Minnesota Timberwolves: Naz Reid can stick as a rotation player

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - MARCH 03: Naz Reid #11 of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts against the New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - MARCH 03: Naz Reid #11 of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts against the New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Naz Reid
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – FEBRUARY 12: Naz Reid #11 of the Minnesota Timberwolves in action against the Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /


There’s plenty of examples of Reid scoring adeptly in the pick-and-roll game. There are also plenty of possessions in which Reid dribbled himself into trouble when he finally received a touch on the perimeter.

So far this season, Reid has scored 1.17 points per possession (PPP) in spot-up situations, which account for 22.9 percent of his play-types. That number is decent, and puts him in the conversation with big men including Kevin Love and Marc Gasol and shooters like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Devonte’ Graham and Joe Harris. For comparison’s sake, Towns scores 1.27 PPP in spot-up opportunities.

By contrast, Reid has been the pick-and-roll roll-man on 28.5 percent of his possessions and has scored only .9 PPP in those situations. Reid hasn’t played in isolation much, but he’s struggled with those opportunities: only five points on 15 possessions, or .33 PPP.

Let’s take a look at a couple examples of Reid scoring as the roll-man. While the play is largely made by the guard in each case, Reid maintains perfect spacing and ends up with an easy bucket.

In this clip, especially, Reid stays wide and doesn’t crowd McLaughlin, giving him ample space to drop off a wrap-around pass.

This play is the most impressive of the three, as Reid started with an off-ball screen to free Kelan Martin, but then began to flip the screen before slipping and rolling into the paint. He showed good hands as he received a tough pass from Martin as he completed the traditional 3-point play.

On this play, Reid stays put after setting the screen for Russell, and after not receiving the pass makes the proper backdoor cut and gets rewarded by D-Lo in the lane.

On the negative side, this is what happens when Reid is left to his own devices on the perimeter…

This is the part of Reid’s game that is not in same stratosphere as Towns. Naz isn’t consistent when putting the ball on the floor, and while he’s impressively nimble for a man of his size, his decision making with the ball in his hands is not exactly on point.

Surely, Reid’s shooting numbers suffer when he plays with the starting lineup at least in part because he needs to search for shots, and forces opportunities like the above examples. With the second unit, he’s the primary option alongside a point guard in McLaughlin who is adept in running the screen-and-roll.

This is the main argument for Reid as Towns’ backup: he can partially replicate the inside-outside scoring threat of KAT, albeit not quite as efficiently or dominantly. But the Wolves can run many of the same sets centered on high pick-and-rolls and even play five-out if they so choose.

The one issue with playing five-out with Reid is his inconsistency when putting the ball on the floor. While Towns can get to the rim with his long strides and scoring touch, he’s also an above-average passer and has only improved his decision-making in recent years.

Let’s take a look at Reid’s defense.