the roster right now. There's players we still dig, sure, but none besides No. 44 who we truly have no worries about at the moment. De'Anthony Melton is probably still pretty well-liked, but we already know to get heartburn-y every time he tries to score around the hoop -- and after Game Six last year, it might be a minute before we even trust him behind the arc again. P.J. Tucker's excitement for talking himself out of taking open threes should only burn brighter as a 38-year-old. Jaden Springer will always be a couple blown assignments away from not getting minutes. Furkan Korkmaz will always be a missed floater away from never being heard from again (and/or demanding another trade).
And yes, that includes Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey as well. We've passed this point long enough ago now with Jo that it's difficult to remember how recently getting there with him would've seemed like an impossible thing that could never happen -- but after seven seasons, fear for the future with No. 21 is definitely equal to (if not far in excess of) excitement over his present. Things are still less storm-clouded than that with Maxey, but even his wonderfulness will be fogged this season by anxiety over his unresolved long-term contract situation, and whether he'll be able to take the next step as a player in the (presumably) post-Harden era to get himself and this team where they need to go.
But BBall? We're still on the Good Times Express, baby! There's no trauma based around memories of his postseason underperformance. There's no major unfillable holes in his game we're still desperate for him to address. There's not even a quick-leash coach on the sideline anymore, looking to bury him under an avalanche of do-nothing fives the second he doesn't say God Bless You post-sneeze. And perhaps most pertinent here, there's no concerns about him not re-signing or that him being dealt is imminent -- we inked him to a three-year deal this summer, one that actually makes it particularly hard to trade him. He'll be around. It's kinda new to feel comfortable in that.
And lord do we need him. In the on-court sense, sure -- the rebounding, defensive activity, hustle, heart and general unpredictability he brings is all stuff no one else on the roster is usually quite willing to account for, and it feels like we've barely scratched the surface in terms of what he might one day be capable of. But the spiritual sense of this feels the more urgent part right now, as the Sixers ended last year's playoffs like losers and are looking like clowns to the rest of the basketball world in the midst of the Harden mishegas this summer. Having one key player who is still strictly Good Vibes Only is a much-needed, much-appreciated treat.
Will it last forever with BBall? Probably not: This feeling rarely does with a player, even under the best circumstances, which next season is unlikely to provide. Some lack of skill will further stagnate, some issue with the new coach will prove a tough workaround, some resentment will fester between fanbase and player. Maybe the fantasy of him developing as a consistent three-point threat dies, and with it the idea of him ever playing real minutes alongside Embiid. It's the way of all hoops, sadly. But for now, we can just watch him pump-fake randoms in Summer League pick-up games and float away on a natural high -- simply knowing that for right now, he is here, he is ours, he is beautiful, and his name is still goddamn basketball.