Now that the Awards finalists for the 2016-’17 NBA season have officially been released, lets take a look at some guys who may be taking home hardware this summer. First up, the Sixth Man candidates! While this award isn’t the most glamorous, it is an important honor nonetheless that highlights the guys who provide a positive impact off the bench. Which of these three valuable bench-ballers do you think is going to be taking home the award this year? Check out my prediction down below.
Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets: A few years ago, Eric Gordon was being heralded as one of the next best shooting guards to grace the league. Unfortunately, Gordon was hit with numerous injuries over the past few seasons, derailing dreams of him becoming a perennial All-Star and possibly more. Here we are in 2017, and the narrative on Gordon has changed a bit: Eric Gordon, an excellent shooter backing up one of the best shooting guards in the league. After an ugly stint with New Orleans that saw the shooter decline with each season, Gordon made his way to Clutch City this past offseason, looking to improve a solid Rockets squad. At this point, it is safe to say Gordon succeeded in his goal. In his first year in Houston, Gordon put up some nice numbers, averaging 16 points, two assists, and nearly three rebounds as a reserve. Gordon was also cash from the three-point line, shooting 37% from deep and making 206 threes off the bench (the most threes off the bench since the three point era began in 1979-’80). Eric Gordon was crucial to the success of the Rockets, as his shooting and ability to
run an offense off the bench helped Houston maintain their high-octane offense while Harden rested. Whether Gordon wins the award or not, he has found a solid role for himself in Houston and will be a valued member of the team for years to come so long as he continues playing as he did in 2016-’17.
Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors: Another season and another year Andre Iguodala is being considered for the Sixth Man of the Year award. Will the 33 year old wing finally take it home this year? In my opinion, there is a good chance Iggy finally brings home some hardware this summer. Looking at Iguodala’s stat line from 2016-’17, nothing pops out as amazing; he averaged slightly over seven points a night, grabbed three four rebounds, and dished out about three assists per contest. Yet when you take a deeper look into the 2015 Finals MVP’s numbers, you can see where he has a case; Iguodala shot his best percentage from the free-throw line in seven seasons (70%), shot a career best from the field at 52%, and posted his best player efficiency rating in a Warriors uniform to date with 14.37. Iggy is also a member of the team with the best record in the NBA, something I believe will help his chances come June.
Lou Williams, Houston Rockets: Two years removed from his stint in Toronto, it would seem Drake’s favorite former Sixth Man has done it again. For two different teams, first Los Angeles and then Houston, Lou Will came off the bench and was quite simply a bucket. In 2016-’17 Williams averaged a combined career best 17.5 points, good enough to lead the league as a reserve scorer. Williams also shot 36% from three (38% in 58 games as a Laker), contributed two rebounds, three assists, and was among the top 15 players in the NBA when it comes to free-throw percentage. In his 11 years
as a pro, Lou Williams has showcased a consistent ability to score off the bench, something that I believe will keep him in the Sixth Man conversation for many years to come.
Prediction: While all there of these finalists are excellent candidates for the award, I personally believe Lou Williams will be crowned Sixth Man of the Year in June. I look forward to another Drake song based on Lou Will’s accomplishments in the near future.
All Stats via ESPN.com/Basketball-Reference.com
All Images via Google.com