2014-15 Sixth Man of the Year Rankings (Jan. 18)
It seems like the season is flying by as we are halfway through the season in terms of number of games. Since we’re halfway through this crazy season, it’s time to see where the Sixth Man of the Year candidates rank. Most of the players on the rankings in the last update are still sticking around, but there’s a new(well, new this season) face creeping up in the rankings.
To start things off, here is the averages per 36 minutes for all of the candidates on the list:
1. Isaiah Thomas (Previous Ranking: 1)
Isaiah Thomas continues to play within his role at a high level, so it’s only right that he continues to lead the pack for the Sixth Man of the Year award. Thomas has been able to do everything that is asked of him. His offensive rating is at a 114 which is the same as it was last season when he had career high averages in points and assists. He may not be boasting a 20.5 PER like he did last season, but he still is contributing 2.6 win shares to the team. When Phoenix needs a spark, Thomas delivers. The only aspect of his game that could force him out of the top spot on this leaderboard is his defense. He has just a 110 defensive rating, which could very well be a factor of his height compared to the point guards he has to go up against.
2. Louis Williams (3)
Lou Williams has been on a steady climb up the Sixth Man leaderboard. It seems as though Williams was built for this role. He has been a big reason the Raptors offense hasn’t completely sputtered out without DeRozan on the floor. Williams is boasting an even better offensive rating than Thomas with a 115, but his defense hasn’t really been anything to write home about. Also, his shooting percentages have dropped a bit since the last time I rolled out the Sixth Man rankings update in November. Now that DeMar DeRozan is back with the team, Williams will go back to his normal workload and his percentages may increase too. The one reason that he may not bypass Isaiah Thomas for the top spot is that he doesn’t offer much more than scoring. When Lou Williams checks into the game you know scoring is a given, but he doesn’t bring much else in terms of assists, defense, or anything else.
3. Gerald Green (4)
Another segment of one of the most exciting bench squads in the league checks in at number three after moving up a spot from the last update. Gerald Green has embraced his role and he does a great job providing a spark off the bench along with Isaiah Thomas. The huge dunks and explosive hustle plays really help Green’s case in the Sixth Man debate. As I mentioned earlier about bringing a spark off the bench, he is one who can do that better than most with those explosive throw downs he brings to the table every night. Green gets the crowd out of their seat with hi acrobatics, and that’s something that stats can’t measure. His best year as far as averages go was last season, but this year, with a smaller workload, he’s been putting up better averages per 36 minutes. His offensive rating has dropped to 105 from 112, but his defensive rating is better than his counterparts ahead of him on this list. If Gerald Green can get back to the level he played at last season, he would walk away with this award.
4. Jamal Crawford (2)
The reigning Sixth Man of the Year drops a few spots after the Clippers went on a bit of a tough run. Crawford has been throwing up some bad percentages recently, but still has had a couple good games too. This is another guy who seems to be built for the Sixth Man role, but it’s going to be very difficult to repeat the kind of season he had last year. He already has dropped in his shooting percentages and he’s 3 points under his points per game average from last year as well. Crawford is still an integral part of this team however. The last couple games he’s been able to string together a decent point guard performance in terms of the amount of assists he collected. When looking for a Sixth Man who can distribute the ball as well as score, Crawford would be the next guy after Isaiah Thomas to come up in conversation.
5. Manu Ginobili (Not Ranked)
The NBA Champion and once Sixth Man of the Year, Manu Ginobili, makes his debut on the leaderboards. In earlier years, it would have been a huge surprise that Ginobili is now making his debut on this list. This season started a little slower for the Argentinian, but he’s back to being the Sixth Man playmaker that everyone knows him to be. He’s actually averaging the same amounts he has in the past few seasons even though he’s up to 37-years old now. Not only is still providing a good amount of scoring for the Spurs’ bench, but he also has the best defensive rating out of all of the candidates on this list. Ginobili is just another testament to the Spurs system that proves age is just a number. Plus, if he Ginobili can just keep proving he belongs in the NBA, then this Spurs team can continue to make deep playoff runs.
Taj Gibson (5)
Did I miss anyone? Who do you think should be #1?
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