Naz Reid using opportunity to carve out time in Wolves’ rotation

With an established star and several young talents to build around, the Minnesota Timberwolves are attempting to establish themselves as a playoff contender once again.

From established players like Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins to newcomers like Josh Okogie and Jarrett Culver, we’re taking a weekly look at the present, and future, of the Wolves.

Each Thursday we’ll also track the progress of the Iowa Wolves standouts who might be of help to the Wolves in the future, or a current member of Minnesota’s roster.

This is the 9th edition of the 2019-20 Young Wolves Tracker.

Spotlight on …

Center Naz Reid

An undrafted free agent, Reid had been playing mostly for Iowa this season – with a few minutes in Minnesota in early December – before getting the call on Dec. 30 from the Timberwolves.

He had just played a G League game but Minnesota also needed him to play that night in a home game against Brooklyn.

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Reid played nearly 20 minutes that night, scoring 13 points, as the Wolves beat the Nets in overtime, 122-115. Two nights later he was in Milwaukee tallying 11 points as Minnesota barely lost to the Bucks, 106-104.

But in those two games Reid made just 9 of 26 field-goal attempts (including 5-of-17 from 3). Thrown into the fire didn’t necessarily heat up his shot.

This past week, though, Reid has settled into a role in Minnesota’s rotation, and his shooting has come back to form as well.

In Minnesota’s three games this past week, Reid averaged 10.3 points on 50 percent shooting (4-of-10 from 3) as well as 4.3 rebounds (2.0 offensive) in 14.3 minutes per game.

Reid played over 20 minutes in a 15-point win over Golden State on Jan. 2, tying his season high with 13 points (including making 3 of 6 3-point attempts) and grabbing a personal-best six rebounds.

In another 15-point Wolves win, at Cleveland on Jan. 5, he had just eight points (4-of-7 shooting) but set highs with three assists and three steals. He finished the week Tuesday with 10 points and five rebounds in a loss at Memphis.

Reid’s playing time has decreased some with the return of Noah Vonleh, getting just under 11 minutes in each of the last two games. At some point Karl-Anthony Towns will be back in action as well, which could mean Reid’s time on the court will dwindle more or he’ll be back in Iowa.

But here’s over the last week both the Wolves and Reid found out he can play – and contribute – when called upon in the NBA.

WOLF TRACKS

— Jarrett Culver, the No. 6 overall pick, has struggled with his shot somewhat during his rookie campaign. Not so much the last two games, though. In road games against Cleveland and Memphis he made a combine 14 of 22 shots (63.4%), including 5 of 9 from downtown. He had 11 attempts in both games, the 14th and 15th times he’s taken that many shots in a game this season. Those were the first two times he shot better than 50% when attempting that many field goals. In the win over the Cavaliers he also had a season-high four steals.

— Andrew Wiggins returned after missing four straight games due to illness and posted back-to-back 15-point games. He had averaged 24.6 points in nine December games.

— In two games, Vonleh grabbed nine rebounds in roughly 22 minutes.

— Guards Jordan McLaughlin and Jaylen Nowell had big weeks for the Iowa Wolves. McLaughlin had games of 25, 25 and 31 points and Nowell 26, 24 and 23.