CAMDEN, NJ – The backup center spot has been a sore yet important subject for the Philadelphia 76ers in recent years. The team has gone through tons of options throughout the years, coming up with mixed results for the player that steps in behind Joel Embiid. Paul Reed has given the Sixers a young, defensive-minded option behind the superstar but his path to playing time has always featured an obstacle.

Despite the potential Reed shows, Doc Rivers has shown a profound preference for veterans when Embiid isn’t on the court. After fighting for minutes with DeAndre Jordan last season, Reed is in the same position. This time, it’s between him and Montrezl Harrell.

Reed has played more minutes recently but he still has not secured a surefire spot in the Sixers’ rotation. “At first, it was a little challenging,” Reed said when asked how he prepares for games when he’s not sure he’ll play. “But I kinda prepared my mind mentally to be able to handle it and it’s been working for me.”

Harrell, when asked about the situation during the preseason, said that both he and Reed are there to provide energy down low for the Sixers bench. The pair of undersized centers give the Sixers a duality that allows them to prioritize defense or offense. While Reed has a knack for steals and blocks while providing good versatility, Harrell can attack the basket, draw fouls and handle the ball better.

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Reed is doing his best to not let the fluidity of his playing time mess with his ability to create havoc on defense and impact the game for the Sixers. “I would normally prepare [for games] by just doing all the things I normally do: coming in, working out, just staying mentally ready,” he said. “For me, it’s just about staying in the moment and just being grateful for where I’m at. That helps me a lot mentally.”

The Sixers having two decent options behind Embiid is certainly an upgrade over the days when they had none. Paul Reed and Montrezl Harrell may be duking it out for minutes but they still work together to help Philadelphia stay competitive when Embiid sits.