Staff Writer: Ryan Ward
In seasons past Sixth Man of the Year award has been dominated by the likes of the San Antonio Spurs Manu Ginobili, Leandro Barbosa of the Phoenix Suns and the Dallas Mavericks Jason Terry. All of these players are easily starters on most teams around the league, but on their current teams they play their best off the bench and help lead the squad to playoff contention every single season.
This season it looks like times are changing as we might see a new Sixth Man of the Year award recipient:
Anderson Varejao, Cleveland Cavaliers
As quite possibly the most underrated player on the Cleveland Cavaliers, perhaps the entire league, but Anderson Varejao continues to play his heart out every single night and this season should get some serious consideration for Sixth Man of the Year award.
In the off-season the Cleveland Cavaliers signed Anderson Varejao to contract extension of about $50 million. Many people thought he was overpaid, way overpaid, but the Cavs and all the players in Cleveland know that he is worth every penny is no player plays harder.
Varejao’s numbers this season: 8.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg and 28.8 mpg
Jason Terry, Dallas Mavericks
As always, Jason Terry has played brilliantly in the sixth man role in Dallas and has helped lead the Dallas Mavericks to possible title contender status in the Western Conference once again.
As the reigning sixth Man of the year, obviously Kerry as good chance of winning the award for the second straight year, but he has some stiff competition this season going up against players like Jamal Crawford.
Terry’s numbers this season: 16.8 ppg, 33.5 mpg and 36% from deep
J.R. Smith, Denver Nuggets
Perhaps the most promising player on this list of sixth men is the offenses sparkplug of the Denver Nuggets in J.R. Smith. Throughout his time with the Denver Nuggets, Smith has been an absolute firecracker off the bench as he is instant offense with his ability to light up defenses with his highflying ability and three point shooting stroke.
Sometimes Smith to be more of a problem than a contributor to the Nuggets as he can get out of control at times, but when the kid is on his game is as good as it gets off the bench and could quite possibly be a superstar in the near future.
Smith’s numbers this season: 15.3 ppg, 27.8 mpg and 33% from deep
Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Lakers
Even though J.R. Smith is arguably the most promising player on this list with a bright future, Lamar Odom is probably the best all around player on this list of sixth men as he has all the tools of an All-Star caliber player and would start on any other team if it weren’t the Los Angeles Lakers.
It is not the fact that one can’t start on the Lakers, but more of a choice to have a great player come off the bench.
As of right now Los Angeles Lakers have Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol as the starters where Odom would start, but Odom has slipped into his role as of sixth men and has made the best of it.
Odom’s numbers this season: 10.5 ppg, 9.6 rpg and 31 mpg
Jamal Crawford, Atlanta Hawks
Coming into this season the Atlanta Hawks were considered than a playoff team in the Eastern conference, but no one considered them a title contender in the league as they were a good team but not a great team.
This season that is all changed and a key part to the Hawks change has been the addition of journeyman Jamal Crawford.
The one thing that the Hawks been missing for the past couple seasons has been a closer, someone who could just close out games when those games on the line and Jamaal Crawford is that guy!
Unless something drastic happens in the last couple weeks of the NBA’s regular-season, I can’t see any other player beating out Jamal Crawford for the Sixth Man of the Year award.
Crawford’s numbers this season: 17.7 ppg, 30.9 mpg and 37% from deep