Minnesota Timberwolves: Naz Reid’s activity could earn him a major role

Naz Reid of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Naz Reid of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves are undoubtedly still trying to figure out what their regular rotation will look like when the regular season starts next week.

Regardless of exactly how the minutes are divided up, third-year center Naz Reid has earned himself a role beyond simply being known as Karl-Anthony Towns’ backup.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Naz Reid’s energy could earn him a major role

Naz Reid experienced an uptick in playing time in 2020-21 and should have a chance to continue climbing in Chris Finch’s rotation this year.

The 6-foot-9 big man brings energy, offensive versatility, and rebounding to Minnesota’s second unit and has looked engaged in a pair of preseason wins over the Pelicans and Nuggets.

In the exhibition opener against New Orleans, he scored 13 points and tallied two rebounds and one block in 19 minutes. Although Reid was 0-for-3 from 3-point range, he shot 5-for-11 from the field.

Reid only had six shot attempts in the 114-112 win over Denver on Friday night but he still found a way to make an impact on the game, compiling eight points, six rebounds, and three assists in 17 minutes.

In two preseason outings, Reid has been effective in the screen-and-roll and has been finishing at a high level around the rim.

Because of his combination of athleticism and upper body strength, the former LSU product can score through taller defenders. The likes of Jaden McDaniels, Jarred Vanderbilt, and offseason acquisition Taurean Prince will also compete for frontcourt minutes but there’s certainly room for one of them to carve out a major role.

While McDaniels is flexible defensively, he is prone to disappearing for stretches offensively and has generally struggled to adapt on that end of the floor. He has just two points and four rebounds in 35 preseason minutes. For his part, Vanderbilt has been more active, scoring nine points and grabbing 16 boards in 41 minutes.

Reid had plenty of promising moments a year ago, finishing with the fifth-highest usage rate on the team at 22.5 percent. Because he is able to score in the post, from outside the arc, and even off the dribble, he’s a versatile weapon for Finch to utilize off the bench.

Next. Malik Beasley needs to find consistency for the Wolves. dark

He will look to progress even further in his third go-around, getting plenty of opportunities on offense while spelling Towns and perhaps even getting a chance to play some at the 4 alongside the Wolves’ start center.