Those Timberwolves who spend time playing in Iowa in the G-League know that they may get the call at any moment to join the main team.
You could be going about your day, usually in the morning, and the phone rings. Then you’ve got to get to the airport as soon as possible.
For Naz Reid, that call came at the last possible moment on Monday — 3 p.m. The Wolves had a game in just four hours. Despite the snow in Minneapolis, Reid made it to Target Center, barely, going right from the airport to the arena.
“God blessed me and I was here on time,” Reid said.
It was a good thing for Reid that he made it because he ended playing a significant role in the Wolves’ victory over the Nets.
Reid entered the night having played just four minutes over two NBA games, but he played 20 Monday and scored 13 points on 5 of 16 shooting.
Some of Reid’s teammates have been hesitant to shoot when they first see NBA action, Reid, who is averaging 18.4 points per game in Iowa, had no such inhibitions.
“I gave him a pat on the back and I said, ‘Shoot that thing tonight, big fella,’ ” coach Ryan Saunders said. “That’s what he can do. He’s a guy that can score inside, he can score outside, and he did.”
Reid went 3 of 10 from three-point range, showcasing that he’s not afraid to hoist from deep. He’s a 39% three-point shooter in Iowa. Reid said Saunders’ words made him feel at ease after arriving so late.
“Not wondering or not knowing what the game plan is and things like that, for him to just tell me those things, it just gave me a boost of confidence,” Reid said.
Reid added that he didn’t have much of a pregame routine — only to make the final shot of his warmups. That was a good thing Monday because he didn’t have much time to get ready.
The Wolves came to terms with Reid shortly after the draft when teams passed on him after his one season at LSU. The Wolves signed Reid to a four-year deal with team options in subsequent years. They like his shooting ability and hope they can help mold his defense at the NBA level.
It had been a while since fans in Minnesota got to see what Reid could do, and they responded by giving Reid a hand multiple times throughout the game. Other Wolves G-Leaguers have gotten some run, like Kelan Martin and Jordan McLaughlin, but Reid had to wait for his chance. That’s because the Wolves have a number of centers they could use, but with Karl-Anthony Towns already out and Noah Vonleh a late addition to the injury report Monday, Reid got his chance. They may need him again Wednesday at Milwaukee.
“First coming in, you don’t know what to expect,” Reid said when asked how he has grown in the organization. “You got a lot of older guys. You’re a rookie. You’re not really thinking about what’s next. You’re thinking about how am I going to get through this and X, Y and Z? Being in Iowa helped me with confidence. That’s a big thing.”
Reid will savor what happened Monday. He got to square off against someone he grew up watching in DeAndre Jordan and said he shared some fun conversations with Jordan before, during and after the game.
“Just being out there a rookie, a lot of older guys might pick on you,” Reid said. “You definitely want to go out there with a mind-set like I need to buckle down on defense.”
And keep firing away from the outside.