My friends, while I hope tonight is a great night at Target Center for all of us to celebrate together, there’s no doubt about it that this morning sucks. I say it is no coincidence that the sun refuses to shine today, as Naz Reid (Naz Reid) will miss “a significant period of time” with a fractured wrist, per Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.
Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid has suffered a broken wrist and will miss a significant period of time, sources tell me and @JonKrawczynski. Tough loss as Reid is in the midst of his best season, averaging 11.5 points and 4.9 rebounds.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 31, 2023
We can talk about how this impacts your Minnesota Timberwolves in a moment, but first, we just have to acknowledge that this just really sucks for Naz. There are few people in the league easier to cheer for than Big Jelly. All he’s done since entering the league as an undrafted free agent is work. Every off-season he has improved rather dramatically. Whether it be working on his body, his ball-handling, three-point stroke, or driving game, he has come into camp every season a new player. That’s the kind of player that you want to succeed and want to bet on moving forward.
Speaking of moving forward, another reason this really sucks for Naz is that he will enter unrestricted free agency this summer. If there’s one final thing the Wolves or other rival teams may have wanted to see from Reid before offering him an annual salary in the range of $10M or upwards, it was likely how he would fare in his second go at postseason basketball. It was rough last postseason, but he had a chance to really solidify himself as a scoring big that you could count on in all situations. Naz will still do just fine in free agency — his skill level is rare for a player his size — but he had a chance to really earn himself something extra in the coming weeks.
Aside from that, I’m just sad that this may be the end of Naz Reid’s time in Minnesota. I sure hope it is not, for all of the reasons outlined above, but guessing what someone who has earned the league minimum each of their four seasons will do in free agency is a fool’s errand. I hope he gets the bag, whether it’s in Minnesota or elsewhere.
From a Timberwolves perspective, I can’t imagine they are eager to replace Reid with another big currently on the roster. I would guess that they’ll revert back to their original plan of staggering Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns as much as they can. That’s fine, and honestly, maybe that will naturally fit better. It’s just so hard to say given that the team was beginning to finally form a true identity, by playing big and staying big at all times with two of Naz, Rudy, and KAT on the floor for most of games. Now, with just five games remaining, they’re once again searching.
I’d expect this means more Kyle Anderson and Taurean Prince at the four, but more than anything, I’d expect it will force Chris Finch to turn to a playoff-like rotation a week or so early. As long as everyone is ready for that conditioning wise, that’s fine, but you have to think this “intestinal flu” going around the team will make that tougher on everyone.
Naz is irreplaceable in terms of the joy and good vibes he brings to this fanbase. Here’s to hoping Minnesota makes a deep enough run into the postseason that he’s able to return.