Eric Gordon - SG
The reigning winner of sixth man of the year is Eric Gordon, who experienced a resurgent season with the Houston Rockets high-octane offense. He was part of a record-breaking lineup that hit 1,181 threes and chucked 3,306 attempts. Gordon was the most consistent shooter on the Rockets, averaging 3.3 three-pointers per game on 8.8 attempts, good for a .372 3P%.
Eric was second to Harden in Rockets scoring, earning 16.2 PPG along with 2.7 RPG and 2.5 APG. Houston relied on outscoring instead of guarding, which made Gordon’s average defense a moot point.
Fellow sixth man of the year Lou Williams will probably soak up some of the extra looks Gordon receives from Chris Paul and James Harden. Eric earned the award by a slim margin over Iguodala, and the prospect of reduced numbers could raise the difficulty of repeating as top sixth man.
Jamal Crawford – SG
Nobody has won more sixth man of the year awards than Jamal Crawford, who’s collected the honor three times in his career. J. Crossover has been one of the best instant offense bench players for nearly a decade, injecting the Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers with an average of 15.4 PPG over the past eight seasons.
Crawford will have a great chance to win his fourth award with the Minnesota Timberwolves, serving as a backup guard for the vastly improved club. He’ll join Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague as key additions to a suddenly deep Timberwolves squad.
Crawford was often called upon to do too much for the Clippers, eating into Jamal’s efficiency. He’ll be able to focus strictly on scoring again with the Timberwolves, improving his odds for his fourth sixth man win.
Lou Williams – SG
Sweet-shooting Lou Williams is a professional scorer in the NBA, with a singular focus on producing points. He happens to be one of the best in the association at drawing fouls and making crazy shots from beyond the arc. Coaches expect Lou to provide instant offense whenever he enters the game, even if doesn’t always match up well against the opposition on the defensive side of the court.
Williams won the award for the 2014-15 season, scoring 15.5 PPG with a .861 FT%, while drawing nearly five foul shots per game. He helped the Toronto Raptors earn a second straight Atlantic Division title in the process. Last year, he finished third in voting after he was traded to the Rockets, averaging 17.5 PPG.
Lou will be lined up with Chris Paul and James Harden this season, two of the best facilitators in the NBA. A full season with the Houston Rockets could lift Lou’s production even further, making him one of the top candidates for best sixth man in 2017-18.
Derek Rose – PG
Doubt should no longer remain that the best days of Derek Rose were stolen by severe injuries. This doesn’t mean that he can’t contribute at an elite level of the NBA. Now that he’s with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Rose will cede primary ball-handling duties to LeBron James, Isaiah Thomas and Dwayne Wade. As a secondary facilitator, Rose will excel at slashing into the lane, dishing to Cavs shooters and hitting the occasional jumper.
An injury to Isaiah Thomas will allow Rose more minutes to adjust to his new role and teammates. When Mighty IT returns, Rose could turn into one of the best sixth men in the NBA. Over the past three years, Rose averaged 17.3 PPG and 4.7 APG in 31.5 minutes per game. If he’s limited to 25 minutes as an eventual backup, he could still produce 14-15 PPG while maintaining similar numbers for assists.
If Rose thrives in his new role, Cleveland will have a better chance at beating the Warriors, while putting his name in the hat for the sixth man of the year award.
Andre Iguodala – SF
Golden State Warriors
Igoudala may not have the fancy numbers of a Lou Williams-style six man, but he’s known as the key which unlocks the Warriors best five-man configuration. When Andre enters games along with Curry, Thomson, Durant and Green, the Death Lineup activates, decimating any and all competition in their wake.
During the 2017 NBA Finals, the Death Lineup had an outrageous offensive rating of 141.7 and a defensive rating of 69.4, resulting in an absurd 72.4 net rating. This is one small statistical sample among many that reveals why Andre Iguodala has been considered a top sixth man over the past few years.
Looking at Andre’s numbers, you’d never guess that he has a tremendous impact entering the game off the bench. Over the past three years, he’s averaged 7.5 PPG, 3.2 APG and 3.8 RPG while shooting .354 from the three-point line. The lack of flash might make it difficult for him to win the award, even if he’s among the favorites.
Category : NBA News
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