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Nick Nurse on BBall Paul Reed: ‘Will he play with Embiid? For sure.’

Nick Nurse sounds a lot like he thinks the days of mud are looong gone. He expects big things this season from the versatile, young, athletic, high-motor big man, Paul Reed.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Earlier this offseason, in what now feels like a land far, far away, the Philadelphia 76ers matched the Utah Jazz’s creative contract offer sheet to “BBall” Paul Reed.

Celtics legend, Danny Ainge, the 64-year-old CEO of Basketball Operations for the Jazz, devised terms that would have made Reed’s post 2023-2024 salary guaranteed if and only if whatever team Reed was on made the second round of the playoffs.

Many of us felt that was something far likelier to happen in Philadelphia than in Utah, although this James Harden stalemate sort of diminishes your confidence a bit, doesn’t it?

The Sixers happily waited until the last moment to tie up some of the Jazz’s cap dollars for a day or so, then merrily matched, bringing Reed back home.

At least one member of the Jazz beat even thought the Sixers were outright nuts for matching such an exorbitant (rolls eyes) $8M per season over a total of three years.

Clearly, not everyone thinks Reed is #outthemud just yet. Bookmark that Jazz game, Mr. Reed.

But don’t tell that to new Philadelphia Head Coach Nick Nurse. Nurse, it’s beginning to sound more and more like, really loves the 24-year-old big out of Orlando, Florida and expects another leap heading into Reed’s fourth season.

Nurse appeared on the PatBev Pod, co-hosted by the team’s outspoken newly acquired reserve guard and long-time stalwart defender, Patrick Beverley. Nurse was asked about the role he envisions for the DePaul product, and if BBall may play alongside Joel Embiid, or simply back up the reigning league MVP:

“Yeah I think, first of all, I love [Reed]. Plays hard. Got an incredible nose for the basketball. Like, I got a lot of time for guys who can go get the ball. The ball is pretty important in the game right? And he really can go get it. And even when he doesn’t, he just misses it about y’know, 25 times a game where you think he’s gonna get it. And he’s had a great summer. Amazing, he’s really worked from the moment I got the job. He got in the [Sixers in house] shooting program and he’s been on it. He’s in shape. Will he play with Embiid? For sure. Like I don’t think that’s a question. He’s gonna be out there playing hard, he’s gonna be defending, he’s gonna be doing probably more than he’s done before. I think he’s ready to take a step up.”

The fact that Nurse sees a role behind as well as alongside Joel will probably be music to Sixers fans’ ears. Doc Rivers was at times so averse to deploying Reed that he literally preferred to trot out washed DeAndre Jordan or Paul Millsap in high-leverage situations, asking the latter to defend Giannis in a must-win game. As time goes by, that stuff is going to appear more and more comical (I hope). Coach Nurse sounds like he’s much more open to a Paul Reed Victory Tour and much more open to simply experimenting to see what works than his predecessor was.

It will be exciting to see how much Reed can grow. And this is the first I’ve heard about a team “shooting program” but that’s also music to my ears. As is the part that Reed participated in it and has taken to the lessons. Can you even imagine a world where he’s spotting up in the corner, even serviceably? That might give this team a whole new dimension. If they can ever get James Harden back on board.

Where was Nurse and his shooting program during the Ben Simmons years? Would Ben have eagerly shown up? Too soon, I know, sorry.

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