Paul Reed Scouting Report
By: Alex Brown @AhbAnalytics
(Video Breakdowns Available Per Request)
2020 Draft Age: 21.02 Years
Measurements: 6’9, 220 lbs, Wingspan N/A but looks very long…
Background Notes: Paul Reed hails from Orlando, Florida… Father was a professional basketball player in Europe… Named central Florida’s player of the year, led his team to a state championship but lost… Late bloomer and later growth-spurt… Was quite productive throughout his career at every level… Rated as a 3-star recruit outside of the top 200… Won Big East MIP after his sophomore year… Spent 3 years at DePaul and has unofficially declared for the 2020 Draft. For a more detailed read on his background: https://depaulbluedemons.com/sports/mens-basketball/roster/paul-reed/1869
Personality: The perception that is continually reinforced for me is that Reed seems to have a big ego. It seems that his ego is the primary motivator for his style and production. At times he seems to think he is better than he actually is… He constantly wants the ball and wants to be involved as a scorer in every play possible, developing major tunnel vision as a scorer. He has already decided what he is going to do with the ball before he gets it, and doesn’t really take what the defense gives. He has overly high self confidence, but that is far better than low confidence in many cases. His mental approach needs to be taken into heavy consideration regarding his fit, development, and potential roles.
Athleticism: Reed is a plus athlete at the 4 spot with long, fluid strides and above average bounce and speed. However, he is not strong enough to defend backdowns from stronger players due to his high center of gravity and reliance on his length. He is a bit herky-jerky, especially when slashing and finishing around the rim. He doesn’t have the largest vertical, but he gets up quite quickly and has some really solid quick twitch athleticism. Naturally, he needs to strengthen up if he wants to fit as an interior defender… He has excellent hands despite rather wild arms…
Projected Fit: Productive Two-Way 4, Small Ball 5 in a fast-paced offense if he bulks. High-option bench scorer…
Projected Draft Landing: 30-40
- High: Ego drives improvement, especially physically. Bulks up, shot develops further & allows for increased perimeter volume. Good coaching keeps his ego from causing him to play outside of his role, and he learns to embrace the little things needed to win. His production on both ends is evident, generating 3+ stocks per game with semi-efficient, motivated 3-level scoring and impactful rebounding. Ends up a plus on-ball defender when engaged (due to technique improvement) with solid team defense. He provides value as a rotating rim protector and help defender if his teammates can mask his gamble. Spot starter, top of rotation.
- Medium: Some ego issues make him occasionally push himself out of his role, but as a result he gives teams a production-motivated scorer and rebounder off the bench at an >8th man position. Generates 2 stocks per game as an average on-ball defender when engaged and average team defender. Technique does not make a major jump defensively, but improves to a serviceable level. He provides value as a rotating rim protector and help defender if his teammates can mask his gamble. Middle of rotation.
- Low: Potential ego issues lead to him not buying in and not being as coachable as needed. His efficiency is below average due to him trying to play outside of his role and not finishing at a 60%+ rate at the rim. Lack of commitment/execution in rolls/pops limits his role even further. Average at best on-ball defender when engaged and below average team defender. Technique does not make any noticeable defensive jump. He provides value as a rotating rim protector and help defender if his teammates can mask his gamble. Ends up near the bottom of the bench or as a two-way guy that is too productive for long term G-League time…
- Finishing In Space: Reed has above average touch around the rim, and has flashed a wide variety of slashing & finishing moves (spin, euro) and has a knack for finding open space. Furthermore, his length and occasional burst allows him to maneuver well around the baseline and under the rim. He wants to dunk everything, and can get up quickly enough to do so in most scenarios. He has a wide array of moves and scoring options down low, which seem to be quite instinctual and reactive.
- Transition Offense: Reed runs the floor very well, and has noticeable fluidity and speed in the open court. His ability to finish in space naturally makes him a transition threat. Furthermore, he really wants those free dunks, and puts in the effort when its feasible to get them. Ranked in the 74th percentile in transition… Some potential as a grab and go threat…
- Developing Spot Up-Play: Reed has shown that he is comfortable shooting spot ups, and even buried 11/28 (39.2%) (6/10, 60% uncontested, 5/18, 27% contested) of his spot-up 3’s this season. While this sample is small, it does show that he has some value as a floor stretcher that can knock down open threes. While this has not translated to pick and pop yet (mostly due to his poor screening), it shows his potential to add that to his game. His willingness to shoot off spot ups is encouraging regarding a shooters mentality, even though mechanics are unorthodox… He was only 13% on 3’s that were not catch and shoot…
- Space Creating Instincts: Reed has an instinctual competency for getting to open space. These instincts are often a bit further developed than his skill level, suggesting he has a larger ceiling as a scorer to work up too. For example, he often utilizes a pump fake into an open single dribble mid-range pull-up, despite his unorthodox mechanics (and inconsistent hitch). He has potential as a creator from mid-range, and has that key sense for instinctually finding space off of step-backs or fades without hesitation. While his skill level might not be as elite as his instincts, the fact that they are there is great for building upon.
- Off Ball Movement (When Motivated): When he isn’t standing around near the baseline, Reed can be a quick cutter and moves to open spaces effectively. His execution once there could be improved as he typically only moves to areas where he thinks he can score, developing tunnel vision for scoring instead of taking what the defense gives. His ability to get up quickly paired with his great hands allow him to be an effective lob target as well.
- Offensive Rebounding: Paul has pretty solid hands and positioning on the offensive glass, and finds ways to rebound out of his area. He finished this season with an 11% offensive rebound rate and pulled down 3.3 per game (by comparison, Zion was at 12.7% and 3.5, respectively). His length, anticipation, and hands make him a threat on put-backs. He also does a good job of keeping the ball high when his superior length wins out… While he only finished in the 53rd percentile on put-backs (at 58%), he has the tools to be effective at the next level (especially if he bulks).
- Roll/Pop Effectiveness: Reed really executed poorly as a roll man, only ranking in the 13th percentile. His screens are set lazily, and he doesn’t roll hard. His motor is rather low as a screener, as when he doesn’t have the ball he just tends to not try that hard. His feel for this element of the game is still very much in development. Furthermore, he is not very physical and just seems to go through the motions without respecting what screens do for the offense. His slighter frame also does not do him any favors…
- Ego: Paul Reed is very much a ‘me first’ player, and more so than many others in the class. When Paul is not the main focus in the offense his effort and commitment to winning can dissipate. Noticeably, this takes place on off-ball screens and when he is standing upright near the baseline and not making the defender pay much attention to him off the ball. As a result, he is a borderline terrible screener. He seems like he hasn’t bought in to doing the little things that do not show up on the stat sheet, which is a major red flag to me.
- Limited Handle: Reed has a relatively limited, but serviceable handle. He can put the ball on the floor in transition effectively, but I doubt he will be handling the ball much in the halfcourt other than a couple dribbles to get to his spots. He has flashed some dribble moves here and there, but is more suited to playing off the ball. He is at his most efficient when he simply uses it to get to his spots quickly, but not necessarily creating off of his handle.
- Inconsistent Mechanics: Misses are all over the place… Inconsistent lower body mechanics and shot hitch negatively impact his shot. His legs flare out forwards with a dramatic, inconsistent forward hop. His mechanics certainly look better when this hop is heavily reduced or eliminated (especially when open), and his touch looks better as well. He will need to put in a lot of reps with an NBA level shooting coach to generate some shot consistency. Lacks touch often…
- Playmaking: Reed far too often has tunnel vision for scoring, and misses easy looks for teammates. He plays with a me-first type of attitude, and throws some ill advised passes outside of his skill level or none at all. He does move the ball occasionally on the perimeter when he has preemptively decided to, but is by no means a player capable & motivated regarding generating consistent looks for teammates.
- Production and Upside: One area where Reed really shone at DePaul was his ability to impact the game defensively despite not actually being that skilled at defense. Recorded 4.5 stocks, along with a +8.2 DBPM (11.5 BPM). He really deterred slashers effectively with his length, yet he could have been much, much better defensively if he put up consistent effort and really learned the game. He has a very high variance upside on the defensive end, as he has the tools to be great but not the technique. Opposing players shot under 30% in the post vs Reed, drivers shot around 32%, and overall shot 33% in ISO scenarios.
- Rotation Rim Protection: Despite not being a true 5 and at just 6’9, Reed posted a very impressive 9.7 BLK% with 2.6 blocks per game, and for a while was over 10% BLK% (including 8 BLKS vs. Minnesota). He develops tunnel vision on the slashing player at times, but effectively anticipates and times blocks whilst using his superior length to his advantage.
- Generating Turnovers: Notably, Reed has a 3.3% STL rate, (including 7 vs Xavier) active hands (especially in post matchups), and flashes of good anticipation on the perimeter. He puts his ego to work defensively when truly engaged, as he really wants to generate turnovers and even embarrass the offense. This can lead to overconfidence in his abilities, however. This will likely take a hit at the next level.
- On Ball Help Defense: The one area I really like about Reed’s defensive profile is his ability to shut down drivers as a help defender. This is typically where he generates stocks, though he does often shift 100% of his focus to the slasher and leaves his man open on the perimeter or as a cutter.
- Hedging: When engaged, Reed can completely shut down P&R ball handlers with aggressive hedges. The clip below speaks for itself, and while this dominant of an impact is unlikely to translate, the effort is impressive. Can he bring this effort consistently across all aspects of his defense? Can good coaching bring it out of him?
- Defensive Effort, Awareness: My biggest issue with Paul Reed on the defensive end is the frustrating lapses in effort and awareness. Reed can get caught in no man’s land from ball watching and waiting for steals & blocks. He wants to make the highlight play, and again, not do the little things… He loses sight of his man rather frequently, leading him to scramble on rotations and often leading to easy layups. While opposing drivers only shoot roughly 32% vs Reed, when his man cuts they score over 60% of the time they possess the ball. His team defense is not ideal… Becomes someone you have to mask at times.
- On-Ball Defense and Footwork: Reed’s defensive footwork (especially on the ball) needs noticeable development. He struggles to contain guards as a result. He does not always set up to contain rather than gamble for steals. He often overcommits on close-outs due to him scrambling on rotations… He can be beat rather easily on the perimeter when the opposing guard actually knows what he is doing…
- Strength: Reed is a bit of a tweener, as he is not big enough to play consistent interior defense without getting pushed around. He has a high center of gravity, and can buckle to strong contact. He needs to put on about 10-20 pounds in my opinion.
I am not a huge fan of player comparisons, but I kept thinking to myself that Reed likely has a (discount) Christian Wood/Harry Giles hybrid type of NBA fit (especially if he learns to play in rolls) with similar production rates. The real key to Paul’s fit in the NBA will be developing his P&R game, and if he can develop the discipline to run it effectively. Molding him to become a P&R scorer and shaping that around his ego would be the right move regarding development, because he really could be good there. He has the burst, bounce, tools, and skillset to be effective there, he just needs the mental side. Defensively, he is a project that could yield some high value, but is likely to have some problems despite his high statistical impact. He will provide some highlights on that end for sure, but he has a lot to learn regarding footwork and on-ball defense to be an effective switch defender.
Primary Swing Factors: Roll-Man Commitment, Shot Development, Buying-in Mentally, Strength, All-Around Defensive Footwork.