The NBA’s best find themselves in the starting lineup, but sometimes, teams just need that stud off the bench that can lead the 2nd unit. These are the 6th Man of the Year rankings after 3 weeks.
Some honorable mentions for 6MOTY include perennial candidate Eric Gordon. Gordon has gotten off to a slow start to the season, only scoring 15.0 ppg on a horrid 32.1% from the field. Despite currently having a career-high in rebounds per game, he’s been shooting horrible on three pointers as well, converting on 23.6% from deep on 8 attempts per game. Hopefully he can bounce back as the Rockets attempt to come back into the playoff race.
We also have Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie as a honorable mention. Dinwiddie broke out last season serving as the starter as Nets D’Angelo Russell and Jeremy Lin were riddled with injuries. Dinwiddie has put up some impressive performances this season, and has hit some clutch shots down the stretch for the Nets. He’s been averaging 14.1 ppg and 3.9 apg on 48.3% from the field and 43.1% from deep, while being the focal point of the Nets’ bench.
Lastly we have 76ers’ sharpshooter J.J. Redick. He started out the season strong, having two back-to-back 30-point games in his 3rd and 4th game of the season. For the season, he’s been averaging 17.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg and 3.5 apg. However, he’s only been shooting at a below average rate, at 38.1% from the field and 35.3% from three. Still, Redick provides spacing for the young 76ers team, with some analysts suggesting that he should actually start over Markelle Fultz.
Let’s move onto the three candidates so far.
3 — Lou Williams
A perennial candidate for this award is Lou Williams, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year winner. Already a 2-time 6MOTY winner, Williams plays best coming off the bench, despite how he could easily start. After almost making the all-star team last season, he’s been averaging 19.3 ppg and 3.4 apg while shooting 45.5% (41% from three). The craziest part is that he’s been doing it in only 24 minutes per game, as he remains as one of the league’s elite scorers.
2 — Julius Randle
Julius Randle has been impressive throughout the season, despite suffering a foot injury that bothered him for several games. He’s been averaging 17.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg and 2.3 apg while shooting an incredible 56.9% from the field. With the frontcourt of Anthony Davis and Nikola Mirotic, Randle provides bench depth for the Pelicans as the primary scoring option. Randle has had some impressive games coming off the bench so far, and seems to fit in nicely with his new team.
1 — Derrick Rose
Was this a biased pick? Probably.
So far, the former 2011 MVP has been averaging 18.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.6 apg on 46.1% from the field and an amazing 46.2% from three. Throughout his career, his been primarily known as a slasher, so this three point percentage has been impressive thus far. Despite being considered as “washed up” by many critics, D-Rose has managed to record a new career-high in both points (50) and three pointers made (7), while starting in both games. He’s only started in 4 of his 11 games, so he is still in consideration for the award. It is unknown if he will continue to start with Jeff Teague recovering from injury, but has been playing like a sleeper all-star candidate so far.
Enes Kanter of the New York Knicks has recently found himself coming off the bench. The Turkish big man has been averaging 15.4 ppg, 11.7 rpg and 2.3 apg on 55.1% from the field. He is currently coming off the bench for rookie Mitchell Robinson, but his superior numbers and greater amount of playing time might eventually push him back into the starting lineup.