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Two-Way Preview: Philadelphia 76ers, Delaware Blue Coats

Amidst a shortened off-season, the Philadelphia 76ers found themselves in a scramble to ameliorate their past missteps. Hiring Daryl Morey as President of Basketball Operations is a move that allows the Sixers to have confidence in progressing towards a championship.

The highly-touted executive will make countless attempts to uncover NBA talent. In the past, this has been accomplished through overseas signings or in the G League, with two-way players. Additionally, he offers no hesitance to make a significant trade.

Last season, the Sixers’ two-way players of Marial Shayok and Norvel Pelle struggled to have a consistent role with the team, despite producing impressively in Delaware with the Blue Coats.

With Morey drafting Paul Reed in the 2020 NBA Draft and signing a 25-year-old shooter, in Dakota Mathias, the team’s two-way slots were filled. In a year compiling solely of unique and unpredictable scenarios, the presence of plug-and-play contributors in two-way spots could become as beneficial as ever.

Jan 18, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; DePaul Blue Demons forward Paul Reed (4) reacts after scoring in the first half against the Butler Bulldogs at Wintrust Arena.
(Image/Quinn Harris/USA TODAY Sports)

Paul Reed:

Paul Reed is a 21-year-old forward/small-ball center who displays a wide range of skills, with use of his 7-foot 2-inch wingspan.

During his junior season at DePaul, the team experienced a disappointing campaign, with their lone source of positivity being Reed. He became the first player drafted from the college since Wilson Chandler in 2007.

Last season, the DePaul standout produced 15.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.9 steals, and 2.6 blocks per game. In addition, he garnered All Big East Second Team honors. Reed, a nephew of former NFL wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker, saw consistent progression at DePaul and improved every season.

As a sophomore, the 6-foot-9 forward grabbed the most rebounds in the Big East, while being awarded with the conference’s Most Improved Player award.

Reed played for nearly 10 minutes per game in his freshman season. However, by the time he was a sophomore, he was a key piece. The numbers that accompanied his increase in playing time included 12.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game. Reed took only 0.5 threes per game his freshman season. That number rose to 1.0 attempted threes in his sophomore year.

Similarly, his 3-point shot attempts jumped to 1.8 as a junior. The fact that this number continued to rise is encouraging. It shows that Reed is able to acknowledge his weaknesses and has been working on his shot from beyond the arc.

While he is no specialist from long range, Reed is comfortable shooting from distance. He can certainly provide depth as one of the Sixers’ two-way players.

Oklahoma City Blue vs. Texas Legends
(Image/Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)

Dakota Mathias:

Dakota Mathias is a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, who went undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft. This was after spending 4-years at Purdue at the collegiate level.

In his rookie campaign, Mathias played an injury-riddled season in Spain for Club Joventut Badalona. Last season (2019-20), returning from overseas, Mathias spent the year on Dallas Mavericks’ G League affiliate, the Texas Legends.

During his four year tenure at Purdue, the Ohio native demonstrated steady improvement. He appeared in an impressive 34 games as a freshman, averaging around 20 minutes per contest.

During his sophomore year, Mathias’ playing time dipped ever-so-slightly to 19 minutes per game. Barely playing for half of the games, the numbers that were tallied his first two collegiate seasons were lackluster. However, his playing time leapt to 31+ minutes during his junior and senior campaigns. The increase in playing time was directly proportional to his on-court production.

As a junior, the Boilermaker guard averaged 9.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.8 assists. Also, he shot 45.3% from 3-point land, on 4.5 attempts per game. The conference recognized his play by naming Mathias to the Big Ten All Defensive Team. He was also named as an All Big Ten Honorable Mention.

As a senior, another selection to the Big Ten All Defensive Team came. Additionally, his all-around production grew to 12 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.2 steals. On 46.6% 3-point shooting (5.6 APG).

With the Legends in the G League, the shooting specialist showcased his skill set. Displaying a stat-line of 18.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal. He shot 8.8 threes per game, converting at a 39.5% rate.

He was able to use his 6-foot-6 wingspan and high release point to shoot over defenders. With only 1.4 turnovers per game, the Purdue product boasted an above average assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.1. This highlights his commendable basketball IQ.

Hypothetically, if something were to happen to the Sixers’ core shooting guard depth, like Seth Curry or Furkan Korkmaz, then Mathias could see an extended opportunity.


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