The NBA is entering the backstretch of the 2017-18 season. So, it is time to take a list of the top candidates for NBA Sixth Man of the Year.
The inaugural Sixth Man of the Year award was given to Bobby Jones for the 1982-83 season. Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jamal Crawford is the only player to earn the award three times (2009-10, 2013-14, and 2015-16).
There are 16 players who have distinguished themselves from the rest as the top 2017-18 reserves. Memphis guard Tyreke Evans would be on the list, but he has only came off the bench in 20 of 49 games. He has also sat out 11 contests. Nevertheless, the Grizzlies’ leading scorer is second only to Lou Williams in scoring off the bench in a reserve role.
The 28-year-old is averaging 18.0 points, 4.9 caroms and 3.9 assists while shooting 50.0% from the field and 42.4% from beyond the arc as a reserve.
All stats are the players when they come off the bench, therefore their season stats will be slightly different, and they are current as of Feb. 28.
Others: 16. John Collins, 15. Jeremy Lamb, 14. Caris LeVert, 13. JJ Barea, 12. Kelly Oubre, 11. Domantas Sabonis
Top 10 Best Candidates For 2017-18 NBA Sixth Man Of The Year Award
10. Buddy Hield
12.9 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.6 APG, 45.5% FG, 44.5% 3PT
Hield had his best month of the season in February as he scored in double-figures in 10 of 12 games, which includes two games of 20 or more points. He finished the month with 14.0 points along with 4.2 rebounds while shooting 42.9% from the field and 41.2% from beyond the arc.
Hield has come off the bench in 47 of 59 contests. He ranks 11th among all reserves in scoring.
9. Will Barton
13.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.7 APG, 42.0% FG, 33.8% 3PT
Barton had an outstanding February, compiling 18.7 points along with 5.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists. He also shot an incredible 53.8% from the field while knocking down a season-high 2.6 triples at a 43.6% clip. Barton scored in double-figures in nine of the month’s 10 games.
Barton, who has came off the bench on 34 occasions, is ninth among all reserves in scoring. He is also 10th in assists.
8. Julius Randle
12.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.8 APG, 55.2% FG, 25.9% 3PT
Randle has improved each month and has thrived as a starter recently. The 23-year-old has produced three straight double-doubles and is averaging 17.0 points along with 9.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists since Jan. 1. He shot 56.5% from the field.
Randle, who has come off the bench on 33 occasions, ranks 15th in scoring among all reserves. He is also 11th in field goal makes and 10th in rebounds.
7. Kyle Kuzma
13.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.9 APG, 45.2% FG, 33.0% 3PT
After a fantastic first two-months-and-a-half, Kuzma has struggled in 2018. The 6-9 forward is averaging 12.1 points and 4.7 rebounds whiles shooting just 40.0% from the field and 31.9% from long-distance since Jan. 1. He has racked up just two of his 11 double-doubles during this time period.
Part of the 2017 first round selection is likely due to the fact that he has returned to the bench, Kuzma, who has came off the bench in 38 of 59 appearances, has scored in double-figures in eight of nine games. Overall, the 22-year-old has reached double-figures on 46 occasions which include 16 games of 20 or more points.
Kuzma ranks 13th in scoring among all bench players. He is also fifth in field goal makes.
6. Bobby Portis
12.9 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.6 APG, 47.6% FG, 34.9% 3PT
Portis has shown significant improvement in year number three. The 23-year-old, who had his best month of the season in February, has been fairly consistent throughout the season. He reached double-figures in all 10 games last month, which included a career-high 38 point performance against Philadelphia (Feb.22).
Portis has come off the bench in 51 of 52 games. He leads all reserves with eight double-doubles. In addition, the 6-11 power forward is tied for ninth in scoring as well as eighth in field goal makes and eighth in rebounding.
5. Rodney Hood
15.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.6 APG, 42.7% FG, 40.1% 3PT
Hood has come off the bench in 33 of 45 contests, including in each six of his games with the Cavaliers. Since being traded to Cleveland, Hood has produced 11.2 points on 46.2% shooting from the field and 42.3% from beyond the arc. He has scored in double-figures on four occasions and has a plus-3.6 plus/minus rating.
The 25-year-old ranks fourth in scoring among all reserves. He is also fourth in field goal makes (5.6), fourth in field goal attempts (13.1) and tied for fourth in three-pointers with 2.6.
4. Jordan Clarkson
14.3 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 3.1 APG, 46.0% FG, 32.9% 3PT
The Cavs acquired Clarkson for his scoring prowess. And he has not disappointed. Clarkson is averaging 14.2 points, which is seventh among all reserves who have appeared in at least three games since Feb. 11 while shooting 52.3% from the floor and 40.2% from long-distance. He also has grabbed 2.8 rebounds, 2.0 dimes and a plus-4.2 plus/minus rating.
The 25-year-old has tallied double-figures in five of six games with nine points being his lowest output. He has drained 11 treys, which includes four games with multiple three-pointers.
Clarkson ranks 12th in scoring among all reserves. Additionally, he is tied for fourth in field goals made.
3. Nikola Mirotic
15.4 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.6 APG, 44.4% FG, 39.0% 3PT
Mirotic is having a career season despite missing all most the first two months of the season. The 6-10 power forward has seen his numbers take a little dip due to shooting struggles since arriving in New Orleans. Still, he has contributed 14.0 points and 8.1 rebounds over 10 games, including three starts. He also has blocked 1.4 blocks and 1.3 steals.
Mirotic has three double-doubles and has reached double-figures in nine of the 10 games with two games of 20 or more points.
The 27-year-old has come off the bench in 29 of 35 games. He ranks sixth in scoring, 10th in field goal makes, second in three-pointers (2.6), sixth in rebounds and second with sixth double-doubles.
2. Eric Gordon
16.3 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 1.3 APG, 43.3% FG, 32.1% 3PT
Gordon has come off the bench in just 28 of his 52 appearances though he has been serving in a reserve role lately. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year is a fantastic scorer who is lethal from beyond the arc though he is shooting a career-low 33.5% from long-distance this year.
Gordon, the Rockets’ third-leading scorer, has tallied 20-plus points on 24 occasions. He also has tallied 30 or more points four times.
Among all reserves, Gordon ranks second in scoring and tied for fourth with 2.6 triples. He also leads all bench players with a plus-10.0 plus/minus rating.
1. Lou Williams
22.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 5.2 APG, 44.6% FG, 35.9% 3PT
Williams is currently the runaway favorite to be named the Sixth Man of the Year for the second time of his career. The 2015 NBA Sixth Man of the Year provides instant offense off the bench, producing 20 or more points on 38 occasions including seven of 10 games in February. He has finished up February by averaging 21.2 points a game, marking the fourth straight month that he has topped the 20-point plateau.
Despite coming off the bench in 45 of his 59 appearances, Williams has benefited from playing starter’s minutes. He leads all reserves in scoring, field goal made, field goal attempts, free throw made and free throw attempts. The 31-year-old is also third in assists per game and tied for ninth with four double-doubles.