Jose Alvarado

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.

Injury Updates: Mitchell, Okoro, Luka, Sengun, Pelicans

The struggling Cavaliers, who have lost seven of their past 10 games, will be without leading scorer Donovan Mitchell on Sunday vs. the Clippers, according to Chris Fedor of, who tweets that Mitchell is out due to injury management related to his knee.

On the plus side, Cavaliers forward Isaac Okoro is on track to return after missing the past four games with a toe injury (Twitter link via Fedor).

At 46-32, the Cavs still hold the No. 3 spot in the East, but they’re only a half-game ahead of both Orlando and New York, so they’re in danger of losing home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

Here are a few more injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • After missing Friday’s win over Golden State, Mavericks star Luka Doncic (right knee soreness) will be back in action on Sunday vs. Houston, the team confirmed (via Twitter). A strong finish in the season’s final week would ensure that the 47-30 Mavs secure a top-six seed in the West — they’re currently at No. 5.
  • Even with the Rockets slipping out of the play-in race, center Alperen Sengun hasn’t given up hope of returning to the court this season, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required). Sengun, who injured his right ankle and knee on March 10, estimated that he’s about 60% recovered, per Feigen, and has begun “light mobility work,” according to head coach Ime Udoka. He hasn’t been ruled out for the season, but it would be a bit surprising if he returned to just play a game or two after Houston is officially eliminated from postseason contention. “Maybe he gets on the court, but it’s nothing we discussed yet,” Udoka said.
  • Pelicans wing Naji Marshall, who left Friday’s game with a left shoulder contusion, didn’t practice on Saturday and is considered questionable to play in Sunday’s game in Phoenix, tweets Erin Summers of Bally Sports. Zion Williamson (left finger contusion) and Jose Alvarado (right oblique strain) are also listed as questionable, but they both practiced on Saturday.

Southwest Notes: Daniels, Ingram, Jones, Whitmore, Wemby

Pelicans guard Dyson Daniels, who has been sidelined since February 9 due to knee surgery, has been cleared to return for Saturday’s game vs. Boston, tweets Christian Clark of

Daniels wasn’t a major part of the Pelicans’ offensive attack earlier in the season, averaging a modest 5.5 points per game on 43.8% shooting (29.1% on threes). However, he started 15 of his 52 games and played 21.9 minutes per contest, in large part due to his defensive prowess. Assuming he’s not slowed by his knee at all, Daniels figures to reclaim a rotation role down the stretch.

There’s also good news out of New Orleans on injured forward Brandon Ingram, who was able to do some on-court work on Friday in what William Guillory of The Athletic (Twitter link) describes as a positive step in his recovery from a knee contusion. Ingram will reportedly remain sidelined until at least Friday, but perhaps by next weekend he’ll be nearing a return.

Meanwhile, the Pelicans will be without guard Jose Alvarado on Saturday for a second straight game due to a right oblique strain, per the NBA’s official injury report. It’s unclear how much more time – if any – Alvarado might miss as a result of that injury.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Christian Clark of makes the case for Herbert Jones to claim a spot on this season’s All-Defensive first team, explaining why the player that Pelicans teammates describe as “our defensive leader” deserves the honor.
  • After missing the past nine games due to a sprained right knee, Rockets rookie Cam Whitmore believes he’s on the verge of returning to action. According to Whitmore, he’s working on getting his conditioning back to 100% and hopes to be cleared in time to suit up against Dallas on Sunday, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required). “I feel fine. There’s no pain (in the knee),” he said. “No tweaks, no issues, no nothing. I feel back to normal. I just have to feel better moving around laterally.”
  • Now that he has appeared in the requisite 65 games, Victor Wembanyama deserves serious consideration for this season’s Defensive Player of the Year award, writes Mike Monroe of The Athletic. “If you just watch the game you see how (Wembanyama) affects the game defensively,” Spurs guard Tre Jones said. “It’s tough because of our record, but I think most people know he’s already the best defender in the league. He’s already leading the league in blocks; leads in blocks and steals combined, more than previous NBA Defensive Player of the Year winners.”
  • Count Jalen Brunson among Wembanyama’s fans. After the Spurs‘ No. 1 overall pick racked up 40 points and 20 rebounds en route to an overtime win against the Knicks on Friday, Brunson – who scored 61 points in the losing effort – predicted that Wembanyama will be “one of the greatest players this game has seen,” tweets Paul Garcia of Project Spurs. “Just the way he’s built and what he’s been able to do so far,” Brunson said. “Got a lot of respect for him and it’s definitely tough to get a shot up and in over him.”

Southwest Notes: Exum, Alvarado, Grizzlies, Rockets

In an interesting story for Yahoo Sports, Jake Fischer describes how Mavericks guard Dante Exum was able to make it back to the NBA after spending two seasons out of the league.

An Australian who sustained multiple major injuries early in his career, Exum only had G League offers in the U.S. and Canada after he was released by Houston in October 2021, and he decided that playing in Europe (for Barcelona and Partizan) was a better pathway for his future.

It’s always a risk. Not many people go to Europe and are able to come back,” Exum said. “It’s hard to get back.

Exum, 28, was considered a raw prospect when he was drafted fifth overall back in 2014. While he showed promise defensively and as a play-maker, he often struggled with scoring efficiency. However, he posted impressive shooting splits in Europe and that has continued in his first season in Dallas — he’s shooting 50% from deep (40-of-80) through 43 games (19.4 MPG), with an excellent 65.6 true shooting percentage.

I think it’s just comfortability, consistency and confidence,” Exum said, per Fischer. “That was the one thing I’ve tried to improve. But I think a lot of times when you’re shooting and you miss one, you kinda get in your head a little bit. I try not to let that happen anymore. At what point do you become a shooter in the sense of how many am I willing to miss before I stop shooting? And I want that number to be high.”

The Mavericks have been much better when Exum is on the court in 2023/24, Fischer writes, particularly when he’s been paired with Luka Doncic. Exum’s $3.15MM salary for next season is non-guaranteed, but it would be surprising if Dallas doesn’t keep him around, considering how well he has fit in as a role player.

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • Pelicans backup point guard Jose Alvarado makes a big impact on the defensive end despite his diminutive stature, writes Christian Clark of (subscriber link). “It starts with his heart,” head coach Willie Green said. “He plays with his heart and soul every game. It’s hard to bottle that up into a stat. Then you add his instincts. He has tremendous on-court defensive instincts. It’s why he was ACC Defensive Player of the Year. With all the talent in that conference, it was him. He only knows how to play one way. That’s the beautiful part about Jose. He brings it 110% every time he steps on the floor.” New Orleans has a 104.9 defensive rating — 3.5 points per 100 possessions stingier than Minnesota’s league-best mark — when Alvarado is on the court, Clark notes.
  • The injury-ravaged Grizzlies set an unfortunate franchise record on Wednesday when 10-day signee Maozinha Pereira made his NBA debut, per Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. The Brazilian forward, who had been playing for Mexico City in the G League, became the 29th player to appear in a game for the Grizzlies this season, breaking a 28-player mark set in two previous seasons.
  • Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscriber link) lists 14 college prospects for Rockets fans to monitor with the NCAA Tournament underway. Some players mentioned include Purdue’s Zach Edey, UConn’s Stephon Castle and Donovan Clingan, and Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard and Rob Dillingham. The Rockets control Brooklyn’s 2024 first-round pick, which is currently projected to be No. 8 overall. The fate of their own first-rounder depends on multiple different factors, but as of right now it would likely be conveyed to Oklahoma City as part of a previous trade.

Five Players Suspended For Friday Altercation Between Heat, Pelicans

Heat big man Thomas Bryant and Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado have been suspended three games apiece for leaving the bench area and fighting during an on-court altercation on Friday in New Orleans, the NBA announced today in a press release (Twitter link).

Additionally, Heat forward Jimmy Butler and Pelicans forward Naji Marshall will face one-game suspensions for instigating the incident, while Heat forward Nikola Jovic will be suspended for one game for leaving Miami’s bench area and entering the fracas, per the league.

The incident began when Heat forward/center Kevin Love wrapped up Zion Williamson as the Pelicans star attempted a layup early in the fourth quarter (Twitter video link). Marshall objected to the play and rushed to confront Love, resulting in Marshall and Butler getting into a shoving match, with players and coaches from both teams looking to intercede.

The altercation escalated briefly, then seemed to be cooling down before Bryant and Alvarado exchanged heated words and threw punches in front of the scorer’s table (Twitter video link). Butler, Bryant, Marshall, and Alvarado were all ejected from the game, which Miami eventually won.

The Pelicans will host the Bulls on Sunday, so Marshall will serve his one-game suspension tonight, while Alvardo will begin serving his three-game ban. Alvarado will miss games in New York on Tuesday and Indiana on Wednesday as well.

With Dyson Daniels (left knee) and CJ McCollum (left ankle) also unavailable for the Pelicans on Sunday and Williamson (left foot) and Brandon Ingram (non-COVID illness) considered questionable, the team recalled a handful of players – Jalen Crutcher, E.J. Liddell, Malcolm Hill, and Dereon Seabron – from the G League on Saturday for depth purposes.

The Heat will be in action on Monday in Sacramento, so Bryant, Butler, and Jovic will miss that game, with Bryant also sitting out the team’s contests in Portland on Tuesday and Denver on Thursday.

The three-game suspensions will cost Bryant $52,308 (of his $2,528,233 salary) and Alvarado $37,988 (of $1,836,096), per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter links).

Because he’s on a maximum-salary contract, Butler will forfeit by far the biggest total ($259,968) of any of the five affected players, despite being suspended for just a single game. Jovic will lose $13,517, while Marshall will lose $11,096.

Southwest Notes: Zion, Spurs, Popovich, Rose

Throughout his NBA career, Zion Williamson has been criticized for his weight, his effort level and especially for his inability to stay on the court. Pelicans teammate Jose Alvarado tells Christian Clark of that Williamson is aware of the criticism and is trying to find ways to channel it into something positive.

“He learned,” Alvarado said. “He’s young still. We got his back. So it don’t matter about all that other stuff. But he hears it. He’s human. We (are) all human. We all in the generation of going on our phones and stuff is going to pop up. He’s responding. That’s a 23-year-old responding to the whole world telling him something he don’t want to hear. Like I said, it’s whatever. We’ve got his back. We tell him. We told him what he needed to hear. All the other stuff, I feel like was pretty unnecessary.”

Williamson became an easy target after New Orleans was embarrassed by the Lakers during the in-season tournament semifinals. Clark notes that TNT’s Shaquille O’Neal said Williamson “does not run hard,” and ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith called him “fat.” Alvarado said the team has rallied behind Williamson to help him deal with the outside barbs.

“He’s human,” Alvarado said. “He heard all that noise about that game in L.A. One thing about it: We can get on him. But the whole world, they trying to push him to be great. Obviously, we appreciate that. But f–k all that negative towards him. He’s a human being.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • There was a mixture of relief and celebration as the Spurs ended their nightmarish 18-game losing streak by beating the Lakers Friday night, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN. Devin Vassell poured in a career-high 36 points in San Antonio’s first victory since November 2. “A hundred percent it didn’t feel like a normal win,” Vassell said. “You see people jumping around on the sideline and everything. … I’m trying to stay composed. But at the end of the day, it’s special. This is a special group.”
  • Coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t expect the Spurs to pursue a major trade to turn the season around, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “Our focus is not immediate other than individual development and team concepts,” Popovich said. “But if there’s a trade that would make sense both now and for long-term, of course, we look at it. (General manager) Brian Wright and his guys are probably doing that already.”
  • Hamstring soreness forced Grizzlies guard Derrick Rose to leave Friday’s game, the team tweeted. Rose, who has helped the team weather Ja Morant‘s suspension, managed to play only about eight minutes.

Southwest Notes: Porzingis, Spurs, Williams, Alvarado

Kristaps Porzingis blames immaturity and a personality conflict with Luka Doncic for the failure of their time together with the Mavericks, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. The Celtics big man made the comments during an appearance on The Old Man and the Three podcast (video link), hosted by J.J. Redick, who was also with the Mavs for part of that time.

Dallas acquired Porzingis in January 2019 after he asked the Knicks for a trade, but he never meshed with Doncic. He played 134 games in his three years with Dallas before being shipped to Washington at the 2022 trade deadline. Porzingis regrets that the experience didn’t work out better.

“It’s a mix of many things. Maturity, for sure. I’m talking about what I could have done better. It’s many things, majority on my part for sure,” he said. “And then I wasn’t that much into analytics and numbers. If somebody I think at that stage of my career presented it to me the right way and said, ‘This is what we need to do, this is what we need from you, you’re going to be way more effective doing this,’ like kind of explaining it to me better, I think that would have made a difference a little bit.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Spurs‘ game at Minnesota tonight gave them an up-close look at a team they may want to emulate in the rebuilding process, notes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. The Timberwolves were patient in amassing young talent, and they seem ready to compete with the NBA’s elite teams after a 16-4 start. “You have definitely seen them rebuild by starting over and getting a bunch of young guys together and getting them playing on the same page, and now they are the No. 1 seed and winning a lot,” Tre Jones said. “Memphis was the same way for the past couple of years. They have injuries and a lot of guys out right now, but they were at the bottom of the league and then got a couple of draft picks and got some new guys in there and they started winning a lot.”
  • After spending the majority of his rookie season in the G League, Vince Williams Jr. is now taking on most of the Grizzlies‘ toughest defensive assignments, notes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Williams is hoping to become Memphis’ version of Patrick Beverley, changing games with big plays on defense. “He’s locking up,” Jaren Jackson Jr. said. “He’s being that guy we need to guard the best wings in the game right now. He’s an irritant, and he’s still scoring the ball.”
  • If the Pelicans win the in-season tournament, Jose Alvarado doesn’t plan to spend a penny of the $500K cash prize, according to Marc J. Spears of Andscape. Alvarado has already decided it will go into a savings account for his three young daughters.

Southwest Notes: Sochan, Alvarado, Rockets, Mavs

The Spurs‘ efforts to turn forward Jeremy Sochan into a point guard have been a bit bumpy so far, but the team has shown a willingness to stick with it and Sochan has been open to learning, writes Andrew Lopez of The 20-year-old admits it’s “going to be a process” to adapt to the new position, but he’s been getting advice from last season’s starter Tre Jones and said the transition has been “fun.”

“There have been moments where it’s like, ‘Yo, I don’t want to.’ It’s like, ‘f–k this s–t.’ I’m going to be honest,” Sochan said earlier this month. “There have been moments where there isn’t confidence. But there are moments of being confident and just working. Knowing the trust I have from the coaches and players, it helps.”

As Lopez details, the Spurs didn’t have Sochan watch film of any specific point guards when he moved into the role, since they still want him to play like himself rather than trying to emulate someone else.

“He can’t play like Chris Paul or he can’t play like John Stockton,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s got to be Jeremy.”

Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins, who said his team “studied” Sochan ahead of the 2022 draft, referred to him as a “Swiss Army Knife-type player” with strong play-making skills, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required). Jenkins isn’t surprised that Popovich is thinking outside of the box by experimenting with Sochan at the point.

“When you have been around Pop, competed against Pop, he is very open-minded to trying a lot of different things,” Jenkins said. “In the eras he has been here, playing big, playing small, emphasizing the three-ball, emphasizing the paint, emphasizing faster pace, slower pace, not a surprise.”

Here are a few more notes from around the Southwest:

  • Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado said today during a media session that he’ll make his season debut on Monday night vs. Sacramento, per Christian Clark of “I’m back,” Alvarado said. “I feel good. I will go through pregame. But I’m back. That’s the plan.” Alvarado has yet to play this fall due to a right ankle sprain.
  • Mark Medina of Sportsnaut spoke to Rockets head coach Ime Udoka about the strides his team has made so far this season, the impact that newcomers like Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks have had, and the improvement he’s seen from youngsters like Alperen Sengun. “We knew what he was offensively in a lot of ways and how he impacts the game for us,” Udoka said of Sengun, who is averaging a career-best 20.1 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 5.7 APG. “He can control things there. But defensively, he has taken a huge step. He’s bought in and has improved on that side of the ball.”
  • While the Mavericks are off to a strong start this season, losses like Sunday’s to Sacramento show that they’re still very much a work in progress on the defensive side of the ball, writes Kevin Sherrington of The Dallas Morning News (subscription required). Rookie center Dereck Lively II has exceeded expectations but has struggled to slow down star bigs such as Domantas Sabonis, who had 32 points on Sunday. “If we’re not scoring 130, it’s hard to win,” head coach Jason Kidd acknowledged.

Injury Notes: Brown, Mitchell, Payton, Anunoby, Alvarado

Celtics wing Jaylen Brown is considered questionable to suit up on Sunday in Memphis due to a right adductor strain, according to the NBA’s official injury report. The injury occurred during Friday’s in-season tournament game in Toronto, and Brown indicated after Boston’s win that a slippery floor was to blame.

“The court was just slippery all game,” Brown said (Twitter link via Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe). “I think as players we’re all here for the in-season tournament because it’s going to generate revenue, excitement, competition, but we’ve got to make sure the floor is safe to play on. We can’t put our players out there and risk their health. Tonight I thought the floor was unacceptable. I think guys were slipping all over the place, not just me.”

As Michael Grange of relays (via Twitter), Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa seconded Brown’s complaint about the court, which was being used for the first time: “It was slippery, I fell a couple of times myself. The extra stuff is extra. I’m just trying to play basketball, at the same time, not trying to get hurt.”

Here are a few more injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell will miss a second consecutive game on Sunday, having been ruled out vs. Denver due to a right hamstring strain, tweets Tom Withers of The Associated Press.
  • The Warriors provided a formal update on Gary Payton II on Saturday, announcing (via Twitter) that an MRI on his injured left foot didn’t show any structural damage and confirmed that he has a muscle strain in the foot. Payton, who missed Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma City, will be reevaluated again this weekend.
  • OG Anunoby has missed the Raptors‘ past three games due to a laceration on his finger, but he’s listed as probable to return for Sunday’s game vs. Detroit, per Josh Lewenberg of (Twitter link).
  • Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado, who was upgraded to questionable for Saturday’s game, ended up sitting it out, further delaying his season debut. However, it sounds like that debut will occur soon. Head coach Willie Green said on Saturday that Alvarado has been playing 5-on-5 and is getting very close, tweets Will Guillory of The Athletic.

Injury Notes: Alvarado, Lyles, Mitchell, Beal, Hornets

Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado is getting “really close” to making his season debut, head coach Willie Green said on Friday, per Christian Clark of (Twitter link). Alvarado, who has been sidelined for the first few weeks of the season due to a right ankle sprain, missed Friday’s in-season tournament game against Denver but has been upgraded to questionable for Saturday’s contest vs. Minnesota, per the team (Twitter link).

While Alvarado has a chance to return on Saturday, forward Zion Williamson will be getting the night off on the second night of a back-to-back set, according to the Pelicans. Williamson’s designation is “rest,” so it sounds like there’s no new injury there — it’s just a matter of the team being cautious.

Here are a few more injury-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Kings forward Trey Lyles tells Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee that he expects to make his season debut at some point during the team’s current road trip, which continues on Sunday in Dallas and wraps up next Friday in Minnesota. Lyles has been unavailable so far this fall due to a calf injury, but has progressed to 3-on-3 work and says he feels “great,” adding that he’s mostly focused now on improving his conditioning.
  • While it doesn’t appear to be a cause for any significant concern at this point, Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell missed a second game on Friday due to a right hamstring issue. Mitchell also sat out on October 28 due to right hamstring soreness, notes Chris Fedor of
  • Suns guard Bradley Beal was listed as probable to play on Wednesday before being downgraded to out and then ruled out for at least three weeks due to a low back strain. Head coach Frank Vogel explained on Friday that Beal turned out not to be back to 100% when he made his season debut and playing in games was impeding his recovery process. “We want to put this thing behind him,” Vogel said, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). “Playing in the games was slowing down his progress for really trying to put this behind him. We don’t want to do the ‘play a game, be out a game, play a game, be out a game.'”
  • The Hornets continue to be beset by injuries, as big man Nick Richards left Friday’s game due to concussion-like symptoms and has now been placed in the concussion protocol and ruled out for Saturday’s contest, per the team (Twitter link). In other Hornets injury news, Terry Rozier, who is sidelined due to a left groin issue, has yet to resume practicing, notes Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).