Paul Reed has made his way around town in the final stages of the Sixers’ summer.
On Thursday night, he soaked in the Eagles’ win over the Vikings at Lincoln Financial Field. Brandon Graham, the longest-tenured Philadelphia athlete, even ran over to the sidelines pregame to greet Reed, who’s back with the Sixers on a three-year, $23 million contract.
“That was a surreal experience,” Reed said. “I was on the field. I got to interact with some of the players and I got to see the Eagles get a dub, you feel me? Probably one of my better experiences ever, no cap.”
The next day, Reed visited E. Washington Rhodes Elementary School along with Sixers head coach Nick Nurse and president of basketball operations Daryl Morey on the third stop of the team’s three-day back-to-school tour.
Reed was a hit with the kids.
“It’s extremely important to give back to the youth in any way we can,” Reed said. “We’ve got an opportunity to talk to the kids, let them know what it really takes to be successful in this world we live in — and how difficult it is. I’m just extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to do this.”
Reed also fielded questions about the swiftly approaching season — Day 1 of Sixers training camp will be Oct. 3 at Colorado State University — and he didn’t seem to mind the shift in topics at all.
“I’ve just been focusing on ways that I can get better for the team,” he said. “I understand that I’m about to come in and play a different role this upcoming season. I understand that my role is expanding, so I’ve been working on whatever the team needs me to do, which is spacing the floor, playing defense, getting rebounds. Just making sure that I stay in tip-top shape, and trying to be extremely coachable as well.”
The “spacing the floor” aspect of Reed’s expected role will be new for him in the NBA.
Over 24 total G League regular-season games, he went 41 for 94 (43.6 percent) from three-point range. In the NBA, he’s officially at 3 for 20. Reed made 1 of 6 long-distance shots last season, which included one attempt at the tail end of the shot clock, one end-of-game desperation try, and an end-of-half heave. His single make came on the season’s final day against the Nets.
While Reed did shoot threes very well in the G League, his form has tended to invite reasonable scrutiny because he hasn’t possessed a fluid, “textbook” shot. As soon as he met Reed, Nurse started talking about his jumper.
“I feel like since the first day, he’s been very hands-on,” Reed said. “I feel like he already knew what he wanted to work with me on. He let me know that from the first day. He wants me to shoot. He wants to make sure my form is straight, and he worked with me personally on that. It’s been amazing.”
Reed specified that Nurse has focused on “how I catch the ball, the release — keeping it the same every time. There’s a lot of minor details, but it’s very important in the overall outcome of my shot.”
Would Reed say he’s changed his form?
“I changed the ball placement,” he said. “When I catch it … I’ve got to seam it up the right way. And just smoother — less motion. (Those are) the biggest differences that I’ve been changing in my shot.”
Nurse is well-accustomed to serving as a shooting coach. His charitable foundation still sells “The Nurse’s Pill,” which is a basketball Nurse designed with a stripe around the middle to facilitate proper grip. We’ll soon see what kind of immediate impact he has on Reed’s jumper.
Before his recent swing through Philadelphia, Reed joined many of his teammates this summer in Los Angeles at Rico Hines' private runs (and flashed some skills in the segments released online). Hines is among the new Sixers assistant coaches on Nurse's staff.
“The atmosphere out there was great,” Reed said. “Everybody that came out was ready to work. Everybody out there was very coachable, wanting to get better. We were playing (in Hines’ runs) for a few weeks and I was able to build chemistry with some of the new guys that we’ve got coming in, and just getting used to the new team.
“We’ve really got a whole new team, whole new coaching staff, and I’m just getting used to everybody. So it was great getting that opportunity to adapt to the new coaching staff and get close with them.”