Apr 4, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) tries to take a shot past Toronto Raptors guards Lou Williams (23) and DeMar DeRozan (10) during the second half at Air Canada Centre.The Celtics won 117-116 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
NBA Awards: 2015 Sixth Man Of the Year
What is the Sixth Man?
The definition for the award is the best performing player for his team coming off the bench as a substitute.
While most people assume this would translate into the best scorer it can encompass other factors.
- Instant Offense
- Defensive Presence
- Specific intangibles like change of pace, rebounding specialists
- Combination of all these qualities
In fact some teams have more than one candidate:
The Bulls have Taj Gibson who as mentioned is a defensive specialist as well as sharp shooting rookie Nikola Mirotic who’ll likely not got any recognition as he already received notice in the rookie of the year candidacy and writers don’t generally look at a player for more than one award (especially rookies).
Golden State Warriors will obviously have players in consideration given their top defensive rank, second ranked offense and overall best record which speaks to the depth and consistency of the squad. The three players likely to receive some notices are: Andre Iguodala, Marreese Speights, David Lee
If there was ever a team who annually utilizes their bench to it’s best attributes it’s the Spurs. The difference with this team is the entire reserve unit is utilized in an effort to not over utilize the starters. And, unlike other teams who shorten their bench in the post season head coach Gregg Popovich isn’t adverse to using any of his bench in any given situation. The Spurs more than any team in the Association use the next man up mentality even when the starters aren’t injured. The two players likely to receive consideration on San Antonio are Manu Ginobili, Patty Mills though Mills hasn’t played as well this season, given his injuries.
Ginobili specifically generally gets yearly consideration due to the Spurs factor. He could be a starter on any team and yet the spark he provides off the San Antonio bench is as much of their identity as the team concept they are known for . He changes the tempo of the game and while he provides scoring production his passing and intangibles are why he is considered one of the best sixth men in the Association on a yearly basis.
Next: The best team bench?