Raptors Cage

The Late 20’s: Paul Reed Scouting Report

Name: Paul Reed

Dominant Hand: Right

Age: 20.8

Height: 6’9

Wingspan: 7’1 (no exact measurement found)

Weight: 220 lbs

School: DePaul

Position: PF/SF

ESPN Top 100 Ranking: Unranked

NBADraft.Net Mock Ranking: 37

Character

Character is often an overlooked aspect when it comes to scouting an athlete. However, in the NBA alone, we have seen too many occurrences of a young player with plenty of talent squander their career because of some poor off-court decisions. On the other hand, there are players whom at the age of 19 or 20 do not have as much talent or skill as their peers who are selected higher than them, but have better work ethic, and are able to make a more illustrious basketball career for themselves – see Kobe Bryant (picked 13th), Giannis Antetokounmpo (picked 15th), or Draymond Green (picked 35th).

To predict that Paul Reed, a not-yet 21-year-old might end up in this class of greats, when he is currently being projected to fall to the early second round might sound a little crazy. It’s unfair to hold a kid to the standard of basketball greatness for any NBA prospect – even for the phenoms.

The point is that Paul Reed has character. His career trajectory once he makes it to the NBA will incline. His work ethic, and love for the game can be seen through his eye-catching rise in the rankings over the past couple of years alone.

In high school, Reed was never ranked by ESPN top 100. In his senior year, he was ranked the 271st best high school player in the nation by 247 Sports, with nearly a 0% chance of making it to the NBA. As a freshman at DePaul, Reed played less than 10 minutes per game, and put up less than four points per game. Even by that point, nobody had him on their radar to go to the big leagues, except for himself.

It was in the 2018-2019 season after one of Paul’s teammates had graduated that he began to see more floor time, and his production spiked along with that. He took advantage of the 26.9 minutes that he earned, and produced 12.3 points per game on an efficient 56.2% from the floor and 40.5% from deep, while also improving his free throw percentage by 19.1%.

Paul was available for an interview, and when asked what got him into basketball, he responded “What made me fall in love with basketball is just the amount of fun that I had playing it.”

He also told us that the earliest basketball-related memory he has is that as a kid, his mom would make him dribble a ball around the kitchen using only his left hand. Obviously, mom’s coaching has paid off.

Reed was also very humble and gave an impressive farewell message in his Instagram post from a few weeks ago, when he declared for the 2020 NBA Draft.

“After three great years of learning, improving, and developing my game at DePaul, I am blessed to say that I will be declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft. I want to thank the coaching staff for giving me this opportunity and being great mentors and role models for me. To the fans, thank you for supporting us and always bringing the energy to Wintrust Arena. Most importantly, I want to thank my teammates/soldiers for always keeping it real with me and teaching me every day what it means to be a part of something bigger than myself.

Thank you God for all these blessings. I’m excited for this next part of my basketball journey and am ready to get to work.”

Length and Athleticism

Onto the basketball: Reed has a wiry frame at 6’9 with a wingspan over 7 feet (no exact measurement was found), and weighing just 220 pounds. For a tweener big who may be expected to play some small-ball 5 in the NBA, this could be a concern for some teams hoping to use him in that role. None of this is to say that he wouldn’t be capable of bulking up after making the leap to the NBA. Regardless, with his current body type, he has great athleticism, and does a tremendous job of leveraging his length and leaping ability to compete with bigger players inside.

As can be seen from this clip below, he finishes a contested jump baby hook inside by jumping higher than his defender to softly release the ball. Also seen in the video is Paul turning over his right shoulder and releasing the ball with his right hand, when traditionalists would say to use your left. This is something that he does on many occasions, but would be an easy fix if he finds trouble getting that shot off at the NBA level.

Again, the video below demonstrates Reed’s ability to veer out of the way of a bigger defender, but uses his long arms and hangtime to finish the layup from behind the backboard. Even in the NBA, traditional centres and most power forwards would not be able to match Reed’s quickness, length, and hops.

Rebounding

This same length and athletic ability is what allows Reed to be a tenacious rebounder as well. He has a knack for boxing out and getting a body on players whenever the ball goes up, and also has great instincts for positioning himself, and reading where the ball will bounce off.

This season, Reed averaged 10.7 rebounds per game, 3.3 of which were on the offensive end of the floor. Last season, Reed shot 66% on chances created off offensive rebounds.

His innate ability to sneak inside and position himself is shown in the clip below.

Again, his character is demonstrated through his game on this play below, where he sprints to the rim from the weakside corner to finish an improbable putback dunk.

Another commendable aspect of his offensive rebounding is that he knows when to put the ball up again immediately upon catching it, and he knows when to make a move or pass out. Often, young players get caught in a paradigm of going up with an offensive rebound as soon as they catch it, when better decisions could be made.

On the defensive end, the same thing goes, in terms knowing when to start the fastbreak on his own, or look to pass it off to a guard.

Defense

Defense is Paul Reed’s calling card. He’s flat out one of the best defenders in the nation. From his ability to guard bigger players inside, to keep up with quicker guards on the perimeter, to having the awareness of when/where to help and how to position himself in pick and rolls or pick and pops, he is top tier. He ranks 18th in the nation in blocks per game with 2.55, and is second in the Big East trailing only the 7’2 Romaro Gill.

His shot blocking ability for a 6’9 forward is yet another testament to his length, leaping ability, and knack for being in the right place at the right time. In the clip below, Reed illustrates his instinct to rotate over from the weakside corner to make an emphatic block.

He also ranks 2nd in the Big East and 50th in the nation in steals per game with 1.9. In the video below, he moves his feet and forces his man to pass off, before fronting the high post feed effectively to get the steal.

Finally, his pick and roll defense, his instincts, his quickness, and his awareness are all on display in the video below. Reed first blitzes the pick and roll ball handler, then hedges to protect the ball from going inside, then switches onto the guard, and manages to still rotate over to get a block in the corner.

Motor

Paul Reed’s motor is unparalleled which draws many comparisons to a young Pascal Siakam. He runs the floor excellently for a player of his size and is able to create many easy opportunities for himself just by beating opponents down the floor.

Below are just a couple of many instances where he outhustles everyone else to finish easy buckets.

His motor is also on display in terms of his relentlessness attacking the offensive glass, which we saw earlier.

Shooting

While Reed only shot 30.8% from deep this season on 1.8 attempts per game, he did have a ballistic shooting season last year stroking the ball at a 40.5% clip from three-point range on 1.0 attempts per contest. While one might argue that the higher percentage is due to a smaller sample size, his free throw percentages and mid-range stroke would give reason to believe that his shooting ability is legit. He also has no problem getting a shot off with a defender in his face, and is unfazed by quick closeouts. He even showed the ability to knock down some and-1 jumpers this past season.

His shot preparation is also astute, requiring less than a second between when he catches the ball and gets his shot off. He tucks his elbow well, and has a clean high release. He is very decisive, and is prepared to shoot the ball off curls or cuts when he knows he has enough room to do so. That is all on display in the clip below:

Playmaking/Putting the ball on the floor

This is definitely one of Reed’s greatest weaknesses. With a college career assist to turnover ratio of 0.63, playmaking an area of his game that he will need to improve. At the next level, defensive screws tighten, decisions have to be quicker, passes have to be crisper, and when there is an open man, you have to be able to find him.

While Reed is a solid, well-rounded scorer, with the ability to play out of the post, run the floor, clean up offensive rebounds, and shoot the ball, he does lack the ability to create for himself. He has a bit of a loose handle, as can be seen from the clip below, where he loses the ball, but cleans up and finishes the ugly and-1.

This ultimately makes it hard for him to drive through traffic, and is what leads to a lot of turnovers when he gets stuck in a cluster of defenders.

On the contrary, NBA teammates will offer him better spacing to work with which may alleviate driving lanes for him. He has shown flashes of ability to handle the ball and drive between defenders, as can be seen from the clip below, however this is an aspect of his game that needs more consistency.

Cutting/Moving without the ball

Reed’s know-how of when and where to make his cuts is a testament to his basketball awareness. He has a strong ability to find and get to open spots on the floor, and makes good, quick decisions off his catches.

DePaul does not run many set plays for Reed, so the bulk of his scoring relies on cutting, spot up shooting, and fastbreak opportunities.

Last season, Reed shot 61% on cuts to the rim.

Why he’s projected to drop

Aside from the weaknesses outlined above, The Athletic’s Ethan Strauss details that teams shy away from picking up guys like Reed because they don’t have any definitive position. “If he’s undervalued in this draft, I can understand how it happened. Like Siakam before him, he’s now something of a skinny tweener big who can’t fit neatly into established roles and rhythms. At the college level, he’s almost miscast, asked to imitate a center’s duties while the guards handle and create. Such tweeners can be hard to count on and difficult to project. If they hit, though? A tall wing who moves seamlessly between positions and jobs is immensely valuable.”

If there is a formula to developing these “skinny tweener bigs”, as Strauss labels them, we know that Toronto has it. They’ve already done it with Pascal Siakam, and while OG Anunoby has more muscle than Reed, we’re seeing his development starting to come along nicely too. Reed is a kid who is willing to work, and in his own words, the one thing he wants NBA teams to know about him is,  “put me in any position, and I’m going to make a difference.”

Leave a Comment