As the Toronto Raptors look to start their next era of basketball on the back of new head coach Darko Rajakovic, Nick Nurse will try to do the same with a contender in the Philadelphia 76ers. Nurse must ensure that superstars like Joel Embiid and role-players like Paul Reed reach their potential.
A fan favorite in Philly, Reed returned after a three-year, $23 million offer sheet he signed with the Utah Jazz was matched. After playing a role in turning many of Toronto’s best players into stars, Nurse may have a similar case on his hands with Reed.
According to Reed himself, Nurse has big plans for him under his watch, with some comparisons to Raptors star Pascal Siakam being thrown around by Nurse and that coaching staff.
“I’ve talked to [coach Nurse] plenty of times, and it’s always been kind of the same kind of idea,” Reed said. “He talked about molding me into a Pascal Siakam-type player. Somebody who can kind of do it all. Shoot the ball, drive, pass, but it’s all about focusing on my shot mechanics.”
Nick Nurse thinks Paul Reed could play like Raptors’ Pascal Siakam.
While no one, even the Raptors, believed Siakam would be half as good as he is now, Nurse has to realize what a one-in-a-million success story he was. How many players go from New Mexico State and the G League ranks to a high-end starter in a half-decade?
Reed is in his third season in the league and has never averaged more than 4.2 points per game. In Siakam’s third season in the league, he averaged 16.9 points per game as one of the critical tertiary scorers on a title-winning Raptors team led by Kawhi Leonard. Comparing the two is a fool’s errand.
Nurse may not have a Siakam clone on this Raptors roster, but he does have the services of a league MVP in Joel Embiid. While he may not have as much young talent to develop on this roster as he had in Toronto, he does have the benefit of a roster and front office geared toward doing whatever is necessary to win now.
Reed is a fine player who was deserving of a larger role than Doc Rivers ever gave him, and he may turn out to be a solid double-digit scorer in this league. However, his ceiling is more limited on both ends than what Siakam brings to the table, making the comparison sound weird.