by Matt Green | Blue Coats Broadcast Academy powered by Rowan Radio
The Delaware Blue Coats are about halfway into the 2021 NBA G League season, and Paul Reed has been making plenty of noise.
The team owns a 7-1 record, tied for the top spot in the NBA G League standings. In his first week as a Blue Coat, Reed averaged 25 points per game and shot a 62-percent from the field. These numbers earned him NBA G League Player of the Week honors for Week 1 of the season.
Reed, the 6-8 big-man out of DePaul University, is playing for the Blue Coats on a two-way contract with Delaware and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers selected Reed with the 58th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
“BBall Paul,” as fans like to call him, has been a regular starter for the Blue Coats. Following his hot start, Reed has continued to put up big numbers. Through eight games, he is averaging 22 points and has registered a double-double in seven of his eight appearances. As of February 22, Reed ranks second overall in rebounds per game in the league.
This is not the first time this season we have seen Reed suit up in a professional uniform. While his appearances were limited, Reed checked-in to in five games for the 76ers during the first half of the 2020-21 campaign. In each appearance, he registered at least one bucket, refusing to go scoreless in his young professional career. He’s been doing that from all over the court: inside the paint, beyond the arc, and from the free-throw line.
Blue Coats Head Coach Connor Johnson has led the team to an impressive record to start the season; the team won their first 7 straight games before a back-and-forth 115-110 loss to the Erie BayHawks Monday. Johnson has spoken very highly of his team’s leading scorer, giving praise to Reed when asked about his talent and ability to adjust to his system.
“Our system is marrying that of the Sixers, which is helping Paul learn to find his spots to be aggressive,” Johnson said. “Most of the time, it’s how can he create a shot for somebody else, how can he set a great screen for somebody else, or how can he find his opportunities to score within the offense. I think we are seeing that he can really score. We knew he was going to be a talented and well-rounded player, but his scoring has stood out and has been a pleasant surprise.”
In addition to his offensive role, Johnson made sure to highlight what Reed has done well on the defensive side of the ball.
“I think that he has natural athletic gifts, I think he’s a great athlete, and I think he has a lot of length. He is showing that, as a [center], he can be a rim-protector, and if he gets switched out to the perimeter, he can hold his own and force a long contested two.”
He has registered 16 steals and 13 blocks over his first eight games as a Blue Coat, but BBall Paul continues to stay humble and wants to improve on the defensive end.
Following a victory over the Agua Caliente Clippers, Reed gave himself a “C+” when asked how he performed on defense.
“I feel like I could have done a lot better,” Reed said. “There were a couple times where I got scored on, and normally people don’t score on me. I definitely could have done better.”
Reed’s success on the court can definitely be traced to his maturity and determination to improve. While he is only a rookie, the 21-year-old is looking and playing like a veteran in the G League. It will be a major test to continue his red-hot start throughout the rest of the season. To the end, he does not lack confidence and has the support of his teammates and coach behind him.
“I’ve been putting in a lot of work, but I’ve got to say the coaches have definitely been helping me build my confidence,” Reed said. “They put a lot of trust in me to make shots and make plays for my teammates. They put me in a good position to show what I can do and I’m showing it.”
Having seen a lot from Reed in the first half of the regular season, fans have a lot to be excited about. His emergence is really why the G League was designed, and Delaware has been used heavily for player development. 19 players have been called up to the NBA from Delaware in the team’s first eight seasons, and much of it has hit close to home. The rapid growth of 76ers guard Shake Milton — whose roots, like Reed’s are with the Blue Coats — is still fresh in the minds of the fans.