To qualify for the Sixth Man of the Year (6MOY) Award, a player simply needs to come off the bench in more games than they start. The ideal sixth man, however, is a scoring sparkplug capable of single-handedly bolstering a team’s second unit. The sixth man is often good enough to start, however, his skills are best used to terrorize opposing benches and close out games.
With less than 15 games left in the season, it’s time to look at the top five 6MOY candidates to see how they stack up with one another.
5. Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Clippers
In terms of sparkplugs, Harrell easily brings the most energy off the bench of anyone on this list. He’s averaging 16.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists on a 63.4 TS% in just over 26 minutes per game. His effort is infectious, and he’s a major reason why the Clippers’ bench is arguably the best in the league.
4. Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers
Sabonis is certainly skilled enough to start for the Pacers, but he comes off the bench due to a lack of fit next to the likes of Myles Turner and Thaddeus Young. He plays just under 25 minutes per game, yet he averages nearly a double-double on incredible efficiency. On the season, he’s putting up 14.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists on a TS% of 64.2 He’s a big reason that the Pacers currently sit at the third seed despite missing their star, Victor Oladipo. For that reason, he’s earned his spot on this list.
3. Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets
Dinwiddie has taken great strides since last season, and this year he’s been invaluable for the Nets. This year, he’s dropping 17.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.9 assists with a TS% of 59.6 in just 28.2 minutes per game. His skill set makes him the ideal back up to All-Star D’Angelo Russell. He shoots the ball with incredible efficiency and runs the second unit to a high degree of success. Dinwiddie’s play this season is a massive reason why the Nets bench is among the best in the league.
2. Derrick Rose, Minnesota Timberwolves
In terms of narrative, Rose has the category locked down. Everyone loves a comeback story, and Rose’s fall from youngest MVP in league history to a below average player, back to elite bench player is about as good as it gets. On the year, he’s putting up 18.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists on a 55.7 TS% in 27.3 minutes, which is easily his best season in years. He’s scored at least 20 points 24 times this year, and he has four games with at least 30 points, including a career-high 50 point game earlier this season.
1. Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers
Unlike the other players on this list, Lou Williams has a Drake song called 6 Man where his name is dropped four times in the first three lines. He recently passed Dell Curry for most points scored off the bench in NBA history, and if he goes back to back on Sixth Man of the Year (6MOY) awards, he’ll tie Jamal Crawford for the most all-time with three. With the bench points record and 6MOY award record, he could solidify himself as the greatest sixth man in NBA history. On the year, he’s putting up 20.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists on a 55.6 TS% in just 26.5 minutes per contest.
At the start of the season, Derrick Rose stated that it was his goal to win the 6MOY award, and Lou Will tweeted at him to let D-Rose know that he had the award on lock. While he sent that tweet just seven games into the season, Williams was averaging just 16.7 points per game. Since then, he’s averaged 20.8 points per game. He has 32 games with at least 20 points, eight with at least 30, and two 40+ point outing this year. Furthermore, he’s been downright elite lately with seven of his 30 points games coming in his last 22 games. This is impressive for any player, but more so for Lou Will, who’s doing it all from the bench.
6MOY Honorable Mentions (in no particular order)
Jordan Clarkson, Cleveland Cavaliers 27.0 MPG: 16.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.4 APG, 53.7 TS%
Dennis Schroder, Oklahoma City Thunder: 15.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 4.2 APG, 50.0 TS%
Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic: 14.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.6 APG, 54.4 TS%
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings: 14.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.9 APG, 52.2 TS%
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat: 14.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 4.2 APG, 50.4 TS%
Marvin Bagley, Sacramento Kings: 13.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, 56.9 TS%
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference
Featured image courtesy of Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
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