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Kings' Monk snubbed of NBA Sixth Man of the Year award

Kings' Monk snubbed of NBA Sixth Man of the Year award originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Malik Monk's efforts as the Kings' beloved sixth man fell short of earning him league-wide recognition.

Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid won the 2023-24 NBA Sixth Man of the Year award, ahead of Monk, who finished second, and Milwaukee Bucks forward Bobby Portis.

The winner was announced Wednesday afternoon on TNT's "Inside the NBA" broadcast.

It was a close race between Reid and Monk. Reid received 45 first-place votes, while Monk received 43. Both players each received 39 second-place votes and 10 third-place votes.

Monk, a 26-year-old athletic guard, posted the best season of his seven-year NBA career, averaging 15.4 points on 44.3 percent shooting from the field and 35 percent from 3-point range, with 2.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 26 minutes off the bench.

Despite missing the last nine games of the regular season with an MCL sprain, Monk led the league in points (1,110) and assists (370) off the bench. He's the first player in 35 years to lead the league in bench points in consecutive seasons without winning the Sixth Man of the Year award, per StatMamba.

The outspoken guard never shied away from expressing how badly he wanted to win the award and, in an interview with NBC Sports California, expressed what it would mean to him to bring it home.

“The world,” Monk said. “Finally getting recognition for my work, and it’s finally showing to the world that I'm here to stay and I can play basketball at a high level.”

From what he'd seen, longtime Kentucky coach John Calipari liked Monk’s chances of taking home the 6MOTY honor.

“Oh, yeah, he should win," Calipari said. "I mean, the Sixth Man of the Year should come from the most impactful player that comes off the bench, right? Who is more impactful than him? And it's not just numbers. It's impacting the game.

“How he's playing as a playmaker, as a shot blocker, a guy that steals balls, what he's doing to dominate a run for three minutes and separate the game, and then let the team finish the game up. Come on. It's well deserved. I hope he gets it.”

Monk is primed to enter NBA free agency this summer and expected to receive the biggest payday of his pro career after consecutive impactful seasons in Sacramento. And despite this year's snub, Monk forever will be remembered -- and loved -- in the state's capital for his contributions off the bench.