Timberwolves’ Naz Reid wins 2024 NBA Sixth Man of the Year

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Timberwolves’ Naz Reid wins 2024 NBA Sixth Man of the Year

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Naz Reid was named the 2024 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, the league announced Wednesday. 

He beat out the Sacramento Kings’ Malik Monk and Milwaukee Bucks’ Bobby Portis Jr. for the honor. Reid played in 81 games this season while starting 14, the most of the three finalists.

The 6-foot-9 center becomes the third undrafted player to win this award, joining John Starks (1997) and Darrell Armstrong (1999). Reid, 24, averaged 13.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 24.2 minutes per game while scoring 1,090 points in total.

He is the first player in franchise history to win the award. Wally Szczerbiak (one in 2004-05) and LaPhonso Ellis, (10 in 2000-01) are the only other players in team history to get a first-place vote for Sixth Man of the Year.

Reid shot 47.7 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from 3 as the Timberwolves went 56-26, finishing third in the Western Conference.

What this means for Reid

Reid has made no secret of his desire to win the award all season long. He has embraced the role to the fullest, taking pride in injecting energy and skill into the second unit when he comes into the game. He plays on one of the biggest teams in the NBA, and it would have been understandable if Reid looked to head elsewhere in search of a bigger role after the Wolves traded for Rudy Gobert last season to pair with Karl-Anthony Towns in the frontcourt.

There was no immediate path to a starting spot, but Reid stayed put. He signed a three-year, $42 million extension last summer and has been worth every penny this season. His ability to play defense alongside Towns or Gobert, and occasionally out there with both of them, has helped unlock this unique roster construction.

The winning the Timberwolves have enjoyed this season has validated Reid’s decision to stay where his career began. Now he has some hardware to show for it. For a player who was undrafted out of LSU in 2019, it has been a remarkable rise. — Jon Krawczynski, Timberwolves beat writer

Reid’s arrival

This is not just a victory over Reid. It’s a victory for the Timberwolves organization and the market as a whole. Reid is one of the best player development stories in team history. He came in as a doughy but gifted big man, but it wasn’t clear if there was a place for him in the NBA. Some thought he was too big to play power forward and too small to play center. Reid reshaped his body, losing weight and becoming quicker on his feet. He has paired that with an incredible handle and a deft shooting touch to make him a matchup nightmare.

He started 14 games down the stretch after Towns went down with a knee injury, he averaged 17.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and shot 42 percent from 3-point range to make sure the Wolves stayed near the top of the Western Conference. It is the definition of a Sixth Man: having the ability to step into the starting lineup when an important part of the team is injured. — Krawczynski

Spreading the love

Reid will surely be celebrating the award, but Timberwolves fans may be even more excited. Watching him blossom from an unknown commodity in 2019 into a force on the second unit has made Reid wildly popular in Minnesota. Rare is the example in Timberwolves lore of the franchise discovering a diamond in the rough that no other team saw, and polishing that diamond into the type of gem that belongs in a crown.

Reid is probably neck-and-neck with Anthony Edwards when it comes to public approval ratings in Minnesota. The team gave away a beach towel at a game this spring, and it has become so coveted that it is going for $100 and up on eBay. Every time he enters the game, Target Center’s energy rises. His name has become an all-encompassing mission statement for fans, a greeting, a congratulation, an agreement.

“Hey there.” Naz Reid. “Great win.”Naz Reid. “The Wolves are for real.” Naz Reid.  —Krawczynski

Required reading

(Photo: David Sherman / Getty Images)