3 Timberwolves who need to perform this postseason

Minnesota Timberwolves v Dallas Mavericks
Minnesota Timberwolves v Dallas Mavericks / Tim Heitman/GettyImages
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For Minnesota Timberwolves fans who have stuck around through thick and thin, it might be odd to think that the team is all but confirmed to make the playoffs for the third year in a row. Now that this is the new standard, players need to up their play to ensure that the Wolves have a chance for a deep playoff push.

Although the Timberwolves will be making a repeat appearance in the postseason, head coach Chris Finch didn't have the luxury of rolling out his regular rotation last time out.

The Wolves faced the Denver Nuggets in the 2022-23 playoffs, who later went on to win the NBA Finals. In that series, Minnesota lost four games to one. This leads us to two key absences from that series who will add another dynamic on both ends of the court. Those being big-man Naz Reid and two-way wing Jaden McDaniels. 

3. Naz Reid 

Naz Reid has become one of the most adored timberwolves of, dare I say, all time. The versatile big man has an explosive, highlight-reel-inducing play style which makes him stand out every time he checks into the game. Reid has been one of the best sixth men in the league this year; averaging 12.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game.

The 24-year-old has most notably taken a significant jump as a shooter, increasing his 3-point percentage from 34.6 percent last year to 40.6 percent this season. These numbers may look relatively modest, but Reid is playing behind one of the best, and largest, frontcourts in basketball. This makes it difficult to integrate him with certain lineups. 

Now when it comes to playoff experience, Reid has quite little. Only playing in five games against the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2021-22 playoffs, the Minnesota big has yet to play in the postseason in his new role as the Wolves’ go-to reserve scorer.

In his one playoff series, he averaged 4.8 points and 2.8 rebounds throughout 10.8 minutes of action. Despite pedestrian numbers, those should only be taken with a grain of salt as Reid is a much different player than he was in years past. 

This all goes to say that this postseason will be a true test for not just the Timberwolves, but players with little experience when the lights shine brightest.

Finch tends to use a nine-man rotation throughout the regular season, as opposed to some coaches going 10 deep. However, come playoff time, it wouldn't be surprising to see it tighten up even more.

Reid, Nickeil-Alexander Walker, Kyle Anderson, and Monte Morris are all contenders to get minutes down the stretch. However, Reid’s ability as an off-ball threat and shooter will be much needed, especially with most of the defensive attention being dedicated to the star duo of Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns.