In the absence of the Timberwolves’ twin towers, Naz Reid has stepped up

Naz Reid, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Naz Reid, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /
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Coming into the season, the Timberwolves were regarded as one of the strongest teams at the center position, but now their big man depth is being tested. First, established big man Karl-Anthony Towns went down in late November against the Washington Wizards with a calf injury and has been out ever since. He was initially expected to miss 4-6 weeks, and the Timberwolves were prepared to compensate for his absence over that stretch.

Then, however, their biggest off-season addition, Rudy Gobert, suffered an ankle injury and has missed three games thus far. With both their starting big men out, reserve center Naz Reid was thrust into the starting lineup for the first time against the Oklahoma City Thunder and did not disappoint. In fact, he outperformed expectations.

Reid initially went undrafted in 2019 and started on a two-way contract with the Timberwolves before establishing himself as their backup center.

Reid saw rather inconsistent minutes with the arrival of All-Star big man Gobert before injuries collapsed Minnesota’s twin towers. Over that time, Reid stayed ready and welcomed the chance to show what he could do with some extended playing time.

In 37 minutes during his first stint as a starter, he recorded 28 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block, making it one of the best games he has ever played in his young career. Reid traditionally plays well against the small Thunder team, using his size and strength to his advantage. In this season’s first game against the Thunder, he actually grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds and scored 13 points to make up for Towns’ absence.