5 Potential 6th Man Award Winners
We all know about LeBron James, Steph Curry, and every other superstar around the NBA, but these guys will tell you themselves that every good team has great pieces off the bench. With so much attention on the MVP race or the pre-season standings, lets not forget about an award race that sometimes goes unnoticed. These five players won’t start many games, maybe none at all, but they will still have a huge impact on their team this season.
What has Jamal Crawford done to be on this list of potential sixth man winners? Well, just win the award three times, including winning it last year. As the first player off that Clippers’ bench he averaged 14.2 points and shot 35 percent from behind the three-point line. He is getting up there in age at 36 years old, but as long as number 11 is on an NBA roster, he will always be in the running for this award. The Clippers haven’t brought in any players that will cause a drop in Crawford’s minutes, so expect that sixth man role for Crawford to be as strong as ever this season.
It’s weird to think that Al Jefferson could be in the running for Sixth Man of the Year, but with his recent move to the Indiana Pacers, this could be realistic. Myles Turner, the young center, had a great year for the Pacers last season and should be the starter opening day. This means that Jefferson will be his backup and will be coming off the bench. Jefferson averaged 12 points and 6.4 rebounds per game last year and his move to the bench will actually make those numbers rise. Even though his minutes won’t be going up, his body will be managed much better and that will surely make his production go up.
Brandon Jennings is a threat on the offensive side of the ball and with the move to the New York Knicks, we should see a revival in scoring from him. He averages 15.5 points per game in his career and his early years for the Milwaukee Bucks were spectacular when it came to scoring the ball. He is coming off back to back disappointing seasons of only averaging 6.8 and 7 points per game for the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic. But, the Knicks brought in Derrick Rose, who will surely start at point, and then brought in Jennings to back him up off the bench. Rose is a scoring point guard and to have another option like Jennings off the bench is dynamic for the Knicks, and Jennings will surely benefit from this as well.
Doug McDermott jumped from 3 points per game to 9.4 in his first two seasons and that was because he also had a boost in minutes per game. His rookie year he could only get 8.9 minutes per game, but last season he averaged a nice 23 minutes per game. With the departure of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, and also the additions of Dwyane and Rajon Rondo, McDermott should average just about the same minutes per game. He has a great ability to score the ball, especially from the three-point line (43% last season), and we should expect to see his points per game average jump yet again to about 14 or 15 this season.
Sullinger marks the third player on the list that is going to be playing for a new team this season as he moves from the Boston Celtics to the Toronto Raptors. He has a career average of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds and he will be a nice piece to have coming off that bench in Toronto. He will be backing up Jonas Valanciunas, who has established himself as a super-star center in this league, so Sullinger will have plenty to learn from when it comes to stepping up his game.