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Naz Reid has won the NBA's 2023-24 Sixth Man of the Year award, the league announced Wednesday. Reid, a fifth-year big man for the Minnesota Timberwolves, is one of the most unlikely winners of the award in recent history. He is just the third center ever to win the award, joining Bill Walton in 1986 and Montrezl Harrell in 2020. Like Walton, Reid is the third big man on a team with two stars in its front-court: Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert.

Reid's ability to fit in with either of them made him the perfect fit for a Timberwolves team that had the NBA's best defense from wire-to-wire and needed every extra bit of offense it could find. Reid nearly matched Towns as a 3-point shooter this season, making 41.4% of his attempts, but when Gobert rested, he was a worthy defensive replacement that helped keep Minnesota afloat on that end of the floor. Still, Reid was treated as a long shot at most books throughout the season, with 30-to-1 lines available as late as January.

The race swung in March, when Towns went down with a knee injury that forced Reid into the spotlight. In 16 games without Towns, Reid averaged 17.9 points and 6.8 rebounds for a Minnesota team that went 11-5 in those games. Meanwhile, runner-up Malik Monk, who was the betting favorite for stretches this season, went down due to injury late in March. That gave Reid the opening he needed to surge to the top of the ballot.

It was a close race for the honor. Reid got 45 first-place votes, while Monk got 43 and finished in second place. Bobby Portis of the Bucks was a distant third. Here are the complete voting totals:

Reid's ascension didn't come without a bit of controversy, at least within the context of this debate. Reid started 14 of those 16 games, and some critics argued that while his performance was stellar, it shouldn't count towards Sixth Man of the Year because he wasn't technically a sixth man at the time. Monk, on the other hand, came into all 72 of his games this season off of the bench. 

This is a debate that helped shape the 2023 race as well. then-Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley frequently put up big numbers as a fill-in starter, while then-Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon didn't start a single game. Brogdon won last season, but in a bit of a reversal, Reid came out on top this season despite his extra credit as a starter.

Reid inked a three-year, $42 million contract with the Timberwolves last offseason. Now, that deal looks like one of the league's biggest bargains. Reid is one of the NBA's most versatile big men, and now, he's been acknowledged as this season's top reserve.