The Sixth Man of the Year award is rewarded to the first man off the bench. The sixth man is a huge factor to any team as it provides some fire power off the bench to ensure the team is scoring while the starters are resting. A sixth man’s duty is to play their role, and typically is a guard. This year’s candidates for the Sixth Man of the Year award are stacked, but who will win the award? Here are the predictions:
5.) Jeremy Lin Point Guard, Charlotte Hornets
Following a rough season in Los Angeles, Lin found himself providing the Hornets as an excellent member off the bench. As the leader of the Hornets’s second unit, he is averaging just about the same numbers he did previously as a Laker.
11.7 PPG, 3 RPG, and 3.1 APG
Although the stats didn’t improve nearly at all, coming off the bench with these stats is a big help for the Hornets. Being at a consistent role in Charlotte rather than a constantly switched role in LA brings his confidence up more. This is what brings out what we know as “Linsanity”. His combo-guard skills allows him to attack the basket and set his team up for threes. He plays so well alongside Kemba Walker, and he usually closes out games.
Lin’s role was envisioned by Michael Jordan himself when signing him in free agency. This envision has turned out for a great Charlotte season as they ended off 48-34 on the season, making it back to the playoffs. We can assume this is due to their depth in the bench, which is led by Jeremy Lin, and we could also assume he is a possible Sixth Man of the Year winner.
4.) Ryan Anderson Power Forward, New Orleans Pelicans
Anderson is putting up surprising numbers off the bench, though not making the playoffs due to the Pelicans’ GM inability to build around star Anthony Davis, one good move was giving Ryan Anderson 30.4 averaged minutes to play. He plays a majority off the game even though he is coming off the bench, but he plays very well alongside Anthony Davis.
He provides a much needed scoring option for the Pelicans when it comes to their bench depth. He is a player that can bring offense and spacing while opening up the court for everyone else. He has an aggressive play-style mentality, and he’s confident in his skills to help out a desperate organization.
His numbers on the year are great for a Sixth Man, being the first scoring option off the bench he put up 17 PPG, 6 RPG, and 1.1 APG. Scoring 17 off the bench per game is an amazing accomplishment, and there is no doubt that he should be considered as a possible Sixth Man of the Year.
3.) Will Barton Small Forward, Denver Nuggets
This season, Will Barton is playing the best he has played in his four seasons with the NBA. He increased his PPG by 8 points, ending his season off with 14.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, and 2.5 APG. He was able to shoot at 43% this season, with a three-point percentage of 35%.
Coming off the bench and averaging double digit points is automatically putting any Sixth Man in the running for this award, but what helps Barton stand out is his flashy dunks. Backing up Danilo Gallinari, who is undoubtedly boring, he provides the crowds with what they want, entertainment. Making the dunk contest this year, although being overshadowed by the greatness that is Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine, is an impressive accomplishment for coming off the bench. Even though he can be flashy and possible have given us one of the best dunks of the season, his stats off the bench are the true reason we even consider him a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year.
2.) Andre Iguodala Small Forward, Golden State Warriors
The 2015 Finals MVP came off the bench the entire playoffs. That he is doing in this current season with the Golden State Warriors, with the Warriors coming off a record breaking season, breaking the 72-10 record of the 95-96 Bulls by one game, setting the new record of 73-9. The Warriors team is stacked, and the veteran bench leadership of Andre Iguodala is a key factor to setting this record.
Coming off the bench at Sixth man, he averaged 7.1 PPG, 3.3 APG, and 4.0 RPG. Not the best stats for a Sixth Man, but he is clearly doing something right if he manages to lead the Warriors bench and not blow the leads of their games. With his 11 years of experience, he has become a proven player who can and will clinch a game victory for his team. He will fight until the end and do his best to ensure a victory. He averaged a playing time of around 27 minutes a game, although his scoring is not up as much, his perimeter defense is still considered one of the best in the league to some.
Being 32 years of age, he is one of the oldest players on his team, with age, comes experience. He has been in the league long enough to be seen as a threat, although no longer at the peak of his game, he will still hold a name for himself coming off the bench. He doesn’t need numbers to prove his value to a team. Andre Iguodala is a perfect fit at the Sixth Man position and being able to help Golden State finish their games in success and breaking an NBA record puts him in position to be the Sixth Man of the Year.
1.) Victor Oladipo Shooting Guard, Orlando Magic
Starting for a good chunk of his career, this season, the Magic decided putting Oladipo at the Sixth Man would benefit just a little more. He knew himself how much this would help them out, and that it did.
Although not making the playoffs, again, the Magic managed to go from 25-57 in the 2014-15 season to 35-47 in the 2015-16 season. A 10 game improvement, due to a draft pick and a lineup change. Oladipo being the primary ball handler off the bench gave him the advantage of attacking the basket and nailing mid-range jumpers.
Coming off the bench now, Oladipo has been scoring double digits almost every game. He ended off his season with 16 PPG, 3.9 APG, and 4.8 RPG playing 33 minutes per game. While not making the playoffs, the Magic are pretty much set for the future if they continue to bring Oladipo off the bench. Too much star power in the starting rotation is going to confuse their offense on how they want to take the ball. It will also cause their bench depth to lack. Starting Evan Fournier over Oladipo became a great move, and the #2 pick in the 2013 draft coming off the bench has led to him being the main candidate for Sixth Man of the Year.