The Los Angeles Angeles have been crowned league champions for the first time since 2010, and the San Antonio Spurs are a month away from making their first lottery pick in more than two decades after missing the playoffs for the first time since 1997.
Although the 11th overall pick will be integral to rebuilding this once-proud franchise, as history has shown a handful of organizations, including the Silver and Black, a second-round steal can play an indispensable role for a team looking to reclaim title contender status.
There likely won’t be a Manu Ginobili hiding in the latter half of the draft. But as far as high-upside prospects go, DePaul University upperclassman Paul Reed is about as talented as they get, and PATFO shouldn’t hesitate to snag him with the 41st pick if he falls into their laps.
Paul Reed | DePaul | Junior | Forward
Weight: 220 lbs
2020 Stats (29 GP)
Per Game: 15.1 PPG/10.7 RPG/1.6 APG/1.9 SPG/2.6 BPG
Per 36: 17.2 PPG/12.2 RPG/1.8 APG/2.1 SPG/2.9 BPG
Shooting Splits: .516 FG%/.308 3P%/.738 FT%
Paul Reed is a talented offensive prospect with the makings to become an impactful two-way contributor down the road. Although he is older than some of the players we’ve reviewed thus far, his track record of tremendous year-to-year improvement makes him one of the more intriguing options for the Spurs should he slip into the second round. And his untapped potential combined with San Antonio’s trusty developmental system in the G-League could prove to be an optimal pairing.
Reed is an uncommonly fluid athlete for his position, and his mobility was especially deadly in transition. And despite a strikingly thin frame, Paul was one of the most dangerous slashers in the NCAA. His quick first step helped him blow by slower forwards, and he used his explosiveness, body control, length, and touch to finish above and below the rim with impressive efficiency (63.6%). He also showed flashes of veteran moves, including euro-steps, floaters, runners, and astute use of deceleration.
Although attacking the basket is his best weapon heading into the NBA, Reed was mostly a straight-line driver, and he struggled to get to the line or create for others. The DePaul alum wasn’t a great decision-maker with the ball in his hands, and his tendency to get tunnel vision and play out of control when driving led to missed opportunities for open teammates and a handful of offensive fouls. Turnovers weren’t necessarily a huge issue for Reed, but a loose handle and imprecise passing from most areas on the court heavily limit his upside as an initiator.
Nevertheless, Reed may have a future as a face-up threat as he continues to develop. Even if that part of his game never pans out, his proficiency as a cutter and ability to provide facilitators with a legitimate lob target gives him value elsewhere. And his nose for the ball was evident on the glass, particularly when it came to pursuing tip-ins and put-back dunks for second-chance points. Furthermore, Paul excelled at positioning himself in the paint to score on dump-off passes.
While the 21-year-old forward shot with confidence, it would be a stretch to call Reed a reliable floor-spacer. His percentages fluctuated from season to season, and that was primarily due to poor mechanics. A high release point, solid footwork, and nice rotation on the ball are encouraging signs, though a slow and stiff motion coupled with a habit of shooting on the way down hindered his success. And the results only got uglier when he shot off the dribble. With motion shooting probably a pipe-dream for Paul, stand-still looks off screens and out of pick-and-pop sets might be his best chance at expanding his range.
Reed was among the best defensive playmakers in college basketball last season, and his 5.0 stocks per 36 minutes spotlight his extraordinary talent for disrupting opposing offenses. A gambler by nature, Paul can be aggressive to a fault when playing the passing lanes and chasing blocks, but he always fights to get back into the play and excels at turning defense to offense. He typically has a high motor on this end, though he will inexplicably mentally check out of games for a possession or two from time to time.
The six-nine forward is a good team defender with exceptional defensive instincts who routinely made the right rotations and switches within the flow of the action. Reed excelled at sliding over from the weak-side to contests shots at the rim as a help-defender, and a considerable share of his blocks came in this situation. His massive seven-two wingspan was beneficial for protecting the paint, but it also came in handy when closing out on shooters beyond the arc. He occasionally ball-watched when not directly involved, though I wouldn’t consider this a pressing issue.
However, there are a few areas where Reed must improve. Paul is not a great PNR or PNP defender, and he frequently takes questionable angles in an attempt to recover when beat. Reed is also prone to biting on pump fakes on the perimeter and playing upright and out of a defensive stance. And while his plus-athleticism is a useful tool, better footwork will be his key to success at the next level. High hips, a lack of lower body strength, and a slender build left Paul reaching and fouling when overpowered in the post, and adding more muscle would be beneficial if he hopes to hang down low.
Ending on a positive note, Reed lays claim to perhaps the most potential switchability in this draft. A smooth athlete with exceptionally light feet, long arms, and active hands, the second-team All-Big East selectee could feasibly guard four positions (1-4) in the NBA. The lateral mobility, size, and physicality are there, and I buy into his theoretical skills progressing and translating should he fall to an organization with an accomplished track record of player development. The San Antonio Spurs can provide that type of structure, and Paul Reed could complement their young core quite nicely on both sides of the ball.
To check out more potential 2020 draft targets, click here.