Jaime Jaquez

Wolves’ Naz Reid Named Sixth Man Of The Year

Timberwolves big man Naz Reid has been named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year for the 2023/24 season, the league announced on Wednesday evening (via Twitter).

A former undrafted free agent, Reid averaged 13.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 0.9 BPG on .477/.414/.736 shooting in 81 games this season (24.2 MPG).

Reid is the first player in Timberwolves franchise history to win the Sixth Man award, per a team press release.

The 24-year-old was a major reason why Minnesota didn’t skip a beat when Karl-Anthony Towns was sidelined with a knee injury late in the season. The Wolves went 14-6 without Towns and 56-26 overall, good for the No. 3 seed in the West.

The voting was remarkably close (Twitter link via the NBA). In fact, it was the smallest margin between first- and second-place finishers since the current voting format was implemented 21 years ago, according to the league (via Twitter).

Reid finished with 45 first-place votes, 39 second-place votes and 10 third-place votes for a total of 352 points. Runner-up Malik Monk had the exact same number of second- and third-place votes, but finished with two fewer first-place votes for 342 total points.

Kings guard Monk appeared in 72 games this season for Sacramento, all off the bench. He averaged 15.4 PPG, 2.9 RPG and 5.1 APG on .443/.350/.829 shooting in 26.0 MPG.

Bucks big man Bobby Portis, who finished third in Sixth Man voting last season, finished a distant third again in ’23/24, receiving 81 total points. He averaged 13.8 PPG and 7.4 RPG on .508/.407/.790 shooting without missing a game this season for Milwaukee (24.5 MPG).

Clippers wing Norman Powell (65 points) and Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic (40 points) finished fourth and fifth in voting, respectively. No other player received more than three points.

Powell actually received the most third-place votes of any player, but fewer first- and second-place votes than Portis, which is why he finished behind Milwaukee’s forward/center.

Jose Alvarado, Russell Westbrook, T.J. McConnell, Jonathan Isaac, Jaime Jaquez, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Bojan Bogdanovic all received at least one vote.

Heat Notes: Butler, Jovic, Jaquez, Wright, Adebayo

As they look to bounce back after a Game 1 loss in Boston, the Heat can’t count on Jimmy Butler to return at some point later in the first round to give them a boost. While the team hasn’t provided any sort of official timetable on Butler’s recovery from an MCL sprain, Shams Charania of The Athletic said on FanDuel’s Run it Back show (Twitter video link) that the star swingman is going to remain on the shelf for a while.

“It’s crazy to me that Jimmy Butler played three quarters with what I’m hearing now was a severe MCL sprain,” Charania said. “He is not going to be back in this series. This is a rehab that’s go at least one month — could be two months of rehab.

“… Thankfully for him it wasn’t the ACL, it wasn’t a meniscus. But even if the Heat were to advance (beyond) this first round, somehow, his postseason availability is still very much up in the air.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Although Miami suffered a resounding loss in Game 1 on Sunday, there were at least a couple silver linings, as Anthony Chiang writes in a pair of stories for The Miami Herald. The team’s last two first-round picks – Nikola Jovic and Jaime Jaquez – made the first playoff starts of their respective careers and ultimately held their own despite some shaky moments in the first quarter. Additionally, buyout market addition Delon Wright came up big off the bench, scoring 17 points and making all five of his three-point attempts. Wright figures to play a regular role in the series with Terry Rozier (neck) sidelined.
  • The odds are against the Heat repeating last spring’s success and making another deep playoff run, but even in the event of a first-round exit, the team should be well positioned for the offseason, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Appearing on NBA Countdown (YouTube link), Wojnarowski said he expects a lot of action on the trade market this summer and pointed out that Miami is almost among the preferred destinations for disgruntled stars. That didn’t do the Heat much good in the Damian Lillard talks last summer, but the team should have more leverage with trade targets who have fewer years left on their contracts, Woj adds.
  • William Guillory of The Athletic takes a look at how Bam Adebayo became Udonis Haslem‘s successor as a pillar of “Heat Culture” and how the big man plans to uphold that ethos for years to come.

Heat Notes: Play-In, Rotation, Jaquez, Butler, Martin

The Heat are facing a “make-or-break” week if they want to avoid the play-in tournament, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. As Chiang writes, the Heat have gone just 17-24 this season against teams with winning records, and they face four such opponents this week: New York, Philadelphia, Houston and Indiana.

It will be the best to simulate how the playoffs are going to be,” guard Terry Rozier said. “This is a great four-game stretch, but we got to take it one game at a time. The Knicks we play next, we got to worry about that one and get that one at home and protect home court.”

How Miami fares this week will have a direct impact on competitive playoff races in both conferences, Chiang observes. The No. 7 Heat are currently sandwiched between the No. 6 Pacers and No. 8 Sixers in the East’s standings. If the Heat win those two games, they’ll also clinch the head-to-head tiebreakers over both clubs, but Indiana would hold the tiebreaker if it beats Miami on Sunday (if Philadelphia defeats Miami, the tiebreaker would likely be determined by conference record, Chiang notes).

Here are a few more notes out of Miami:

  • With Duncan Robinson and Kevin Love back from injuries, head coach Erik Spoelstra said the Heat’s rotation will likely be fluid as the postseason nears, Chiang adds in another story for The Miami Herald. “Here’s what the rotation is: whatever it takes,” Spoelstra said. “That’s where we are. We made this bed, where we are right now. Because of all the moving parts, everybody right now, it’s easy. You just be ready for your minutes, contribute in a positive way and help impact winning. That’s all it’s about right now. Everybody has signed up for that, everybody is bought into that.”
  • The “biggest challenge” of Jaime Jaquez‘s rookie campaign has been the NBA’s 82-game schedule, he told Chiang. While he’s having a very strong season overall, Jaquez’s production has dipped over the past few months, in part because he has been double-teamed at times when he catches the ball in the mid-post, according to Chiang. “I take it as a sign of respect,” said Jaquez, who was taken by the Heat with the 18th overall pick in last year’s draft following a four-year college career at UCLA. “Guys got to worry about me now. That’s what you want as a player. Now my next step is how do I adjust to the new coverages that I see and how I can make the right play.”
  • The Heat will need a more aggressive version of Jimmy Butler in order to have a shot at another deep playoff run, says Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Over his past four games, Buter is averaging just 8.3 shot attempts and 14.3 points per game, far below his season averages of 13.4 and 21.0, respectively. Still, each of those four games was lopsided, and Butler missed a game last week with an illness, Winderman notes.
  • In a mailbag column, Winderman wonders if Caleb Martin will be given the team’s most challenging defensive assignments in the postseason. Winderman also takes stock of which players might be pushed out of the rotation as the team gets healthier, with Patty Mills and Delon Wright likely to be on the outside looking in.

Heat Notes: Lineup Combinations, Jaquez, Highsmith, Jovic

With their season disrupted by injuries, the Heat won’t be able to rely on continuity in the playoffs, but coach Erik Spoelstra thinks they might have something even better, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Miami has used 34 different starting lineups this season — trailing only Memphis and Portland — and Spoelstra believes it has been beneficial for so many players to receive important minutes.

“There’s always going to be a benefit,” he said. “A lot of guys get to step up and earn the opportunity to impact winning. The more players that can be engaged in a season and impact wins, that helps. Our versatility is super important for our team. So we feel like we’ve been able to weather some of the missed games.”

Chiang notes that the Heat only have one five-man group that has logged more than 100 minutes together. Terry Rozier, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, Nikola Jovic and Bam Adebayo have played 115 minutes as a unit, but they’ve been outscored by 4.2 points per 100 possessions.

One positive sign is that Butler, Adebayo and Tyler Herro were very effective in their 21 games together before Herro was sidelined with a foot injury last month. Groupings featuring those three are outscoring opponents by 5.1 points per 100 possessions, and Spoelstra will have a lot of options to surround them with once Herro returns.

“Some teams will be trying to throw different lineups and they’ve never played with each other,” Caleb Martin said. “There’s no way we throw a lineup out there now that hasn’t played with each other. So that’s definitely going to come to our benefit eventually. Obviously, it’s been a struggle during the regular season. But around this time of the year, it’s going to benefit us.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Jaime Jaquez was added to the injury list on Sunday with discomfort in his left knee and ankle, Chiang states in a separate story. There’s no immediate prognosis on Jaquez, but the Heat hope to have him back before the end of the regular season, along with Herro, Robinson and Kevin Love, who also sat out the game.
  • Haywood Highsmith provided a lift by hitting his first five shots from the field and making all four of his three-point attempts, notes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. The outburst was welcome, as Highsmith had only reached double figures in scoring one time since February 26.
  • Jovic feels fortunate to be learning about the NBA from Spoelstra, tweets Brady Hawk of Five Reasons Sports. “He wants me to be great,” Jovic said. “And I appreciate that.”

Heat Notes: Rozier, Herro, Wright, Suspensions, Jovic, Jaquez

Terry Rozier will suit up for the Heat at Portland on Tuesday night after missing the previous four games with a sprained right knee, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald reports. Rozier is averaging 12.6 points, 5.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds per contest since being acquired from Charlotte.

Miami will also have Jimmy Butler and Nikola Jovic back after they served one-game league suspensions on Monday. Tyler Herro (left knee hyperextension) will sit out once again. Herro was injured on Friday against New Orleans.

Herro underwent an MRI on his injured knee on Monday that showed no structural damage, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

We have more on the Heat:

  • Delon Wright played a major role in the shorthanded team’s 121-110 victory over Sacramento on Monday night during his Heat debut, Chiang writes in a separate story. He contributed 13 points, two rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block in 35 minutes. Wright signed with Miami after being bought out by Washington. “The player of the game for us in the locker room was Delon,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I don’t think his stat line was spectacular by people probably on the outside. But, man, he plays winning basketball.”
  • Wright adds depth at the guard spots but it will be tough for him to get consistent minutes when everyone’s healthy, Chiang notes in his latest mailbag. With eight other players locked into the rotation, Wright will have to fight for playing time with Josh Richardson, Haywood Highsmith and Jovic.
  • Going back to the altercation with the Pelicans, Spoelstra was grateful that more players weren’t suspended for leaving the bench area. He praised the NBA’s head of basketball operations, Joe Dumars, for not penalizing players who stayed out of the scuffle. “[Dumars] understands it from a player’s perspective and I think that’s really important,” Spoelstra told Chiang. “That it’s not letter of the law, it’s observing it, looking at it, seeing all the context of it and then making the best decision based on everybody’s parties. The league, No. 1, the players and teams.”
  • Jovic and Jaime Jaquez Jr. were mentioned prominently in trade rumors last summer when the Heat pursued Damian Lillard before the Trail Blazers dealt the perennial All-Star to Milwaukee. Both players spoke to Winderman about what might have been if a trade had gone through. “Me and Jaime were not the biggest pieces in the trade, but of course you think if you’re going to be in a package,” Jovic said.

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Jovic, Highsmith, Jaquez

Bam Adebayo admits he’s had a tough time adjusting to his new role as team captain, the Heat center told Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. Adebayo says the leadership responsibilities have made his season much more challenging.

“You’ve got to understand how to translate messages to everybody because everybody is different and everybody has their own stuff going on,” Adebayo said. “I got my own stuff going on in my mind, how I want to play and how I want to affect the game. And 14 other guys do, too. So trying to get 14 other guys to buy into your message, how you’re saying it, get them to buy into what the coach is saying. It’s tough because guys got dilemmas, guys got feelings.”

We have more on the Heat:

  • Adebayo only attempted two shots in the All-Star Game but he feels validated by the fact he’s been selected three times, Chiang writes in a separate story. “Respect, at the end of the day,” he said. “Being able to, obviously, get to this thing three times, you want it to become a routine. You want it to be an every year thing. For me, it’s just respect from all the coaches who voted me in and respect for who I am and what I do.”
  • Forward Nikola Jovic is trying to adjust to coach Erik Spoelstra’s rotation tinkering. Jovic had a 24-point outing against Milwaukee in a game shortly before the All-Star break. In other games, he barely sees the court. “The wild thing is I either start or I don’t play,” Jovic told Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Jovic said he’s happy for any opportunities he gets on a contending team.
  • A man who was seriously injured in a car accident when he was struck by Haywood Highsmith‘s vehicle has filed a civil lawsuit against the Heat forward, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. The man was helping another driver whose car was stuck in the middle of a dark road when he was struck by Highsmith’s vehicle. The victim remains hospitalized after a partial amputation of his leg.
  • Jaime Jaquez Jr. has been one of the league’s most productive rookies and The Ringer’s Wes Goldberg’s details how the former UCLA star has quickly endeared himself to the team’s coaches and players.

Heat Notes: Love, Williams, Wright, Jaquez

There were reasons to believe Kevin Love‘s career might be nearing the end when he agreed to a buyout with the Cavaliers during last year’s All-Star break, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Instead, the past 12 months have included a trip to the NBA Finals and a new contract with the Heat, as well as the birth of his first child, all of which have combined to make Love very content in Miami.

“I think the thing that’s most gratifying to me is that going to a new location or a new team or a new organization, new city, especially at this stage in your career, you never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “And after that run last year, I got so much fun out of it, as well as guys I’ll have relationships for life, bigger than basketball. My daughter was born on June 10th, right after Game 4 (of the NBA Finals). We bought a new house in Miami. It’s almost like we got to start our life in a place where we have a lot of friends and a lot of great teammates and people in the organization who have become family in a pretty quick time, so it has been a very happy year.”

Love was stuck on the bench in Cleveland, but a big forward who could shoot and rebound and had previous Finals experience was just what the Heat needed. He started 17 of the 21 regular season games he played after signing with Miami and maintained a rotation role throughout the team’s playoff run.

In addition to his on-court contributions, Love has become a veteran leader in the locker room, especially after the retirement of Udonis Haslem, Winderman notes. Love believes he can play for at least another year or two and then may transition into a mentorship role.

There’s more from Miami:

  • Alondes Williams was impressive in Friday’s Rising Stars competition, and he might get a shot at more playing time after the break, Winderman states in a mailbag column. Winderman speculates that the two-way player may be in line for a standard contract if the Heat decide to waive Dru Smith, who’s out for the rest of the season after undergoing ACL reconstruction surgery.
  • Delon Wright was likely promised regular minutes to get him to commit to the Heat, Winderman adds in the same piece. However, the extent of Wright’s rotation role won’t be clear until Terry Rozier and Josh Richardson return from their current injuries.
  • Jaime Jaquez, who jumped over Shaquille O’Neal for his first entry in Saturday’s Dunk Contest, said clearing the Hall of Fame center was a difficult thing to prepare for, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “Listen, I ain’t gonna lie. I didn’t practice jumping over Shaq,” Jaquez said. “I used Bam [Adebayo] as practice. But there’s a big height difference. So I was really nervous when I saw Shaq out there. I’ve seen him a bunch of times. But when he’s standing there, I was definitely feeling nervous.”

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Lowry, Roster Spot, Highsmith

Heat center Bam Adebayo faces a difficult path toward making an All-NBA team or earning Defensive Player of the Year honors, which would qualify him for a super-max contract that would be the richest in franchise history, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Either achievement would make Adebayo eligible for a four-year extension this summer that would pay up to $245MM. Otherwise, his extension would be capped at three years and $152MM.

The league has changed its all-NBA structure so that the team is now positionless, meaning the top 15 vote-getters will be honored regardless of where they play. Jackson notes that under the old rules, Adebayo would have a decent chance at landing one of the three center spots, considering that Joel Embiid will miss the 65-game requirement and Anthony Davis and Kristaps Porzingis aren’t guaranteed to reach that mark either. Now Adebayo is competing with the entire league after ranking 27th overall in All-NBA balloting last season.

Adebayo is given the sixth-best odds for DPOY by Draft Kings and Fanduel, Jackson points out. Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert is seen as the clear favorite for that honor as the anchor for one of the league’s top defensive teams.

Jackson states that Adebayo turned down a two-year, $97MM extension last summer in hopes of qualifying for the super-max. His current contract runs through 2025/26.

There’s more on the Heat:

  • There was no reunion with Kyle Lowry in the Heat’s Wednesday win at Philadelphia, Jackson writes in a separate story. The former Miami point guard signed with his hometown Sixers after reaching a buyout with Charlotte, but he won’t join the team until after the All-Star break.
  • Miami is expected to fill its 15-man roster opening soon to avoid reaching the 90-game combined limit for its players on two-way contracts, Jackson adds.
  • Haywood Highsmith is grateful to have basketball as an escape as he deals with the aftermath of last week’s auto accident that left a man hospitalized, per Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. “Basketball is my peace,” Highsmith said. “I wanted to get back with my teammates and my coaches, to be around them, so they can get my energy up. Obviously, it hasn’t been the easiest week or so for me, but I’m just taking it day by day, and being around my team has been very helpful. Being around my family, the coaching staff, everybody, has been very helpful. So the Heat culture, Heat family had my back, so I appreciate that.”
  • Bucks coach Doc Rivers was impressed by Miami’s ability to cultivate young talent after Jaime Jaquez and Nikola Jovic led the Heat to a win at Milwaukee Tuesday night, Winderman notes in another Sun Sentinel story. “Jaquez, I mean, he’s the perfect fit for who they are and how they want to be,” Rivers said. “You know, it’s funny, I think certain guys actually target them, ‘Man, I’d fit in this system.’ Utah did that for years with Jerry Sloan. They kept doing it. And Miami’s doing it. But it’s more about their system and how they play, and how they target. But both of those guys are fun to watch.”

And-Ones: Lamb, Trade Candidates, Buyout Market, Pre-Agency, Dunk Contest

Former Warriors forward Anthony Lamb suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon while playing for the New Zealand Breakers, Olgun Uluc of ESPN tweets.

The non-contact leg injury occurred at the end of the first quarter of his team’s game against the Perth Wildcats on Sunday afternoon. An MRI confirmed the initial diagnosis.

Lamb appeared in 62 regular season games with Golden State last season, averaging 6.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 19.3 minutes per game.

We have more from the around the basketball world:

  • Which players are most likely to be on the move at the trade deadline? The Athletic’s John Hollinger reveals his list of players who could be swapping uniforms, breaking it down by expiring contracts, salary-matching contracts and luxury tax-shedding moves.
  • Following the trade deadline, attention will be turned to buyout candidates. Keith Smith previews that market in a Spotrac post, evaluating the possibility of Kyle Lowry, Joe Harris, Gordon Hayward, Davis Bertans and numerous others going that route.
  • What is “pre-agency?” A growing trend in the league, where players who could enter the free agent market get traded to a team interested in retaining them beyond the end of the season. The Athletic’s Danny Leroux notes that OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam fit that category, as the Knicks and Pacers, respectively, have positioned themselves to keep those starters after trades with Toronto.
  • It was reported on Monday that Jaylen Brown was seriously considering a spot in the All-Star dunk contest. Now it’s confirmed. The Celtics star will join Heat forward Jaime Jaquez, G League guard Mac McClung and Knicks forward Jacob Toppin in the annual event, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. McClung is the defending champion.

NBA Announces Player Pool For 2024 Rising Stars Event

The NBA has officially revealed the 11 rookies, 10 sophomores, and seven G League players who will take part in the Rising Stars event at All-Star weekend in Indianapolis next month.

The following players, as voted on by NBA coaching staffs, made the cut:



G League Players

As was the case last season, the Rising Stars event will consist of four teams and three games. The seven G League players will comprise one team, coached by former NBA forward Detlef Schrempf. The other 21 players will be drafted to three squads coached by former NBA and WNBA stars Pau Gasol, Jalen Rose, and Tamika Catchings.

The four teams will be split into two first-round matchups and the winners of those two games will face one another for the Rising Stars championship. The two semifinals will be played to a target score of 40 points, while the final will be played to a target score of 25 points.

All three contests will take place on Friday, February 16 as part of All-Star weekend’s opening night.