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Once the Philadelphia 76ers dealt the veteran big man Andre Drummond away in the deal that netted them James Harden, the Sixers had a notable question mark behind the five-time All-Star center, Joel Embiid. 

Considering Drummond was key in Philly’s rebounding game, the Sixers lost a major contributor in a department where they struggled. Throughout the final stretch of the 2021-2022 regular season, the Sixers looked for a Drummond replacement in Paul Millsap and DeAndre Jordan.

As Millsap and Jordan both struggled backing up Embiid, many wondered when the second-year former G League MVP Paul Reed would garner an opportunity to showcase what he’s got.

Sixers head coach Doc Rivers waited until the final three games of the regular season to give Reed consistent minutes on the floor, a decision that put him under fire.

However, despite Reed’s lack of playing time in the regular season, the second-year post player picked up considerable playing time as a backup in the first-round playoff series against the Toronto Raptors.

And when the second-round rolled around, Reed remained in Philadelphia’s rotation with and without Embiid available. Following the Sixers’ 2022 playoff run, Reed reflected on his biggest lesson of the year. During his exit interview, he revealed why he might have fallen out of favor with Rivers during the regular season.

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“I don’t think he had complete trust in me,” said Reed last week. “That’s something we’re still working on. I’m still trying to build more trust. So I think that was like one of the major reasons.”

Doc Rivers never sugarcoated the reason behind Reed’s lack of playing time. As the head coach mentioned that Reed couldn’t understand the system fully at times and be in the right spots, it made it hard for the head coach to trot him out with a floor full of veterans.

Once Reed understood what his coach needed from him, then he was able to start building trust with Rivers. 

“The biggest thing I learned was just being coachable,” the second-year veteran explained. While Reed doesn’t lack athleticism or skills, the young veteran still has much to learn.

“It’s like mental things. Reading coverages, knowing when to cut, flash, knowing when to set screens, knowing when to stay spaced, re-space, it’s a lot of little detail that goes into what Doc wants,” Reed finished. “So that’s something that I’ve been working on all season.”

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.

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