Blue Coats season concludes in heartbreak

Jackson McCrae '23

30 days. That’s 1 month, 720 hours, 43,200 minutes, or whatever other unit of time you want to count it as. For Paul Reed and the Delaware Blue Coats however, that is how long they spent in the Orlando Bubble, trying to bring home a G-League championship, only to fall just short in the championship game. A 15-game regular season, followed by a three-round playoff, at the end of which a winner was crowned: the Lakeland Magic. The Magic hoisted the G-League Championship instead of the 76ers-affiliate Delaware Blue Coats.

The Blue Coats started off strong, winning their first seven games and maintaining the best record in the league for that time. But all of a sudden, the Blue Coats just stopped winning games, losing four in a row and dropping out of their one seed. They then managed to win three of their last four and were able to secure the four seed. In the first round, they faced off against the San Antonio Spurs G-League affiliate, the Austin Spurs. The Blue Coats handled them fairly easily, winning 124-103 and punching their ticket to play the one seed: the Raptors 905. Once again, the Blue Coats seemed to have no trouble, and continuing their domination of the G-League playoffs, winning 127-100.

The Blue Coats were feeling great going into the championship, with Paul Reed going as far as to say, “Confidence is through the ROOF! It’s on 11! 11 out of 10!”

But then the Blue Coats came back to Earth. The Lakeland Magic, the team with the best defense in the G-League, proved that they were worth that title. The Blue Coats never had an easy bucket and struggled to get into a rhythm, before falling 97-78 at the end of 48 minutes.

The team was led by rookie Paul Reed (58th overall pick), a serious contender for G-League MVP. He averaged 22.3 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.9 SPG, and 1.8 BPG, on 58.8% from the field and 44.4% from deep. His main help through the regular season came in the form of point guard Rayjon Tucker, who averaged 19.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.1 APG, and 1.2 SPG. However, these two received help when on February 28, the 76ers sent Isaiah Joe down to the G-League just in time for the playoffs. Joe flat out erupted, with playoff averages of 23.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.7 SPG, and poured in a ridiculous 5 three-pointers made per game.

Paul Reed, Isaiah Joe, and Rayjon Tucker are all on two-way contracts, which means they’re all eligible to play with the 76ers once they pass COVID protocol. While they probably won’t see much time or make much of difference this year, they will be given chances to prove themselves, and Reed, Joe, and Tucker will certainly take advantage of every opportunity that they get.