It comes after Russell Westbrook spent a good chunk of the early part of the season as one of the favorites for the award.
Final results for 6MOTY voting. pic.twitter.com/WGmEmKB9d2— Esfandiar Baraheni (@JustEsBaraheni) April 20, 2023
None of that is the important part, though. Lakers second-year guard Austin Reaves earned nine total points, securing six third-place votes and a second-place vote as well.
Notably, that is significantly more than Westbrook singular third-place vote.
Russ was seen as one of the favorites for a large chunk of the season. While the stats basically never really backed up that notion, he had the narrative advantage for a good chunk of the beginning of the season.
Even as late as early January, Westbrook was still the betting favorite for the award with Brogdon at +425 odds (and you’ll notice if you read the link, I recommended Brogdon).
But once people sat down and looked at the stats, Westbrook’s shaky case made way for, like, everyone including Reaves. It’s pretty funny that Westbrook didn’t even end up having the best case for Sixth Man of the Year on the roster this year.
Reaves averaged 13 points, 3.4 assists and 3 rebounds per game, while shooting 52.9% from the field and 39.8% from the 3-point line. In fact, he finished just one 3-pointer and 10 free throws shy of a 50/40/90 season.
Ironically, Reaves didn’t even finish the season as a reserve. Over the final 10 games, Reaves moved into the starting lineup and excelled. Like Westbrook with the Clippers though, they had spent enough time coming off the bench that they met the requirements.
Another interesting note is that former Laker Malik Monk finished fifth in voting for the award. Tyus Jones, who the Lakers are very familiar with after Game 2 on Wednesday, finished just above Reaves in voting.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.