Last week, we discussed hypothetical 2019/20 ballots for the MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Most Improved Player awards. We’re finishing up our look at the NBA’s major awards this week, starting with Sixth Man of the Year.
Any discussion for this award generally has to start with Clippers guard Lou Williams, who has been named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year twice in a row and three times in the last five years. In 2019/20, the 33-year-old was once again one of the league’s leading scorers off the bench, with 18.7 PPG and a career-high 5.7 APG.
However, with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the picture, Williams wasn’t leaned on quite as heavily this season, and his .416 FG% was his lowest mark since 2015/16. Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald still had Williams atop his hypothetical Sixth Man of the Year ballot, but neither Dan Devine of The Ringer nor Zach Harper of The Athletic even had him in the top three.
Devine’s Sixth Man pick was one of Williams’ teammates: Montrezl Harrell. As Devine points out, a handful of advanced stats favor Harrell, who led all reserves in value over replacement player and total win shares in 2019/20. The big man’s traditional stats, including 18.6 PPG and 7.1 RPG, were pretty impressive too, earning him a runner-up spot on Harper’s and Murphy’s ballots.
Harper, however, went in another direction with his choice, opting for Thunder guard Dennis Schroder. Chris Paul‘s return to All-Star status and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander‘s breakout sophomore season may have earned more headlines, but Schroder played a major role this year in Oklahoma City’s unexpected success. His 19.0 PPG ranked first among reserves, and he has scored those points efficiently (.468/.381/.839) while chipping in 4.1 APG and 3.7 RPG as well.
Heat guard Goran Dragic, who accepted a backup role and enjoyed a nice bounceback season, with 16.1 PPG and 5.1 APG, earned the third spot on Harper’s and Murphy’s ballots. Bucks guards George Hill and Donte DiVincenzo, who provided key depth for the NBA’s best team, tied for third place on Devine’s list. Pistons point guard Derrick Rose (18.1 PPG, 5.6 APG) earned an honorable mention from Harper.
Wizards sharpshooter Davis Bertans, Jazz sparkplug Jordan Clarkson, Kings wing Bogdan Bogdanovic, and big men like Dwight Howard (Lakers) and Christian Wood (Pistons) are some of the other players who deserve consideration, though Bogdanovic and Wood were among those who had become starters by the time the season was suspended.
What do you think? Who is your pick for Sixth Man of the Year in 2019/20 (assuming the regular season is over or close to it)? How would you fill out your top three if you had a ballot?
Head below to the comment section to share your thoughts!