Sixers will have reinforcements soon after Blue Coats come up short of title


Earlier this week, the Delaware Blue Coats had never played in or won a playoff game. They changed that in their best season yet but came up short of a championship. 

The Sixers’ G-League affiliate lost in the G League Finals Thursday night, falling 97-78 to the Lakeland Magic in Orlando, Florida. Delaware went 10-5 in a condensed regular season played in a Disney World “bubble,” then reached the Finals with victories over the Austin Spurs and Raptors 905. 

The Blue Coats had a cold shooting game Thursday, making only 31.4 percent of their field goals and 20.5 percent of their three-point tries. Rayjon Tucker posted 20 points in the loss, while Isaiah Joe had 18 points on 5-for-13 shooting. Paul Reed recorded 13 points on 6-for-19 shooting, 11 rebounds, three assists, three steals and three blocks. 

Reed, who averaged 22.3 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.8 blocks in the regular season, should receive strong MVP consideration. On the ESPN2 broadcast, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said he thought Reed deserved that award. 

“He’s shown, if Doc gives him a chance and we have an opening in the rotation, that he can come in and contribute,” Morey said. 

Blue Coats head coach Connor Johnson told NBC Sports Philadelphia Tuesday that the team was “definitely trying to refine” Reed’s game. We don’t know yet how he’d fare in extended NBA minutes, but the 21-year-old forward was impressive in the G League. The 58th pick in this year’s draft has potential as an energetic, versatile bench player. We looked at his sometimes chaotic, unorthodox game in more detail here

Joe shot 15 for 38 from three-point range (39.5 percent) in the postseason after the Sixers assigned him to the G League. Along with Joe, two-way players Reed and Tucker should join the Sixers soon. While the Sixers are not currently dealing with any injuries, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are quarantining after being exposed to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. It’s a reminder that roster depth is more important this season than usual. 

According to multiple reports, the NBA Board of Governors approved changes to two-way contracts for this season, eliminating a 50-game limit for two-way players like Reed and allowing them to be eligible for the playoffs. 

Danny Green said Wednesday that the Sixers followed Delaware’s progress during the NBA All-Star break. Back in the 2010-11 season, Green played for the Reno Bighorns, a talented D League squad led by Eric Musselman, Joe’s coach at the University of Arkansas.

“We’re watching,” Danny Green said Wednesday. “We’re excited about it. We love to see our guys, Isaiah and Paul Reed — and obviously the other guys, too. We’re watching our guys and seeing how well they’re doing. … They’re in there for a good reason — to grow, learn, but also achieve something. We’re excited about it. We know what it means for them and for us but yes, we keep very much in tune with what’s going on down there."

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