Before the 2019 NBA Draft arrives, Peachtree Hoops will break down more than 70 available prospects with an eye toward what the Atlanta Hawks may look to do in late June.
This installment evaluates LSU big man Naz Reid.
Naz Reid has a few of the characteristics of a modern NBA center, with a plus-5 wingspan and a burgeoning ability to shoot the ball from being the three-point line. However, there are enough negatives to his profile to tank his stock into the middle of the second round, and he faces an uphill battle to consistently featuring in an NBA rotation.
Reid stands 6’10 with a 7’3 wingspan and measured out at 256 pounds with 14% body fat at the Combine leading up to the 2019 NBA Draft. The body fat measurement is a disastrous number that dwarfs anybody else measured this year and ranks him among the top ten in the last ten years among Combine participants and the highest in the last three years. On one hand, the fact that he’s starting at such a poor point in his conditioning is a negative for him, but there are teams who may view it as a slight positive – what would happen if you got him in an NBA training and nutrition system?
His offensive profile is the main draw for Reid as a prospect. The numbers aren’t all that pretty for him in his one year at LSU, but his efficiency from the field is directly impacted by his role within the Tigers’ offense. He was asked to do quite a lot for a team in less than optimal circumstances, leading to a lot of post-ups and other self-created buckets that will naturally lower a player’s efficiency. At the NBA level, he won’t be asked to do nearly as much of that, but will still be able to flash the skills that make him a solid prospect in advantage situations.
Shooting from outside is going to be key for Reid as he moves from college to the NBA. He took quite a large number of outside jumpers and while he didn’t hit very many of them, there are good signs that he’ll be able to make an impact from beyond the three-point line at the highest levels. His free throw shooting begets quality three-point shooting at the center position and he has a repeatable, consistent stroke from outside that will serve him well going forward. He’s not quite there yet, but he has the potential to be a plus shooter at the 5, a skill that becomes more important with each passing year.
Like his outside shooting, Reid’s ball handling shows flashes of being a plus. It’s not typical that a center can handle the ball as well as he can, but he’s capable of putting it on the floor and beating his man, especially when matched up against fellow bigs. Switch a smaller player on him and he’ll get into the post, where he got a ton of looks at LSU, though again his efficiency was poor in those areas because opposing teams knew that he was their entire offense in most lineups. In that way, he could prove to be a bit of a matchup issue for opposing teams.
Defensively, it’s more of a mixed bag for Reid. A 7’3 wingspan will absolutely help him bother opponents at the next level, but he does actually have to be in the correct position in order to use that length to deter shots around the rim. He doesn’t have the sort of defensive instincts teams want to see from an anchor defender and doesn’t have the agility to play out on the perimeter very well either. There’s a chance that he can develop some of the quickness he’d need to be a perimeter threat defensively as he loses weight in an NBA training program, so perhaps that will be part of his game further down the line.
Reid’s draft stock is also severely impacted by the sheer number of replacement-level centers in and around the NBA right now. The sea change in how teams are built over the last ten years has changed the big man positions tremendously and Reid is a player who could fall through the cracks as a result. His shooting and ball handling are enough to give him some upside to explore, as well as what might happen if he lost some of the extra weight he’s carrying, but there’s not a whole lot of room between him and a run-of-the-mill replacement-level big man, giving him a very thin margin for error as he moves into the NBA.
In a lot of ways, Reid has a similar profile to current Atlanta Hawks big man Omari Spellman, who was taken No. 30 in the 2018 Draft. Reid faces similar weight concerns as Spellman did, he profiles as a perimeter threat with the shooting and ball handling to make things uncomfortable for defenders, and he needs to improve defensively in order to be an integral part of a good team’s rotation. Spellman was far more skilled as a prospect than Reid is and flashed a lot more athleticism hidden under the extra weight he carried, but the outline for a comparison remains. Reid also has very little of the passing acumen Spellman has, which dampens his value quite a bit.
Spellman was taken with the final pick of the first round last year, though many prognosticators had him much further down their draft boards. Reid is in a similar position, with positioning through the middle to latter parts of the second round. He’s a worse prospect than Spellman but has the benefit of coming through in a worse overall draft, which pushes him back up draft boards to where many projected Spellman last year.
Whether Atlanta will look in Reid’s direction with one of their three second-round picks is unlikely, given that they already have Spellman and are in desperate need of some defensive talent on the roster, but general manager Travis Schlenk has shown in consecutive drafts that Reid is the type of player who usually draws his eye.