Naz Reid is a Timberwolves homegrown hero

Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports /

Do we place NBA players too high on a pedestal? After all, while many are blessed with devoted discipline, amazing athleticism, and a huge bank account after signing their second NBA contract, they are simply as human as the rest of us.

That is not a sleight, merely the reality that sometimes our willingness to build up a player beyond the scope of human existence can be as merciless as our inevitable willingness to tear them back down from the celestial heavens. NBA Players, like bus drivers, coaches, even food service staff at restaurants, and so many other vocations provide a service that we value and enjoy.

But occasionally, there is a story about an NBA player who beat the odds, carving a role for himself out of nothing in the NBA. That is why Minnesota Timberwolves backup center Naz Reid has done, and on the occasion of his new NBA contract, why I feel that it’s time to acknowledge his unlikely journey to where he stands today.

From undrafted to a vital role

The challenge in the NBA for players who do not hear their names called out in an NBA Draft is the lifelong uphill battle that lone event brings to their professional careers. Naz Reid arrived at the NBA out of LSU, a 6-foot-9 250-pound center who possessed the tough physicality to bang bodies in the NBA.

But the only interest he could attract was an offer by the Minnesota Timberwolves to one of two Two-Way contracts. He signed the deal, knowing that once he got his foot in the door, good things would happen as long as he worked hard.

He did exactly that, impressing the Timberwolves so much that they canceled his original contract just two weeks later in order to sign him to a standard NBA contract.

Reid is a Timberwolves’ home-grown hero

Naz Reid continued to put in the work, taking any and every opportunity to compete to his fullest whenever he stepped onto the basketball court. Over time, his role has grown as he has become more and more dependable.

His true value is how versatile he is, easily sliding over to compete and either the center or power forward roles on the Timberwolves team. Of particular note is the fact that even as an NBA big, he has a career average of 34.4 percent from the perimeter.

Averaging just over 17 MPG, he averages 10.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.6 SPG, and 0.9 BPG. That is pretty impressive for a limited rotational role. But even more impressive is the fact that Naz Reid has shaped his game to complement that of his teammates while filling his role to the fullest. He fits the Timberwolves roster so well because he has worked each and every season to play better for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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Perhaps there is a bit too much hero worship in the NBA right now. But that is not true of Timberwolves center Naz Reid.  He has come a very long way to enjoy this moment of his NBA career and deserves every bit of praise and applause that he has gotten along the way.