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Timberwolves' Naz Reid voted NBA Sixth Man of Year, just edging out Malik Monk

Washington Wizards v Minnesota Timberwolves
Washington Wizards v Minnesota Timberwolves

Naz Reid's story of an undrafted big man out of LSU evolving into a highly impactful NBA player has a new chapter.

Reid was voted NBA Sixth Man of the Year, just edging out the Kings' Malik Monk by two votes in a historically close race. Reid finished with 352 points to Monk's 342 — the only difference between them was two first-place votes from the 100-person panel of media who had ballots (Monk and Reid had the exact same number of second- and third-place votes). The Bucks' Bobby Portis finished a distant third.

"His contributions to our team this year were a key reason for our team's success," Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said of Reid in a statement. "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."

Monk, who had been the betting favorite to win the award, was frustrated.

Monk also re-tweeted several posts laying out his case for the award.

Reid is the third big on a team with Rudy Gobert — the likely winner of Defensive Player of the Year — and Karl-Anthony Towns. Reid's versatility and ability to play with either of them helped his cause. Reid averaged 13.5 points and 5.2 assists a game this season, and the Timberwolves outscored opponents by 5.9 points per 100 possessions when he was on the court.

Reid's case got a boost late in the season when Towns went down with a knee injury and Reid was pushed into the starting lineup for 14 games, where he averaged 17.9 points and 6.8 rebounds a game in that new role. While a number of voters didn't think Reid's case to be Sixth Man should get a bump because of his time as a starter, enough were not bothered that he won the award.

Reid is the first Timberwolves player ever to win the award. He also is the third center ever to win Sixth Man, joining Bill Walton (1986) and Montrezl Harrell (2020).