Norman Powell

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.

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Powell, Fox, Ellis, Huerter, Allen

The Clippers found a way to hold the Mavericks to 30 points in the first half of Game 1. Coach Tyronn Lue knows that keeping Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving under control for Game 2 tonight will be even tougher, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes.

“It’s very challenging,” he said. “You got two of the best scorers in the league on the same team. So, when they’re both on the court at the same time, it’s kind of hard to double-team one guy and leave the other guy. So, you got to pick your poison. I thought for the most part our guys did a good job with executing the defensive plan.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers forward Norman Powell is upset he wasn’t one of the finalists for the Sixth Man of the Year award, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN tweets. “I mean, I think it’s BS, to be honest, two years in a row,” he said. “I don’t know what else you’ve got to do to be a sixth man. Last year, you’re leading the league in bench points. Don’t get nominated. This year, the most efficient off the bench, given the fact I’m playing with four Hall of Famers, limited touches. … it’s just tough.” Powell averaged 13.9 points during the regular season on .486/.435/.831 shooting.
  • De’Aaron Fox said on Monday that it’s impossible to think of this Kings season as anything but a major disappointment, per Hunter Patterson of The Athletic. Sacramento was bounced in the play-in tournament. “You want to continue to play for more,” Fox said. “I don’t think we were bad this year, but obviously the West got tougher and I don’t think we stepped up to that plate. … We took a step backward a little bit as a team. We still have things we can continue to get better at as a group.”
  • In the same story, Patterson notes that Keon Ellis and Kevin Huerter could have a spirited battle for the Kings’ starting shooting guard spot next season. Ellis impressed with his defense, while Huerter is a career 38.2% 3-point shooter. “It’s definitely the season where I’ve kind of made a name for myself a little bit,” Ellis said. “We didn’t finish the way we wanted to with the injuries and all of the things that go into that, but definitely for me it’s a season I’m going to look back at and be like, ‘This is where it started for me.’”
  • Suns wing Grayson Allen suffered a right ankle injury in Tuesday’s game against Minnesota and did not return. Allen came into the game with a sore ankle, per The Arizona Republic’s Duane Rankin (Twitter link), but was deemed healthy enough to play.

Pacific Notes: O’Neale, Allen, Hyland, Leonard, Monk, Sabonis

Suns coach Frank Vogel switched up his rotation in the team’s 124-108 win over the Clippers on Wednesday, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic reports. Royce O’Neale was inserted into the lineup in place of Grayson Allen, while Thaddeus Young replaced Drew Eubanks as the backup center.

However, the Suns could go right back to Allen as the starter against Sacramento on Friday. “It’s just something we’ve been talking about,” Vogel said. “If we get into a playoff matchup where we have a bigger opponent, then we feel like (O’Neale’s) size in the starting lineup is something that would make sense. We didn’t want to go to that with Grayson coming off the bench for the first time having never done it. We used this one game to let Grayson just feel the rhythm of coming off the bench, if it’s needed in the playoffs.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Ivica Zubac and Norman Powell sat out the second game of a back-to-back on Wednesday. Bones Hyland carried the Clippers‘ offense in their absence, pumping in a career-high 37 points, Janis Carr of the Orange County Register notes. Leonard sat out his sixth consecutive game because of inflammation in his right knee. He might not return until the postseason but coach Tyronn Lue believes his superstar forward will be ready to go by that point.
  • Kings guard Malik Monk was the solid frontrunner for the Sixth Man of the Year award until he suffered a sprained MCL in his right knee late last month. Center Domantas Sabonis said Monk still deserves the honor. “Monk has to win it,” Sabonis told HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto. “If he doesn’t win it, it’s rigged. He definitely brings energy and light. If we’re down, he’s always up and in a good mood off the court, too, so that really helps during a long season with ups and downs.” Coach Mike Brown concurs. “It should not even be a debate on Sixth Man of the Year with Malik’s body of work and us fighting for a playoff spot,” Brown said. “He should be the hands-down winner.”
  • Monk will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. Sacramento has Early Bird rights on Monk and can sign him up to $78MM over four years. “I’d love to play here again, for sure. I’ve been here for two years and made friends with everyone, including the training staff and front office,” Monk told Scotto. Sabonis said the organization can’t afford to lose him: “We’ve got to keep him. He’s a big piece for us moving forward.”
  • Sabonis saw his 61-game double-double streak end on Tuesday, Cliff Brunt of The Associated Press writes. He had eight points and 13 rebounds against Oklahoma City. It’s the seventh-longest streak in league history and the longest since the NBA and ABA merged prior to the 1976/77 season.

Injury Notes: Leonard, Barrett, Quickley, Mitchell, Ingram

Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard will miss the team’s game on Tuesday against the Kings due to right knee soreness, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

Leonard, who played 37 minutes and scored 23 points against the Hornets on Sunday, returned to Los Angeles on Monday for treatment. His status for Thursday’s game against the Nuggets is uncertain.

The fact that Leonard’s flared up is a troubling development for the Clippers, who are pointing toward to a deep playoff run. Leonard has appeared in 68 games this season, his most since the 2016/17 campaign. Norman Powell will move into the starting lineup in his place, Youngmisuk tweets.

We have more injury-related news to pass along:

  • RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley are active for the Raptors’ game against the Lakers tonight, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. Barrett hasn’t played since March 11 due to personal reasons and re-conditioning. Quickley has been out since March 17 for the same reasons.
  • The Cavaliers’ Donovan Mitchell, who has been battling a sore left knee, will miss Tuesday’s game against Utah, Chris Fedor of writes. It’s the first game of a back-to-back, with Cleveland facing Phoenix on Wednesday. Mitchell has appeared in 51 games this season and is ineligible for postseason awards.
  • There’s optimism that Brandon Ingram will be back in action for the Pelicans next week, The Athletic’s said Shams Charania during an appearance on FanDuel’s Run It Back program (video link). “Brandon Ingram is going to be reevaluated at the end of the week, that’ll be the two-week mark, and the hope is by that three-week mark next week, he’s going to be back in the lineup,” Charania said. Ingram is working his way back from a left knee bone contusion.

Pacific Notes: Thomas, Okogie, Paul, Powell

Isaiah Thomas isn’t content just to be back in the NBA, writes Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports. The 35-year-old guard, who signed his 10-day deal with the Suns earlier today, hopes the opportunity will revive his career.

“I want to play a few more years in the league, so hopefully this is a setup for that,” Thomas said. “Whatever the opportunity is, I’m ready to make an impact each and every day. Whether I play or not, it’s bigger than putting the ball in the basket for me. Like, I’m able to lead — lead by example, lead by my experiences and just help in any way possible.”

Coach Frank Vogel said Thomas is a “guy that everyone loves,” but nothing has been promised beyond the initial 10-day deal. Phoenix has an opening on its 15-man roster, and Vogel indicated that the organization wants to see what Thomas can contribute before making a commitment. He added that Thomas fills a need because Saben Lee is running out of games on his two-way contract.

“He’s a very well-liked, respected guy in this league, in this NBA player fraternity, but we’re gonna see where his game is at,” Vogel said of Thomas. “Again, I don’t know how much he’ll play for us. He’s really here from a depth standpoint because Saben Lee only has four games left.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Before tonight’s game, Vogel told reporters that Suns shooting guard Josh Okogie is close to returning from his lower abdominal strain (video link from Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic). Okogie hasn’t played since March 2.
  • Chris Paul talked to Scott Ostler of The San Francisco Chronicle about the role he played in driving Jonathan Kuminga and other young Warriors players to develop their talents. “It’s hard (on the young players), because I’ve got a very strong personality, man, and … it is like a coach, and you should be worried if I ain’t saying nothing to you,” Paul said. “Seriously, I’m just constantly trying to teach and play and compete at the same time.”
  • Clippers swingman Norman Powell is a strong candidate for Sixth Man of the Year honors, notes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Among players who are primarily reserves, Powell ranks third in scoring, second in field goal percentage and three-point shooting percentage and fourth in minutes per game. “I think it would be amazing. It would be a lot for me,” he said. “It would be recognition for the importance for the team and being able to step up and help the team win and just a testament to all my hard work throughout the years. I feel like I’ve always been an underdog, having to earn my stripes and my spot. Even when I do really well one season, the next season it’s not automatically given. I’ve got to work to get it and prove myself.” Powell is dealing with a left leg contusion and it’s uncertain if he’ll play during the team’s two-game road trip, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Davis, LeBron, Green, Kuminga, Suns

The Clippers have fallen back to Earth after rampaging through the league earlier this winter and doubt is starting to creep in, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. There are legitimate reasons for Sunday’s loss to the short-handed Hawks, Youngmisuk notes. It was L.A.’s sixth game in nine days and the team has injury concerns of its own, but some players are pointing toward bigger issues.

“We want to be a team that’s consistent and we want to establish an identity,” Paul George said. “I’ve always spoken about having an identity and I think it’s extremely important. Right now, I don’t think we have an identity.”

The Clippers have dropped four of their last five games and are 8-10 since peaking at 34-15 on February 5. Russell Westbrook has been sidelined since the end of January with a broken left hand, and Norman Powell is dealing with a lower left leg contusion that had him on crutches Sunday night.

Tyronn Lue said the coaching staff continues to emphasize positive habits, such as protecting the ball, getting back on transition, hitting the offensive boards and spacing the court. However, the effort to do those things hasn’t been consistent.

“When they do it, it works,” Lue said. “When you have so much talent and you have guys that can do it so easily, they don’t understand that your talent is great, but the talent’s got to be for the team as well. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I got to do something a little different to make sure that we’re doing what we’re supposed to do. … [But] I’ll never really overreact because I know we’re a good team … If you want to win, I know what it looks like. I’ve been there, I’ve seen it.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers center Anthony Davis has shown improvement since suffering a left corneal abrasion on Saturday and is listed as questionable for tonight’s game with Atlanta, according to an ESPN report. Davis had to leave Saturday’s contest after being inadvertently hit in the face on a layup. His vision was impaired and his eye was swollen shut, but a source tells ESPN that his condition improved Saturday night and Sunday. L.A. is also listing LeBron James as questionable due to ongoing issues with his left ankle, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic.
  • While Draymond Green was away from the Warriors on his most recent suspension, he sent regular critiques to Jonathan Kuminga on his performance, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN. Those communications helped the pair form a partnership that has played an important role in Golden State’s surge in the second half of the season. Kuminga also credits Green for pushing the front office to select him in the 2021 draft. “He is one of the reasons I even ended up here,” Kuminga said. “Before they drafted me, he called [former Warriors general manager] Bob [Myers] and told him to bring me here. I think that was one of the greatest things to have ever happened.”
  • The Suns were unhappy with their defensive effort in Sunday’s loss at Milwaukee, notes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. With Giannis Antetokounmpo sidelined by a hamstring injury, Phoenix allowed the Bucks to score 82 points in the first half and 140 for the game.

Los Angeles Notes: Powell, Westbrook, Lue, Davis

The Clippers are a little banged up going into the game against Atlanta tonight, according to Janis Carr of the Orange County Register.

Norman Powell left Friday’s game against New Orleans on crutches and won’t play due tonight due to a left leg contusion.  Terance Mann limped into the locker room during the first half on Friday but is in the starting lineup. Russell Westbrook is still out with a fractured left hand.

James Harden was listed as questionable but will play despite with a strained left shoulder. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are also showing signs of wear after a rugged stretch of the schedule.

We have more on the Los Angeles teams:

  • The Clippers have lost four of their last seven games and their margin for error is shrinking, Law Murray of The Athletic notes. They have fallen to fourth place in the Western Conference standings and the oldest team in the league is now forced to rely on their depth.
  • Coach Tyronn Lue showed signs of frustration with his team after the eight-point loss to the Pelicans, Murray tweets. He expressed that some of his players may not be as competitive as he is. “What do you mean, falls on my shoulders? I’m competitive. I’m ready to compete right now. … I don’t play, they know what we’re supposed to do. So they got to do it,” he said.
  • Anthony Davis suffered an eye injury during the Lakers’ loss to the Warriors. The Lakers’ struggles after he left the game proved they can’t win any meaningful games without him, Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times opines. They were outscored by 13 points after he left the game, Plaschke notes, and were outscored by 18 in the paint.

Raptors Notes: Brown, Powell, Trent, Barrett

With trade buzz building, multifaceted new Raptors guard Bruce Brown seems like an enticing plug-and-play option for a variety of rival clubs, writes Mark W. Sanchez of The New York Post. Brown’s former Nuggets teammates recently spoke in reverential tones of his application as a utility player.

“I think he can fit any team,” wing Christian Braun remarked.

“Coach [Michael Malone] called him the Swiss Army knife — I think that’s spot-on,” Denver guard Jamal Murray said. “He can bring it up. He can get to the rim. He can shoot it enough. He can defend their best player. Run in transition.”

Brown has been linked to the Knicks as of late, as well as the Lakers. As a versatile wing who can fill multiple positional slots on the hardwood for a given team, the 6’4″ vet could be an excellent fit within Tom Thibodeau‘s gritty system.

There’s more out of Toronto:

  • The decision to trade former Raptors wing Norman Powell to the Trail Blazers in 2021 is beginning to look like another epic miscalculation for a floundering Toronto front office, according to Michael Grange of As Grange notes, the Raptors opted to offload Powell rather than risk having to pay him a pricey new deal in free agency that summer. In the trade, Toronto took back the younger Gary Trent Jr., whom the club was able to retain for less money. However, Powell has only continued to improve, while Trent has plateaued a bit.
  • The Raptors would like to see newly acquired young swingman RJ Barrett develop beyond his current heavy focus on scoring the rock, per Eric Koreen of The Athletic. “With (Barrett), it’s very clear that he has a lot of room to improve,” first-year Toronto head coach Darko Rajakovic said of the Canadian. “Obviously, the Olympic Games are there in the middle of the summer, as well. I think that’s going to be a great opportunity for him to play on the big (stage). … I think he’s going to have great opportunities this summer to take (his) game to the next level.”
  • In case you missed it, two-way player Jontay Porter has managed to carve out legitimate rotation time on head coach Rajakovic’s roster, and has impressed during his meaningful minutes.

Pacific Notes: Suns Rumors, Caruso, Clippers, Powell, Barnes

Within a look at some of the potential trade targets who have recently been linked to the Suns, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports reports that a source close to the situation has described Phoenix as “very confident” about its ability to make a competitive offer for Hornets forward Miles Bridges. Bourguet adds that Charlotte center Nick Richards is also a target, but that the team would likely only be able to acquire one Hornet or the other due to salary-matching considerations.

Bourguet also confirms that Nets forward Royce O’Neale is a legitimate target for the Suns, observing that O’Neale is more attainable than Dorian Finney-Smith due to his expiring contract and smaller cap hit.

The Suns would almost certainly need to use Nassir Little ($6.25MM) as their primary outgoing salary piece in any trade and would need to get to within 10% of the incoming salary, so acquiring a player who is earning much more than O’Neale ($9.5MM) would be tricky. Phoenix would presumably need to add one or two minimum-salary players and multiple second-round picks to its package for either Bridges or O’Neale.

The buyout market could also prove fruitful for the Suns, Bourguet writes, even though they’ll be prohibited from signing a player whose pre-waiver salary exceeds $12.4MM. P.J. Tucker would have interest in Phoenix if he’s bought out, according to Bourguet, who says the team has also been in touch with center Bismack Biyombo, a current free agent.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Veteran guard Alex Caruso, who left the Lakers for the Bulls as a free agent in 2021, tells Melissa Rohlin of FOX Sports that he still sometimes thinks about how things would have played out if he had remained in Los Angeles. “Yeah, definitely,” Caruso said. “Just because of how well I played with them when I was here. I know how I supported them. And I’ve gotten better. I was expecting myself to get better. It’s actually what had to move me on. I kept getting better and eventually I was at a point where I couldn’t stay here. I definitely have always thought about it because those guys (LeBron James and Anthony Davis) are my brothers. We’ve been through a lot together. Always good seeing them. Every now and then you think about what could’ve been.”
  • Rival coaches and executives are praising Clippers head of basketball operations Lawrence Frank for the way his gamble on James Harden has paid off so far, according to Steve Bulpett of “I didn’t think it would work out,” one exec said. “A lot of people didn’t think it would work out. But he had it right. Russell (Westbrook) is playing within himself. Harden is sharing the ball. They have great chemistry right now.”
  • In a conversation with Mark Medina of Sportskeeda, Clippers wing Norman Powell spoke about his impressions of Harden and Westbrook as teammates, the role that coach Tyronn Lue has played in the team’s success, and how these Clippers compare to the 2019 champion Raptors, among other topics.
  • Viewed as a probable outgoing piece if the Kings make a major deadline trade, Harrison Barnes has been on a heater this week, scoring 32 points on Monday and a career-high 39 on Thursday, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes.

Pacific Notes: Klay, Plumlee, Theis, N. Powell, Bol

It has been a disappointing first half of the season for Warriors wing Klay Thompson, whose average of 16.7 points per game is well below his career mark. His 42.0% shooting percentage on field goal attempts and 37.7% rate from beyond the three-point line would be career lows.

While Thompson’s slow start has affected his demeanor on and off the court, he said on Tuesday that a recent conversation with head coach Steve Kerr has helped him “relax a lot” and adjust his mindset, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

“Sometimes I forget just how successful and how lucky I’ve been to be part of a championship team, All-Star games, gold medals,” Thompson said. “You want to get back to that level so badly you can kind of get in your own way. Rather than forcing it, we had a conversation about enjoying the last chapter of my career, how lucky I truly am to still be playing this game, doing it at a high level, being a better mentor for these young guys, leading by example, having my energy right every game.

“He helped me realize if I do have negative energy how that affects the team in a poor manner. So we had a great conversation that helped me change my whole mindset and forget about shooting splits or points per game or All-Star games and just to enjoy being in this Warriors uniform and appreciate what we’ve built. Because it’s such a rare opportunity for a professional athlete to be a part of so much success and to pass that torch to the young guys and keep this thing going.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Clippers center Mason Plumlee was active on Monday for the first time since going down with an MCL sprain on November 6, but he didn’t see any action, as Janis Carr of The Orange County Register writes. “He is available, but we still want to make sure we are doing the right thing and making sure that we’re taking the slow (road) and ease him back in,” head coach Tyronn Lue explained. Fellow reserve center Daniel Theis said he hasn’t been told by the coaching staff how his role will be affected by Plumlee’s return.
  • With the Clippers healthier this year than in recent seasons, Norman Powell is averaging just 25.6 minutes per game off the bench, his lowest mark since 2018/19. However, the veteran wing says he’s willing to sacrifice some playing time and accept a reduced role if it’s the right move for the team as a whole, per Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. “This year with the way the team is constructed and the moves that we made, I’ve been taking a step back and not being so upset that my role isn’t going to be where I would like it to be, or where I want it to be or how I view myself, and accepting how the team is built, what the team is looking for and what we have to do to win,” Powell said.
  • Bol Bol made just eight appearances and logged only 19 total minutes in his first 32 games with the Suns, but he finally got an extended opportunity in Monday’s win over Portland and took advantage of it, putting up 11 points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes. “I haven’t been able to show it, but I still have all the same confidence,” Bol said before the game, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I know what I’m capable of doing when given a chance.” Head coach Frank Vogel told reporters after the victory that the team was “really happy” with Bol’s performance and hinted that his opportunities to play non-garbage-time minutes may be more frequent going forward.