Naz Reid is perhaps the Minnesota Timberwolves’ most popular player. The home crowd’s applause meter regularly shoots up a couple of decibels whenever the fifth-year forward enters the game.
The 6-foot-9-inch Reid is among the long list of undrafted NBA players who played their way into roster spots. Ben Wallace, now a Hall of Famer, became a star in Detroit after four rough seasons in Washington and Orlando. He later became the first and only undrafted NBA player to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021.
No one is predicting Reid will one day join Wallace in that rarefied Hall. But as Wallace did, Reid exhibited stick-to-it-ness in proving that he is a valuable NBA player.
Reid told the MSR he attributes making the team to being more mature. “I think I’m in that phase in my career where I’m starting to take things really seriously,” he admitted.
The Wolves center joined Minnesota as an undrafted rookie before the 2019-20 season out of LSU. In his first season, Reid swung between the NBA and the G-League affiliate, playing in 30 NBA games and averaging nine points. After four years with the team, Reid has become second all-time among undrafted Timberwolves players in points and steals, and first in rebounds and blocks.
“I was able to lose weight, work on my game,” continued Reid. “All that stuff just helped me in the long run.”
But he never lost his determination, his desire to make it in the NBA. “I wasn’t really frustrated. It was more just like me getting adjusted and getting acclimated to the NBA.”
Reid is more than a handful inside the paint but is adept on the perimeter as well. “I played with a bunch of guards. I always wanted to be like a guard when I was growing up. I had a lot of guards on my [AAU] team, my high school team and college team. I just did a lot of workouts with them as well as post workouts.”
Heading into this week’s schedule, Reid averaged 12.3 PPG in his last five games. Last season, Reid scored in double figures 40 times. In this year’s season opener on October 25, at Toronto, he scored 10 points and snatched four rebounds in nearly 24 minutes off the bench.
As impressive as his stats are, Reid is also awfully proud of a skill that’s not often talked about: “My growth mindset,” he said. “That’s one of the biggest things that people don’t really notice or understand unless you’re in the gym here with us every day.
“I’m only in my fifth year,” said Reid. “As time goes on, I’ll have to keep progressing and showing that I’ve been able to do that from year one to now.”