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Minnesota’s Naz Reid wins NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, edging Malik Monk in close vote

AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Naz Reid was having a productive season as a reserve when the Minnesota Timberwolves needed him in the starting lineup while playing without All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns.

Reid was excellent in that role, too, helping the Timberwolves to the second-best season in franchise history.

Reid was rewarded with the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year on Wednesday, edging Sacramento’s Malik Monk in a close vote to become the third undrafted player to win the award for the league’s best reserve.

Reid averaged career highs of 13.5 points and 5.2 rebounds in 81 games. The forward-center came off the bench 67 times, getting a feel for the game in the early minutes before getting his chance to impact it.

“I kind of joke around with my teammates a little bit, but it’s kind of a saying where I feel like we have to keep the momentum going, anyway,” Reid said in an interview on TNT after the award was announced. “Either we got to have the mentality to come back in the game, or to push the lead forward.”

The 6-foot-9 Reid helped the Timberwolves do that plenty of times en route to a 56-26 record to earn the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. They have a 2-0 lead over the Phoenix Suns in their first-round series.

Towns was hurt in March and missed the next 18 games. Yet the Wolves hardly slowed down, going 10-3 from March 16 to April 10 while Reid started 12 of the 13 games. He averaged 17.1 points on 45.4% shooting during that span.

Reid got 45 first-place votes to 43 for Monk from a panel of 99 reporters and broadcasters who cover the league. Both players had 39 second-place votes and 10 third-place votes, giving Reid a total of 352 points to Monk’s 342.

Milwaukee’s Bobby Portis Jr. finished third. Norman Powell of the Clippers was fourth and Atlanta’s Bogdan Bogdanovic rounded out the top five.

Reid was undrafted out of LSU in 2019, originally joining the Timberwolves with a two-way contract that summer. The fan favorite played his way into a multiyear contract extension last summer, then rewarded the Wolves this season with 843 points off the bench, second-most in franchise history.

He twice reached 30 points and had 20 or more 14 times, both career bests, and said the award was special for the fans who have supported him since the beginning of his career.

“They’ve seen me work from Day 1. Since the moment I got here I changed my body, I changed my mentality, I changed the direction I wanted to go in life,” Reid said. “I think they kind of deserve that and I think just being with me, that’s super special.”

Reid joined John Starks (1996-97) and Darrell Armstrong (1999) as undrafted players to win the Sixth Man award, named for Celtics Hall of Famer John Havlicek.

The Clutch Player will be awarded on Thursday (Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan or Gilgeous-Alexander); and Coach of the Year on Sunday (Oklahoma City’s Mark Daigneault, Minnesota’s Chris Finch or Orlando’s Jamahl Mosley).

All those announcements will be made on TNT’s pregame shows.

Philadelphia’s Tyrese Maxey won the Most Improved Player award Tuesday. The NBA hasn’t yet released the schedule for the other awards.



Article Topic Follows: Ap California News

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