Naz Reid was supposed to be a top pick in this June’s NBA Draft, at least as of a couple of years ago. Once upon a time he was a five-star recruit out of high school before a disappointing season at LSU led him to fall all the way through the draft before the Wolves quickly came to an agreement with him on a two-way contract.
Reid suited up for the Wolves in the Las Vegas Summer League and did well, averaging just under 12 points per game on 46% from the floor. He flashed the potential at times that made him a highly sought-after recruit back in high school.
The talent is there for Reid, there’s not much questioning that. At 6-foot-10, 255 pounds, Reid has prototypical NBA size, and has the athleticism and shot-making ability to stretch the floor in the necessary way for today’s game.
After his showing in Summer League the Wolves decided to offer him a multiyear, full-time NBA contract that he agreed to. Reid’s deal is worth $898,310 this season, and is non-guaranteed for the next three seasons, running until the summer of 2023.
Reid has the talent to be an NBA player, and few would argue that statement. The concern around him is that he’s motivated enough to become a good one. There were times in both high school and at LSU where he took plays off and didn’t play nearly as hard as he’ll need to on a constant basis in the NBA.
Doing that is just the beginning of the best-case scenario for Reid. The frontcourt looks pretty crowded with Karl-Anthony Towns, Noah Vonleh, Jordan Bell, Jake Layman, Robert Covington, and Gorgui Dieng vying for minutes at either the four or the five. It would be a bit of a surprise for him to be in the rotation right away, and that may not even be what’s best for him.
Letting Reid spend some time in the NBA G League with the Iowa Wolves during the first half of the season could be a big help in terms of how he transitions to the NBA. Then, depending on how things go for both Reid and the Wolves, he may become a rotational player in the second half of the season, similar to the journey Keita Bates-Diop took last season.
That happening, plus Reid then playing well for the Wolves down the stretch and solidifying himself as a potential NBA rotation player would be ideal for both player and team. The team would then be inclined to keep him around through next season and then have the ability reevaluate its options.
Those motivation and hustle problems mentioned above persist at the NBA level. Reid spends time in the G League, but doesn’t assert himself as one of the best players at that level. The NBA playing time is sporadic and the Wolves still don’t know whether or not he’s the guy that was impressive in Summer League or if he’s the player that went undrafted. If that happens, they still might pick up his $1.5M contract for 2020-21, but he feels like far less of a sure thing and much more of a question.
If Reid puts forth the effort that is expected of him in the G League, there’s no reason he won’t dominate that level of talent. The bigger question is just how much time he’ll be able to find on the court for the Wolves at the NBA level. The best-case scenario is certainly more likely than the worst case.