Sixth Man Predictions
This season, there are many options for the Sixth Man predictions of the year award early on. Montrezl Harrell still leads the conversation as the most valuable bench player, after he won the award last season. But, depending on who will actually come off the bench for their team is the most interesting point. Check out who could bring home the award from early on in the year.
Montrezl Harrell, the 26-year old 6’7″ big man, signed with the Los Angeles Lakers this past offseason. Last year, Harrell played a big role in the Clippers team, which won him the Sixth Man of the Year Award. He posted a career-high average of 18.6 points per game, along with 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. Now, through eight games he has averaged 12.4 points per game/7.5 rebounds per game/1.4 assists per game on 60.6% shooting. He has had one of the best effective field goal percentages in the league, ranking 30th last year. Plus, he added the 25th most blocks in the league as an above-average defender too. If his role is as important to the Lakers as it was on the Clippers, he could be the repeat as the sixth man of the year.
Danilo Gallinari is one of the more interesting picks for the sixth man of the year award. Gallinari has had a far bigger role as a starter throughout most of his NBA career. However, now he is on a deep rostered Atlanta Hawks team, where it looks like he may play a bigger role off the bench. Danilo is a career 16.7 points per game/4.9 rebounds per game/2 assists per game player and nearly a 40% career three-point shooter. Sadly, Gallinari played two games and suffered an ankle sprain that is bound to sideline him for a couple of weeks. If Danilo can bring his career numbers to the Hawks’ bench, and help bring them to the playoffs, he might have his hands on the award.
Caris LeVert played a major role for the Brooklyn Nets last season, especially when Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were injured. LeVert handled the workload in the playoffs against the Raptors in the first round, where they ultimately lost the series. In that series, he averaged 20.3/6/9.5 while shooting 42.3% from distance. Now, with the Nets back at full strength, he is playing a bigger bench role. While he has not started off the season particularly well, (14.5/3.9/5.5 on 28.9% from three and 39.2% field goal) if LeVert can revert to his ways last year he will have a good shot at contending for the award.
Gordan Dragic, similar to Danilo Gallinari, has been a starter for most of his career. Last season, he took a bigger bench role and averaged 16.2/3.2/5.1 for the Miami Heat. More impressively, he led the Heat to become Eastern Conference Champions by averaging 19.1/4.1/4.4 in the playoffs. This season, he is averaging 13.8/2.7/5.5 for the Heat. The only issue is whether or not he or Tyler Herro will be the player to come off the bench more often. So far, Goran has not started in a single game, and Herro has started all six games for Miami.
Jordan Clarkson is one of the more intriguing options for the award this season too. Clarkson received a lot of credit from the Utah Jazz playoff run in the bubble. Clarkson averaged 16.7/3.4/2.1 for the Jazz off of 46.4% shooting from the field. His ability to be a strong on-ball defender off the bench helps boost his opportunity for the award too. Right now, Clarkson is averaging 15/4.1/1.4 off of 48.2% shooting from the field, and 1.1 steals per game.
At the moment, Montrezl Harrell is the safest bet for the sixth-man of the year award, considering his role for the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers is mighty in their quest to repeat.
Lou Williams was not mentioned, but could certainly make a run at the award without Montrezl Harrell to compete with on his team. Moreover, if Williams were to win the award again, he would set the NBA record for most sixth man of the year awards with four in his career.
All of the contenders have big roles on their teams, but Danilo Gallinari presents an interesting difference. The Atlanta Hawks could make a playoff run after going 20-47 last season and representing one of eight teams that did not make the bubble. If the Hawks make a playoff run this season with Gallinari as a big role player, he could take home the award.