Few draft pundits had Ryan Reid on their draft boards.
But the Thunder had been following the Florida State product closely throughout his four-year career. And like Executive Vice President/General Manager Sam Presti said, there are no silver bullets when it comes to evaluating talent.
Oklahoma City heard the Florida State coaching staff rave about Reid’s attitude and defensive abilities, about his work ethic both on and off the court.
Off it, Reid became the first member of his family to graduate college.
On it, he was so fundamentally sound as a defender that FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton told the Orlando Sentinel earlier this season that he wanted to make an instructional video on how to defend based on Reid’s defensive techniques.
“I would recommend anybody buy a video of him teaching people how to guard the low post,” Hamilton told the Sentinel.
So based on his character and drive alone, Reid embodies what the Thunder is all about, which is why the organization swapped second-round picks with the Indiana Pacers to get him during last Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Reid brought a defensive identity to the court at Florida State, where he anchored a defense that was among the most efficient in college basketball. The Seminoles also ran defensive schemes similar to what the Thunder runs, something that also piqued the Thunder’s interest in him.
“We feel he was among the best post defenders in the draft this year,” Presti said. “The defensive system at Florida State has some similarities to ours so we looked at this as a positive. We see Ryan as the type of player that contributes to winning. He may not be the center of attention but he plays the game with physicality and intelligence on the defensive end, and with his character and workmanlike approach we felt he was someone we wanted to bring into the program.”
Second-round picks, particularly those chosen late in the draft, face an uphill battle in making an NBA roster. They usually spend time overseas or in the NBA D-League. The Thunder will get a chance to evaluate Reid in the coming weeks at the Orlando Pro Summer League.
“Our expectations for Ryan are the same for any player coming into the program: try to get a feel for how we do things on and off the floor, bring great effort and attention to detail and keep the focus on getting better in the role you are being asked to play or developed for,” Presti said.
At 6-9, 235 lbs., Reid defended both power forwards and centers in college. Nicknamed the “Big Ticket,” Reid helped shut down several players who were drafted ahead of him last week with his blend of physicality and lateral speed.
Earlier this season, he limited Georgia Tech front court players Gani Lawal (No. 46 pick) and Derrick Favors (No. 3), and in early March he held Wake Forest forward Al-Farouq Aminu, the No. 8 pick, scoreless for the first time in his career. Aminu averaged 15.8 points this past season and was the only player in the ACC to average a double-double.
“He was benefited by a talented group of players at FSU as well as strong game planning by Coach Hamilton and Coach Jones, but he is a guy that brings his hard hat to try and fulfill his role,” Presti said.
A team captain, Reid arguably had his best season as a senior, when he started a career-high 29 games and averaged a career-high 6.9 points per game. But at the end of the day, Reid hung his hat on the defensive end.
“I love playing defense,” Reid told the Sentinel. “(There’s) nothing like looking at somebody in their face and they can’t do anything when you’re guarding them.”
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