The Timberwolves Found A Hidden Gem In Naz Reid . . . How Bright Will He Shine?

by Katie Davidson
Digital Content Associate

C | 6’9, 264 lbs

2019-20 season: 3 games, 11 starts, 16.5 MPG, 9.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.6 SPG, 41.2 FG%, 33.0 3P%, 69.8 FT%

Naz Reid came on our radar during the 2019 Summer League when he towered over most of his opponents but still had the skillset of a shooting guard.

Reid averaged 11.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game while allotted just 18.6 minutes per game due to a minor foot injury. So, if you want to do the math, that’s 23.0 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per 36 minutes.

Those stats, along with Reid’s shooting abilities, led the Timberwolves to signing him to a multi-year deal two days after the conclusion of Summer League.

Reid didn’t earn NBA minutes until Dec. 8 and his playing time was minimal. However, he was considered a valuable asset to the team given the 18.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game averages he racked up in the G League during the 16 games he played with the Iowa Wolves in November.

Reid got his first significant chance to show his worth on Dec. 30 when he recorded 13 points and attempted 10 3s after Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders urged him to let his shot fly. There was a five-game stretch in which Reid went 0-for-2 from deep, but aside from that period of the season, Reid listened to Saunders’ words.

Reid showed he wasn’t hesitant to stretch the floor and shoot from outside when he popped to the top of the key after setting a screen for a guard or made his way to the corner to catch a swing pass and splash a 3. His accuracy was down from where it was with the Iowa Wolves, but his willingness to shoot from the perimeter was appreciated. 

Reid’s court vision was also pleasant surprise from a 20-year-old frontcourt player. Reid averaged 1.2 assists per game and assisted 10.9% of his teammates’ made shots, putting him in the 70th percentile of the league’s bigs. Reid didn’t need to spend an entire season with his Timberwolves teammates to be able to send a bounce pass their way as they made a back-door cut or dish a quick hand-off to a player rolling off of a screen. His 8.4% turnover percentage (90th percentile) wasn’t too shabby either. 

We saw Reid add a level of explosiveness to his game toward the end of the season and were familiarized with his spin move that was utilized against even the best interior defenders. But Reid’s own interior defense still needs some work. Opponents shot 67.5% in the restricted area against Reid while he shot just about 59% in the same zone.

Reid was allotted 16.5 minutes per game with the Timberwolves but still managed to average 2.8 personal fouls per game. His foul percentage of 6.8% put him in just the sixth percentile of bigs, and his 3.0 defensive rebounds per game were mediocre at best for a player of his size. 

There was a particularly frustrating game on Feb. 28 when Reid was held to seven points, one rebound and committed four personal fouls in an 11-point loss to the Orlando Magic who out-rebounded the Timberwolves 54-33. However, Reid responded to the loss and lacking personal performance by averaging 12.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists over the final six games of the season.

Getting into better physical shape may prevent Reid from resorting to fouling when defending at the rim, and improving defensively should be his biggest target this offseason. He’s already making strides. 

When Karl-Anthony Towns was missing in action due to a wrist injury, Saunders made it clear that Reid will be a part of the Timberwolves’ future. Fans should be excited about what’s to come from the 20-year-old who’s only scratched the surface of his potential.

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