The NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award is given to the league’s best bench player during a particular season. The winner is voted by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters from throughout the United States and Canada.
Since its inception during the 1982-83 season, a total of 30 players have won the award. Jamal Crawford and current winner Lou Williams have won the award three times each, the most by any player. Former NBA stars Kevin McHale, Ricky Pierce, and Detlef Schrempf are two-time winners of this award. Bill Walton and James Harden are the only players in the history of the NBA to win both the NBA MVP and Sixth Man of the Year award.
This year, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Dennis Schroder is the betting favorite to win the award. Schroder is looking to become the first player from OKC to win the award since Harden in 2012. He is also looking to become the first international winners since Manu Ginobili in 2008, and the second player from Germany after Detlef Schrempf to be named as the NBA’s best reserve player.
The L.A. Clippers’s super subs Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams are 2nd and 3rd in the odds board while the Detroit Pistons’ Derrick Rose is fourth. Here are the rest of the odds to win the NBA’s 2020 Sixth Man of the Year:
Dennis Schroder led all bench players in scoring during the 2019-20 NBA season. The 26-year old former 17th overall pick of the Atlanta Hawks in 2013 was the 2013 Most Improved Player in the German BBL before he came to the NBA. Schroder was Atlanta’s starting point guard and one of its top players when they traded him to the Thunder in 2018 via a three-team trade. He has his lowest scoring average in three seasons while playing behind Russell Westbrook last season but after Russ was traded, Schroder has shone playing behind Chris Paul and he averaged 19.0 points and 4.1 assists per game during the 2019-20 regular season. Schroder played in a total of 63 games this season and came off the bench in all but one of those games.
Montrezl Harrell was the 32nd overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets who traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2017 as part of the package for Chris Paul. Since then, Harrell has improved every year with the Clippers and he has been one of their best players on the bench. L.A. has the best Sixth Man ever in Lou Williams but not only did Harrell gave Williams a tough challenge for the 2019 Sixth Man of the Year Award, but he also emerged as one of the key members of the Clippers. Harrell averaged career-highs in scoring and rebounding this season at 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. He started in just two of 63 games played but was part of the five that finished most of those games.
Lou Williams is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year winner. He and Jamal Crawford are the only players to win the award three times with Williams winning the award in 2015, 2018, and 2019. One of the league’s premier shooters, Williams became the NBA’s all-time scoring leader for points off the bench, claiming the title in March 2019. Sweet Lou was the Philadelphia 76ers 45th overall pick in 2005 straight out of high school and he played for the Sixers, Hawks, Raptors, Lakers, and Rockets before finding his home with the L.A. Clippers during the Chris Paul trade. Williams averaged 18.4 points and 5.7 assists per game while coming off the bench in 52 of 60 games played in 2019-20. However, he remains undecided on playing in the NBA restart, which could hurt his chances of winning the award for a third straight season.
Derrick Rose’s miraculous comeback continues. The former #1 pick of the 2008 Draft by the Chicago Bulls and the league’s 2011 NBA MVP suffered some of the most devastating knee injuries on record but despite falling several times, he has persevered and tried his best to get back his old form. While Rose has never returned to his old MVP self, he has reinvented himself in the last couple of years. Rose signed with the Detroit Pistons this season and he quickly became popular not only for his game-winners but his overall performance. Rose averaged 18.1 points and 5.6 assists per game this year which are his best numbers since the 2012 season. With Detroit not being part of the 22-team restart, his chances to win the award isn’t that high.
If you noticed, we usually include five names in the favorites but when you take a look at the odds board, there are only four players who have a legit shot at winning the award. However, players like Davis Betrans, Goran Dragic, Jordan Clarkson, Kyle Kuzma, and Marcus Smart are going to Disney World and they have a chance to impress the voters. But given that the restart is just 8 games and then the postseason, there is a good chance that the winner will come from the four players we discussed above.
When you take a look at the odds, I think that Lou Williams has the best value at +420. I mean the guy has won the award in the last two seasons and he didn’t slow down much this year. Although it was Schroder who topped the bench players in scoring, Williams wasn’t too far behind and he was also doing other things like passing the ball. Given that he has a Montrezl Harrell who plays with him off the bench, Lou Williams’ scoring numbers are impressive. However, Williams’ stock could take a hit if he doesn’t play in the restart. He stated in an interview last week that he is 50-50 on continuing the season. But if he will play for the Clippers for the resumption of the 2019-20 season, I think he is a good bet here.
Between Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell, I would say that Schroder is the better pick. The OKC Thunder are one of the big stories of 2020, going from a rebuilding team to one that is currently in 5th place in the West and are just one game behind 4th seeded Houston and 2.5 games behind 3rd seeded Denver. If the Thunder can catch up with one of those teams and Schroder continues his brilliant play, I think he has a good chance of winning the 2020 Sixth Man of the Year award.
Prediction: Dennis Schroder if Lou Williams sits out. If Lou plays. I’ll take the bigger plus money on Sweet Lou.
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