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Timberwolves’ Naz Reid named NBA Sixth Man of the Year

Naz Reid went undrafted in 2019 after his freshman season at LSU. He spent much of his first professional season in the G-League. He was out of Minnesota’s rotation as recently as the start of last season.

But every time a challenge hit, he pushed forward and adapted.

He got leaner and more athletic. He honed his jumper. He developed as a defender.

Ask him to play center, and he’ll do that. Small forward? He can do that, too. He may have to guard Anthony Davis on the interior one night and chase Grayson Allen around the perimeter on the next. He might play 30 minutes one night and 15 the next. But rest assured, whenever he is on the floor, he’ll give you his best effort.

Whatever Minnesota has needed from the 24-year-old in his young career, Reid has provided. He’s everything a team could ask for in a sixth man, which made Wednesday’s announcement so fitting.

Reid was named the NBA’s 2023-24 Sixth Man of the Year. The honor was announced on TNT’s pregame show ahead of the evening playoff action. Reid averaged 13.5 points and 5.2 rebounds this season while shooting a blistering 41 percent from 3-point range.

He played in 81 games and was highly productive in 14 starts late in the season when he filled in for the injured Karl-Anthony Towns. Reid’s play down the stretch run of the season kept Minnesota alive in the race for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

Reid is the third undrafted player to win the honor, joining Darrell Armstrong and John Starks. He edged Sacramento guard Malik Monk by 10 points — two first-place votes — for the award, making it the closest Sixth Man of the Year race since the current voting system was put into place for the 2002-03 season.

After the award was announced, Timberwolves fans and players alike raced to social media — all to say the same thing.

“Naz Reid.”

The franchise’s cult hero is now an award winner.

In a statement, Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said the team “couldn’t be more proud” of Reid.

“His contributions to our team this year were a key reason for our team’s success,” Finch said. “His growth this season and attention to detail to improve his game in the offseason were a main factor in Naz becoming the best reserve man in the NBA.”

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