Could Naz Reid’s Time as a Starter Tip the Scales in the Sixth Man of the Year Contest?

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The NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, ostensibly straightforward, has sparked debates over its definition. While the league’s guideline requires a player to start fewer games than they come off the bench, the practical application of this criterion is ambiguous.

Last season’s contest between Malcolm Brogdon and Immanuel Quickley exemplified this uncertainty, with Brogdon not starting any games and Quickley starting 21, leading to discussions about the essence of a bench player’s role.

Supporters of Quickley argued that a bench player’s value extends beyond mere bench appearances, emphasizing their capacity to step into larger roles when necessary. This sentiment echoes in Naz Reid’s recent performance for the Timberwolves amidst Karl-Anthony Towns’ absence due to injury.

Reid’s versatility has been pivotal for Minnesota, with the team boasting a 10-5 record since Towns’ injury, owing much to Reid’s ability to emulate Towns’ skill set effectively.

Naz Reid
Naz Reid (Credits: Point Spread)

Reid’s impact extends beyond statistical comparisons, as he seamlessly fits into Minnesota’s strategy of overwhelming opponents with size while maintaining floor spacing. His proficiency in shooting mirrors Towns’ abilities, with both players boasting comparable three-point shooting percentages.

Reid’s contribution has not gone unnoticed by bookmakers, who have recognized his influence on the Timberwolves’ success, elevating his candidacy for the Sixth Man of the Year award.

Contrastingly, Malik Monk embodies a more traditional archetype for the award, having not started a single game this season and aligning closely with the typical profile of leading bench scorers, who often secure the accolade.

Guards like Monk frequently dominate this category due to their scoring prowess off the bench, a trend that may influence voters to favor them over more versatile candidates such as Andre Iguodala, who has never won the award despite his credentials.

Naz Reid
Naz Reid (Credits: Zone Coverage)

While Monk excels in counting stats and playmaking, Reid holds the advantage in plus-minus and defensive prowess, contributing significantly to Minnesota’s success on both ends of the floor.

Despite not conforming to the conventional notion of a bench player, Reid’s role in protecting Minnesota’s top seed has bolstered his case for the Sixth Man of the Year award, highlighting the significance of narrative factors in the voters’ decision-making process.

In a race as tight as this, narrative elements, such as Reid’s pivotal role in Towns’ absence, could sway voters, even if it means deviating from the traditional definition of a sixth man.

Brogdon’s victory over Quickley last season was influenced by seeding advantages, but this year, with Reid’s essential role for a top team, contrasted with Monk’s contributions to a play-in bound squad, narrative factors may weigh heavily in determining the award recipient, underscoring the dynamic nature of the Sixth Man of the Year race.


By James Brown

A passionate and driven individual currently pursuing a Bachelor of Technology (BTech) degree in Computer Science and Engineering (CSE). Born on 06 February, hails from Raipur, where their journey into the world of technology and creativity began.

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