Versatile Wolves rookie Naz Reid makes NBA debut

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 fifth edition of the 2019-20 Young Wolves Tracker.

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Spotlight on …

Power forward Naz Reid

It might not feel like it six weeks into the season, but the Wolves have moved quickly when it comes to Reid, signed to a two-way contract in July after going undrafted out of LSU.

Reid, 20, showed enough in summer league that the Wolves quickly tore up that contract and replaced it with a full-time, multiyear deal, bringing the versatile big man further into the fold.

And while it was always going to take Reid some time to crack the Wolves’ crowded frontcourt, he’s shown the sort of range head coach Ryan Saunders and the front office have come to covet.

Fellow big man Karl-Anthony Towns’ expanded role encapsulates this new way of thinking. The Wolves’ star center is averaging 25.9 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, right in line with his previous production, but is also averaging 8.5 3-point tries per game — tied for 14th in the NBA — and shooting a team-leading 41.4% from deep.

Reid isn’t quite as prone to venture behind the arc, but he’s displayed similar versatility throughout his career. It’s a comp that Saunders hasn’t shied away from.

“The unique thing about Naz is that he’s got a similar skill set, and I hope you guys take this the right way, to KAT,” Saunders told reporters back in October.

Reid averaged 13.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 0.9 assists per game in his single season at LSU, shooting 46.8% from the field and 33.3% from deep on 2.5 3-point attempts per game.

His shooting and scoring have picked up in the G League, while his length and craftiness have been on display as well. Reid is averaging 19.8 points on 47.7% shooting with 10.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.8 steals in nine games for the Iowa Wolves. He’s doing more from deep, shooting 36% from 3-point range on 5.6 attempts per game.

Reid made his NBA debut earlier this week, logging a few minutes in garbage time during a blowout loss to the Lakers, then showing up again in the Wolves’ loss to the Suns before being sent back to the G League on Thursday.

He’s attempted two field goals so far.

Both were 3s.

WOLF TRACKS

— Andrew Wiggins brought a guest to Target Center before last night’s Wolves game.

— Okogie had a season-high 18 points during the Wolves’ loss to the Lakers, hitting an impressive 3 over LeBron James.

— Jordan Bell matched his season high last Friday, scoring 12 points on eight shots with five rebounds and two assists during the Wolves’ loss to the Thunder.

— Rookie Jaylen Nowell, a former second-round pick, scored a game-high 26 points during the Iowa Wolves’ loss to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Tuesday. He leads the Wolves at 22.5 points per game through 11 contests this season.