Kings’ Malik Monk appears to be in danger of losing out on well-deserved award 

Sacramento Kings v Washington Wizards
Sacramento Kings v Washington Wizards / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

Malik Monk may not be an All-Star or an All-NBA player, but he has filled the role of the third star well for the Kings this season. Playing with a never-ending amount of confidence and joy, he is Sacramento’s heartbeat and engine both on and off the court. 

When Monk first came to Sacramento, he was primarily known as a scorer, and he still does that at a high level. Averaging 15.4 points for the season, he is the Kings’ third-leading scorer and has been their best player in several games. He has recorded by far the most 20-point games off the bench this season while putting on some crazy clutch performances. 

At the same time, he greatly developed as a playmaker, however. His average of 5.1 assists by game is a new career-high, and this development has made a real difference for the Kings. It is great to have someone else who can create for himself next to De’Aaron Fox but they needed more playmaking as well. 

For too long, Fox was the only dynamic playmaker on the team—Domantas Sabonis is a great passer, but he does not push the pace the same way Fox and Monk do or create off the dribble. Monk really stepped up his game off the bench and more often than not closed games. 

It seemed that most voters had his name penciled in as the 2024 Sixth Man of the Year. After all, he was one of the best scorers and playmakers off the bench across the league while being irreplaceable on a playoff contender in the stacked West. 

Then he went down with an MCL injury in late March, and it seems that voters are starting to forget about him amid the Kings’ recent struggles.

Malik Monk might lose the Sixth Man of the Year award to Naz Reid

Minnesota Timberwolves big man Naz Reid has been one of the top candidates for the Sixth Man of the Year award all season long and has just recently overtaken Monk as the perceived favorite. 

Several media personalities, like Kevin O’Connor and JJ Redick, have already made their votes public, showing that they are leaning towards Reid as Sixth Man of the Year. Averaging 13.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.3 assists on one of the top teams in the Western Conference, he is definitely a deserving candidate. 

Recency bias might have something to do with the latest swing in votes. While Monk has been watching from the sidelines with a knee injury, Reid started some games in Karl-Anthony Towns’ absence and delivered great performances. 

Some Kings fans have contended on social media that his play as a starter should not factor into his Sixth Man of the Year case, but this award is not just about the best player coming off the bench. It is about rewarding a player who fills his role off the bench extremely well but also has the ability to step up when one of the five main guys is out or struggling. Monk has done that all season long, but so has Reid. 

The official voting results will be released on April 20, but even if Monk does not win the award, we all know what he has done for this team and appreciate the effort and sacrifice.