NBA teams often have fixed rotations for players to come in and contribute at their maximum. This includes the bench, where one player often shines the most as a 6th Man.
This season in particular has seen the impact of some key 6th men across the league, who can score the ball and help their teams get their offense started when the stars are on the bench. Here are the top 10 candidates for the 6th Man of the Year Award in 2021.
10. Kyle Kuzma
2020-20201 Statistics: 11.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.7 BPG
Much is made about Kuzma not playing up to his potential, but maybe this is what he is best at. Kuzma likes to come off the bench and get shots up with no hesitation, meaning he can be an impact player at times for the Lakers.
Kuzma probably won’t be winning the award this season but he deserves a mention. Kuzma has no fear, plays hard, and tries his best for the defending NBA champions.
9. Derrick Rose
2020-20201 Statistics: 13.5 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 4.5 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Derrick Rose used to be a franchise player but he is best suited to being the 6th man. He can still penetrate the paint for buckets and has a soft floater that often falls when he’s not well defended.
Rose was recently traded to the Knicks and New York have managed to organize their rotation a bit more, meaning he will have opportunities to showcase his offensive skills.
8. Joe Ingles
2020-20201 Statistics: 11.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 4.6 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Joe Ingles is an effective 2-way player for the Jazz because he plays hard on defense and also knocks down the three at a high percentage (46.0% this season). Ingles doesn’t look like much but his impact has been superb for Utah.
It is without a doubt necessary to admit that Ingles makes the Jazz a much more formidable team. Ingles can be a spot-up shooter, playmaker, and defender when he needs to be which is critical for Utah.
7. Lou Williams
2020-20201 Statistics: 12.4 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 3.7 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.1 BPG
In terms of immediate scoring off the bench, look no further than Lou Williams. A 6th Man extraordinaire, Williams has carved out a nice career for himself as a guard who scores in bunches.
Williams hasn’t been at his best the last 2 years but he is still an effective scorer. Any opponent seeing Williams walk off the bench to get checked into a game is always a massive headache for them, and he deserves a spot on this list.
6. Tyrese Haliburton
2020-20201 Statistics: 13.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Tyrese Haliburton has been a bright spot for the Sacramento Kings this season. The 6’5″ guard has been arguably the most impressive player for the Kings this season, and his potential is through the roof. Haliburton is already climbing the Rookie of the Year rankings, but he is also on the 6th Man rankings.
Haliburton is averaging 13.2 PPG and 5.4 APG this season for the Kings, and he is only getting started. The fact that he is playing 30 MPG will help his progress as he continues to become an impact player.
5. Chris Boucher
2020-20201 Statistics: 13.0 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.6 SPG, 2.0 BPG
The Raptor’s power forward has improved leaps and bounds on both ends of the court. Boucher is averaging a career-high13.0 PPG and 6.5 RPG for the Raptors who have found their big man rotation this season after losing Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka.
Boucher plays hard, is offensively inclined, and can attack the boards. The Raptors haven’t had a ton go well for them this season so the 28-year old big man has been a bright spot.
4. Montrezl Harrell
2020-20201 Statistics: 13.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG
Last year’s 6th Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell gets his place on this list by doing what he did best last season. Harrell is a great scorer, a hustle rebounder, and energizes his team with big plays on both ends of the court.
Harrell has been an impact player for the Lakers this season by backing up Anthony Davis, and he will be one of the main reasons Los Angeles are the favorite for the NBA Finals in the West.
3. Eric Gordon
2020-20201 Statistics: 17.8 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 2.7 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Eric Gordon is so difficult to defend. He has broad shoulders, deep range, and is crafty at beating his opponent off the dribble. In terms of a bench player who can average 20 PPG, Gordon is the perfect player.
The Houston Rockets have struggled this season by trading James Harden and also dealing with a host of injuries, but Gordon has been one of the fewest bright spots this season.
2. Terrence Ross
2020-20201 Statistics: 15.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Ross has been a consistent shooting guard in the NBA for a while now. Ross shoots the three well, can create his own shot at times and is perfect as a 6th man. He is athletic and can get his points in bunches with his 15.1 PPG average, which has helped the Magic out a lot this season.
Ross has been a very good threat as an offensive player but he has to be placed second. Only one man has the edge over Terrence Ross this season and it is by quite a margin.
1. Jordan Clarkson
2020-20201 Statistics: 18.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.2 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Clarkson has been the best bench player in the NBA for the best team in the NBA. Clarkson is a go-to scorer off the bench and has been the most consistent 6th Man candidate since the start of the season. As good as Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert have been, Clarkson’s scoring (18.1 PPG) has been arguably the third most important for the Jazz.
Clarkson is well ahead of the pack for the 6th Man of the Year race and it hasn’t been too close. The Jazz franchise should have some award winners this season and Clarkson should earn his.