Most of the attention surrounding the Portland Trail Blazers revolves around what they’ll do with the third pick in the 2023 NBA Draft and how they’ll manage trades over the summer to bolster their starting lineup around superstar guard Damian Lillard. No matter what moves they make (or don’t), the Blazers still need to improve their depth and field a complete team, lest they fall to the fate of the Phoenix Suns, sporting two stars and not enough live bodies to withstand injuries or opponent pressure across the board.
Grant Hughes and Dan Favale of Bleacher Report came up with ambitious targets for all 30 NBA teams, and their favored pick for Portland was Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid. The duo posit using the Mid-Level-Exception to land the 6’9 middle man, something the Blazers may not be willing to do, as it would certainly push them into the luxury tax. But Reid is 23 years old, quick, and shot 53.7% from the field last season, 34.6% from the three-point arc. He’d not be a suitable defender against huge centers, but he could certainly cover ground between the bucket and the three-point arc better than Portland’s current crew.
Favale and Hughes posit:
Jusuf Nurkic doesn’t cut the mustard on defense anymore, if he ever did. The Blazers need more jet fuel, at both ends, from their big-man spot.
Naz Reid has zip to spare. Though undersized, at 6’9”, against many 5s, he makes up for it with lateral oomph, improving reads around the basket and the offensive skill set of a wing.
In his last 15 appearances before suffering a broken left wrist, Reid averaged more than 16 points while downing over 65 percent of his twos and 38 percent of his triples. He brandished a high-octane floor game all season, and it entered hyper drive by year’s end. He can navigate tighter spaces with the ball and deliver physical finishes with either hand.
Slotting him at center comes with certain concessions. He will cede ground on the glass. Portland’s rebounding threatens to crater when he and Jerami Grant (unrestricted) make up the frontline. But Reid takes and makes enough threes to slide down to the 4 when matchups call for it, and his size isn’t as much of an issue if he’s coming off the bench. Going on 24, he is also a quality fit for whatever timeline on which the Blazers are operating.
They also admit that a full-mid-level may not get the job done for the soon-to-be-fifth-year center, though he’s been making less than $2 million per year up to this point.
If the Blazers could get Reid, and if he were one of the only moves they could make aside from whatever Big Trade they might have in store, do you think he’d bring enough depth and speed to the position to warrant a look, or would the rebounding issues scare you away? Share your thoughts below!