Pacers Summer League: Who is Willie Reed, again?

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers had a breakout performer salvage a Summer League game. Willie Reed led a massive comeback and made a seemingly pointless Summer League roster more interesting. So does Reed have any hope of making the roster, and where is he from?

Willie Reed showed out in game two at the Orlando Summer League. The Pacers were headed for another embarrassing loss in Orlando, but Reed suddenly discovered that Boston couldn’t defend him.

He scored on an unnecessary post move as a roll man.

I’m used to seeing Pacer post players fall down after all that spinning.

More pivoting! But under the basket.

Alley oop on the break.

And alley oop in the half court.

He even got involved defensively by swatting shots.

At the end of the game Reed had 18 points on 8 of 12 shooting, six rebounds, four blocks and three assists. The only negative was his 2 of 6 free throw shooting. The biggest positive was his ability to score in different ways. He got to the rim by running the floor, by getting open as a roll man and by making post moves near the basket. All he was missing was monster tip slam.

Reed went undrafted in the 2011 draft after playing two seasons at Saint Louis University. In his last year at Saint Louis, he averaged 12.4 points on 58.7 percent shooting; he only shot 47.7 percent from the free throw line.

Reed was suspended from Saint Louis in what would have been the fall semester of his junior year. He was investigated in a sexual assault case along with other members of the Saint Louis basketball team. Ultimately, the case was declared inactive, and no charges were filed against Reed or his teammates. He then declared for the draft after missing the entire 2010-11 season.

In September of 2012 – more than 14 months after going undrafted in 2011 – the Sacramento Kings signed him for the preseason. He was released after the preseason and played in the D-League. He went to Summer League with the Grizzlies last year, then again spent the regular season in the D-League.

In 97 career games in the D-League, Reed has averaged 14.7 points on 57.5 percent shooting. And he’s shot over 57 percent from the free throw line too. He’s averaged 8.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks and has played 30.2 minutes per game. He’s played with the Springfield Armor for 92 of 97 games.

So Willie Reed is 6-foot-9. The box score from the Summer League lists him as a center, but if he were to find himself on the Indiana roster, he would be a power forward. But that’s a problem for Reed, as Indiana has stockpiled power forwards. Incumbent starter David West is nearly untouchable in the trade market. That leaves Luis Scola, Chris Copeland, Damjan Rudez and Lavoy Allen battling for the backup power forward minutes.

Copeland could be moving to a wing spot, but Shayne Whittington could also be battling for power forward minutes instead of center minutes. The front court is crowded; it is not an ideal situation for any big man looking to get a break onto an NBA roster. But with trade rumors swirling, Indiana could end up needing another big man on the roster.

But all those different ways that he scored is something no current Pacer has shown. West and Hibbert aren’t running the floor for easy alley oops. Scola, Copeland and Rudez aren’t going to be making successful post moves on the block.

Reed can, but ultimately, it was a single summer league.

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