"I'm like a star that's in the closet": Insider recalls 6th Man of the Year Naz Reid's confidence in his abilities before going undrafted

NBA: Playoffs-Phoenix Suns at Minnesota Timberwolves
"The star that's in the closet": 6th Man of the Year Naz Reid once alarmed NBA world of his potential before going undrafted

Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid achieved a significant milestone on Wednesday by being named the NBA Sixth Man of the Year.

He became the first player in franchise history to receive this prestigious honor. Reid emerged victorious over finalists Bobby Portis of the Milwaukee Bucks and Malik Monk of the Sacramento Kings.

NBA insider Ben Stinar recently detailed Naz Reid's journey leading up to his remarkable breakthrough in the 2023-24 season.

Stinar reflected on an interview conducted with Reid during the 2019 draft, where Reid said:

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“I’m like a star that’s in the closet. I mean one day somebody will walk by the closet and see that I’m shining under the door.”

Reid garnered a substantial 45 first-place votes, amassing a total of 352 points, which proved sufficient to surpass Monk, who accrued 342 points, with 43 first-place votes. Coming in third was Milwaukee Bucks forward Bobby Portis Jr., who trailed significantly with 81 points.

Reid experienced a career-defining season with the T-Wolves, delivering impressive averages of 13.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game, boasting a commendable shooting efficiency of 47.7%.

The 24-year-old showcased his versatility throughout the season, featuring in 81 games for Minnesota, including 14 starts, and maintaining an average playing time of 24.2 minutes per game.

Naz Reid went undrafted, landed with Minnesota Timberwolves as free agent

Reid became the third undrafted player to claim the honor, joining John Starks in 1996-97 and Darrell Armstrong in 1998-99.

Despite being a highly touted five-star recruit and displaying promise during his freshman year at LSU, Reid faced concerns about his size (six-foot-nine, 250 pounds) and athleticism.

These doubts, coupled with a challenging draft combine, resulted in him going undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Naz Reid found his place with the Timberwolves as an undrafted free agent and wasted no time in proving himself in his rookie year.

Despite not fitting the mold of a traditional big man in terms of appearance or movement, his impressive 41.4% shooting from the 3-point range this season highlighted his versatility and made him a valuable asset off the bench.

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