Naz Reid was a convert to the Timberwolves' philosophy on shot values well before he signed a contract with the team.
For most of his basketball life, Reid detested taking midrange jumpers.
"I've never shot midrange shots," said the 6-9 center. "Even in high school, AAU, college. I never shot midrange. I hate midrange shots."
Perhaps that's why Reid has fit in so well despite being an undrafted free agent in 2019. The Wolves have had few bright spots as they have gotten off to a 4-13 start with Karl-Anthony Towns missing most of the season because of a left wrist dislocation and then a positive coronavirus test.
Reid has started nine games and averaged 12.1 points while posting a true shooting percentage of .634, second-highest on the team behind Jaylen Nowell, who has played only 36 minutes. Reid is also shooting 39% from three-point range.
He has taken only four midrange shots through 17 games, according to NBA.com.
"It's not that I can't shoot them. It's that I don't feel right shooting [them]," Reid said. "The system of [rim] twos, threes, free throws is a proper system."
It wasn't in the Wolves' plans to play the 21-year-old as much as they have, but he has taken advantage of the opportunity to show he belongs on an NBA floor despite getting passed over in the draft two years ago out of LSU. The Wolves have him signed for the next two seasons on cheap team options.
Coach Ryan Saunders had high praise for Reid before Wednesday's game and called him "the most coachable player I've ever been around in all my years in the NBA."
"Whatever is asked of Naz, he's going to do," Saunders said. "I haven't heard him say anything, back talk, anything like that. Maybe he doesn't always do it perfectly, but he's always going to attempt to and I think that's just a credit to Naz and him buying into our shot spectrum and the things we value."
Reid had the opportunity to start last season when Towns went out with a fractured wrist. Reid had his own scare Wednesday night when he had to leave momentarily after falling hard on his right wrist. He said after the game he was a little sore but added he thought he was fine.
"I'm just a little banged up," Reid said. "I mean it's basketball, things are going to happen."
Things happening is how Reid has found himself in this current role, and when Towns does return Reid has made a case that maybe the Wolves should consider playing him alongside Towns. They already know he's comfortable operating beyond the three-point line. He's been doing it awhile now.
"It's just time to buckle down," Reid said. "We're not winning right now and it's time to really just play with our effort and play with everything we have in us."