You’d certainly be curious why an undrafted player was taking the last shot, and not either max-contract player on the roster, the newly-minted $14-million-per-year wing, or the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
All fair questions to ask. Let’s get into Naz Reid’s evolution from a collegiate one-and-done, undrafted project to legitimate NBA-caliber big man.
The evolution of Minnesota Timberwolves’ big man Naz Reid
Yes, in the above example, the Timberwolves were without both Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell, who would clearly be ahead of Reid in the pecking order when it comes to crunchtime usage, but it’s notable that Reid ended up with the look over the team’s best remaining pure scorer in Beasley.
Coming out of college as a one-and-done, Reid was seen as a potential middle-second-round prospect who needed better conditioning but showed flashes of his offensive potential and had the measurements to be a solid defender. Unfortunately, those flashes weren’t enough to even get him drafted.
But he showed enough in Las Vegas Summer League for the Wolves to bump him from a two-way contract to a partially-guaranteed, four-year contract to be part of the Wolves’ regular roster.
Then, in the G League, he took his game to another level.
In 16 games with the Iowa Wolves in 2019, Reid averaged 18.4 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.9 blocks per contest. He showed the Wolves he was too good for the G League and in late December, he was called up for good due in part to an injury to Towns.
In his final 15 games of last season, Reid averaged 11.5 points, 6.1 boards, and right around a steal and a block per game.
Reid showed he was ready to at least hold his own against NBA competition for Minnesota coming into the year, but he has proven to be an integral part of the team going forward.