Summer Dreaming: Sixth Man of Year

.

HANG TIME, Texas — Nothing says it’s summer like an ice cream cone (mint chocolate chip, if you’re buying) on one of those blazing afternoons where it’s so hot that your tongue has to lick into overdrive to keep the tasty treat from running all the way down your arm.

That’s kind of the role of the sixth man in basketball, to pop off the bench and get right to work cleaning up the mess. As the dog days of August continue, we’ll leap ahead once more in our summer fantasy with my five picks for the 2013-14 Sixth Man of Year.

Andrei Kirilenko, Nets He’s 32 years old and it’s been a while since he was the Jazz’s do-it-all player known as “AK-47.” Durability issues dot his past couple of NBA seasons — he spent 2011-12 with CSKA Moscow — but with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in Brooklyn now, Kirilenko won’t be expected to rack up big minutes. That will leave him free to pass, cut and get plenty of easy baskets from Deron Williams on offense and to cut off the angles, hit the boards and block a couple of shots per game on defense. He’ll accept his role and make the most of it. He left $10 million on the table in Minnesota for a chance to win big in Brooklyn and could be a key ingredient if the Nets’ big offseason gamble is going to pay off.

Tyreke Evans, Pelicans The career path is not supposed to go from winning Rookie of the Year to having your scoring average decline in each of the next three seasons. But after languishing in Sacramento, much of it his own fault, Evans is getting a chance to shine in New Orleans. Yes, the backcourt is crowded with ball handling scorers. All-Star Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon are likely to start, which could work to Evans’ benefit by making him the main offensive option off the bench. At 6-foot-6, he didn’t like playing small forward with the Kings, even though it could be required in a pinch for the undersized Pelicans. Evans says he’s ready and willing to embrace the sixth man role and with his dynamic talent, he could really shine.

Lance Stephenson, Pacers With a healthy Danny Granger returning to the lineup, it’s quite possible that the Pacers could ask Stephenson to accept a bench role. Depending how the mercurial one accepts it, Indiana could take a big step toward closing the gap with the Heat by having a rotation of wing players that can match up with anybody. There are so many different specific parts of Stephenson’s game that you can pick apart, but his overall energy and attitude played a big part in the Pacers getting to the Eastern Conference finals and pushing Miami to a seventh game. He and Granger will both be free agents in 2014, so this gives Stephenson a chance to show that he’s the one the Pacers should keep.

Jarrett Jack, Cavaliers He makes the move from a young Warriors team that was trying to break into the Western Conference power structure to the same kind of young, hungry and talented bunch in the Eastern Conference. This is certainly Kyrie Irving’s team, — at least until LeBron comes back — but the future MVP candidate needs a backup and Jack is not just capable, but explosive. He was third in voting for the award last season (behind J.R. Smith and Jamal Crawford) and is likely to pick right up in Cleveland from where he left off in Golden State. Remember, last season he became the first bench player to score 30 and deal 10 assists in a game since Magic Johnson in 1996. Fast company.

Jeremy Lamb, Thunder The deck is cleared and the stage is set. The ball will come to him for open shots and Lamb has to knock them down. Simple, huh? Well, the game is always going to be easier when a couple of your teammates are named Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The second-year man who saw little playing time outside of Tulsa in the NBA D-League last season is no James Harden coming off the bench at this point. But he should step into the void left by Kevin Martin’s departure and get plenty of opportunities to make defenses pay. He’s a long shot in his first year with significant playing time, but is worth keeping an eye on for the future and will likely have played a big role if OKC makes a run for best record in the league.

PREVIOUSLY: Defensive Player of Year | Most Improved Player | Rookie Of Year

103 Comments

  1. Mark says:

    harrison barnes

  2. Tomas Herlihy says:

    I don’t see someone like Jeremy Lamb as a sixth man of the year option, someone like Lance Stephenson or Harrison Barnes, they’re both young, athletic and untapped potential..Stephenson is a pest on the perimeter and can cut to the basket with rapid pace, Barnes however has shown that he can score, his 16 and 6 game vs San Antonio shows how good he’ll be, he can hit shots and get to the rim, and is lengthy for a wing so he could prove to be a good defender and is difficult to defend..other options are Tyreke or Shannon Brown.. I love Shannon Brown, he is athletic as hell, excellent defender and can produce for you off the bench, he has some great plays from his Lakers days, his block against the Hawks backs up my two points on his defensive ability and his athleticism

  3. Lamar Odom says:

    I’m done screwing around … I’m coming back this season to claim my title ;-)

  4. Stir Fry says:

    I don’t see Harrison Barnes coming off the bench either but with Iggy now with the Wariors, either Barnes or Klay Thompson is going to come off the bench. Iguodala is a starter in this league and definitely will play off Curry and David Lee.

  5. aaronben says:

    What about Mo Williams? Is he still a starter? i bet on Mo for sixth man of the year this coming season….

  6. qdqq says:

    JR smith back to back. EASY

  7. loco says:

    i think barnes will start because gsw has enough firepower, so thompson comes off the bench to lead their second unit, which brings him in this dicussion. with jr smith and jamaal crawford, those 3 will battle for the award. the jet, ray allen and manu ginobili are too old now and won`t get enough minutes.

  8. chigchig says:

    alot of candidates where left off that could very well win

    whoever comes off the bench in oakland (barnes is the strong candidate)
    crawford, and JR arent even mentioned and they are 6th man contenders every year
    lou will if he comes off the bench, terry in the nets

    i dont know if bledsoe is going to start at the 2 but im guessing hes off the bench and if so hes my dark horse contender with
    the suns

  9. j says:

    harrison barnes. this shouldn’t even be a topic of discussion

  10. piposs says:

    what about ray allen? i think he was a great sixth man.

  11. DR BBAL says:

    Greatest six men of all time = NATE THE GREAT ROBINSON

    And i think J R smith is gonna get it again next year

  12. D says:

    Ummmm? No Nate Robinson ?

  13. Gillsy says:

    Barnes will come off the bench and should win sixth man of the year, yea JR Smith will need to share more of the limelight in New York, AK47 will be coming when Terry does so much of the same there. While Lamb is starting to come along but probably a few years off. Barnes will be playing a lot of 3-4 with time there when Lee goes to the bench or they want to play small and at three when Iggy goes off or is moved back to the 2 to cover Thompson. My favourite 6th man off all time is Robert Horry later in his career he was mad from the three especially in crunch time.

  14. chabob says:

    Lamb? When Reggie Jackson is around? Come on son, you can do better.

  15. wooderson says:

    how do fools who clearly don’t know a thing about basketball get employed to write about it?

  16. Tony says:

    My Money is on Chris Kaman with Lakers

  17. T.Tinio says:

    The sixth man hands down will be Andrew Bynum of Cavs, as he will come off the bench behind Andy Varejao. Other than that, its the rookie of the year 2013-’14 season, Anthony Bennett of the Cavs who wont be starting but come off the bench very lethal and productive, thus, Bennett will also bag the 6th man award. Got it !

  18. MichaelB says:

    Might have picked the wrong Pacer. Scola should be Great coming off the Bench..

  19. Renegade_kid says:

    Um JR Smith???? wow he did win it last year..

  20. JPAN says:

    hey watta bout jamal crawford? instant scoring off the bench

  21. BBB says:

    Don’t laugh when you read this, allow it to settle in. JJ Berea. Revamped (and hopefully healthy) roster, no Luke Ridnour, and a Coach Karl loves him (http://www.startribune.com/sports/wolves/185607932.html). Someone has to run that second unit. I dare I say it, yes I do, it will be ran by next year’s 6th man of the year.

  22. Knick fan since Ewings rookie yr says:

    1. They never show the Knicks respect cause ur right at least put j.r. Smith in da convo. 2. Harrison barnes will def be a candidate for the award. And 3. although I love John Starks I think the best 6man ever was microwave vinny. Johnson from da bad boys in Detroit

  23. The Microwave says:

    Vinnie Johnson was the best 6th man ever IMO

  24. abchome says:

    Jeremy Lamb? That OKC needs Lamb to fill the sixth man role left by KMart/Harden doesn’t mean that he will thrive like KMart/Harden. For whatever potential he is unproven almost like a rookie, and he didn’t exactly tear the summer league or d league (well the d league mvp couldn’t get an nba contract and will play overseas next season).

  25. J says:

    Jeremy lamb I think he is gonna improve (he has to anyway if the thunder stand a chance at winning it all) dramatically in his second season and thus win the sixth man award or

    klay Thompson if he gets to come off the bench that would make a lot more sense than barnes as a sixth man cause klay can score better by banging in 3s or

    tyreke evans even though I think he should start at SF that’s how I have it on nba2k13 but if he is gonna be sixth man then he could easily win this award

  26. HeX4 says:

    Putting Lamb on that list and not putting HBarnes is quite disrespectful. Barnes filling in for the 2, 3 and 4 positions could easily average 17-18 a game and 5 rbds…

  27. Pepe Cb says:

    Nate Robinson.. hands down

  28. man_yeah says:

    jr smith and jamal? they are still a contender for that award..

  29. W Chandller says:

    Wilson will play as a SIXTH MAN as D Gallanari take his spot…….Chandler young athletic SF……JUST HOPING HIM TO BE AT THAT LIST!!!!!!!!

    • BigBoy says:

      cept wilson’s going to start next season because gallinari is still recovering from an acl injury. why do people comment without know whats going on with their team? ridiculous

  30. Manuover says:

    U forgot Manu she was a big lift from the SPURS BENCH as D Green taking his spot on the starting lineup!!!!!!!

  31. yoyoyoyo says:

    kimmy your defiantly right about perk. but you watch jeremy lamb will have a good year and help out more than the useless old kevin matin.

  32. Pata says:

    Gigi Datome is gonna be 6th man oof the year even if he is playing in Detroit

  33. Kimmy says:

    I agree. Don’t know why the Thunder kept Perkins. He holds them back. Hopefully he got a realty check over the summer. This will be his last year w/ Thunder. They can’t afford to continue to hold on to him, if they want to win a championship. He is not the one. I don’t think Jeremy Lamb is going to fill Kevin Martin’s shoes. They need a more seasoned player, yes,getting closer, someone like Jack, to come off the bench. Actually Thunder needed and needs someone better than Kevin Martin. I suggest James Harden?? What happened there? Why did the Thunder let him go? I’m still mourning that loss. And I bet Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are too. The Thunder is my favorite team in the NBA, but I can’t help but have this nasty feeling that they are still missing something. Like the Hawks, I don’t think they made good choises over the summer. Oh well. Go Thunder!!!!!!

    • BigBoy says:

      they didnt let him go. harden walked because ibaka’s extension took away from harden getting a big extention so he got it with houston and what happened?? he’s setup to win a championship possibly an even better chance than with durant n westbrook

  34. Julio says:

    The good 6th man is the one that makes the difference for the playoffs…and honestly i think, in this case, Ray Allen can make the difference and, for me, he was the 6th man of the last season…. that’s all.

    • BigBoy says:

      they won the championship because of him. huge 3 when the game looked over and it was their elimination game.

  35. lee says:

    if golden state is smart the will put iggy at 2 gaurd and let thompson play the 6th man role i think he could win the award and i also think ak47 should start and paul pearce should move to 6th man just like the spurs moved ganobli to the bench it will help him play longer in the league some of these guys should be on this list and jamal crawford isnt on this list because there talking about new guys who could compete for it this year like recent signings

  36. Floyd says:

    Why not Klay Thompson, I’d start Barnes and bring him off the bench. Curry is all the shooter you need, Barnes is more versatile than Thompson.

  37. AJC says:

    Josh Smith. He’s a power forward, not a small forward, and when the Pistons find out the hard way, he’ll be a great sixth man.

    • BigBoy says:

      yea when they finally figure it out, andre drummond’s going back to the bench. this was supposed to be his breakout year as a starter

  38. Bozzy says:

    Harrison Barnes? A nob over Lamb perhaps?

  39. Richard says:

    I think JR Smith has a chance to win I again this year

  40. Dave Workman says:

    Best 6th Man ever…”Downtown” Freddie Brown of Seattle. Man could that guy put points on the board in BUNCHES.

  41. mark says:

    What about Mo Williams?!?

  42. Dave Workman says:

    I’m a Pacers fan. The Most Improved Player award last year COULD have gone to another Pacer in Lance Stephenson. If he is coming off the bench next year he could be BOTH 6th man and Most Improved. While I don’t think this will happen, if Granger is healthy and would come off the bench, he could be a legitimate 6th Man candidate.

  43. ac says:

    once again, another commentator hating on the knicks and their players for no reason. How could you not include JR Smith being that he won this award last season? Not saying he’ll win it this year, but have some respect damn!

  44. Roy says:

    Jarrett Jack is probly the strongest candidate. Even though I don’t like the team nor it’s fans that much. I’m really excited to see what the Cavs an do, Irving, Bynum, Bennet, Thompson, Jack, etc makes for a very talented and young core that can shake up the east pretty heavily.

  45. Alan Hollway says:

    You know a good 6th man would still be Captain Jack – Stephen Jackson at a fraction of the price of others, Providing he could accept limited time from the bench and not allow his ego to get in the way. the spurs I think made a big mistake letting him go before the playoffs. When Greene lost momentum in games 6 and 7, old captain jack could have dished out a few treys and relieved the pressure on Greene. Heat had at least 3 dagger dangers coming off the bench, Battier, Allen and Miller.

  46. Igor says:

    You forgot Jamal Crawford!!!! he finished second last year and could have very well won the award

  47. Tony says:

    Im sorry..did lou williams die?

  48. Not sure how Harrison Barnes did not make this list, he has a great situation to become one of the best 6th men in the NBA this year in GSW. Both VC & Ryan Anderson are other potential candidates, but I can understand those two are more personal preference.

  49. NBA..Fan says:

    With Terry on that bench I don’t even think AK-47 will be the best bench player on his own team, let alone the best bench player in the league.

  50. celtics1 says:

    Jarret jack made the biggest mistake of his career going to the cavs. I expected him to be with spurs, thunder or lakers. If you put money first after his three years is over nobody will really want him cos no player goes to cavs and comes out the same.

    I think the nets do have a reallystrong second unit, they have size experience on their side wont be surprised if they knock out the heat , thats only is deron williams is ready to take orders from kg and pierce, they sld be fine.

  51. Mike says:

    If the Warriors end up starting Curry, Klay, Iguodala, Lee, and Bogut, I think Barnes will definitely be a Sixth Man contender. Definitely more so than Lamb (who has yet to prove himself) or Kirilenko (I think his best days are likely behind him). I love Jack, but I think it will be hard for him to replicate what he did last season with Golden State.

  52. Jimmy Buckets says:

    D. Wade……totally forgot he was a starter. it was like he was missing for most of the games

  53. Canadian Cavs Fan says:

    Who does everyone think is the all time best 6th man?

  54. Chuck says:

    Somewhat surprised that Harrison Barnes didn’t get a mention here. It’s surprising to see Stephenson on this list – he’s an inconsistent scorer with more of a defensive orientation, and the award typically goes to offensive spark plugs, or guys with complete all-around games such as Kirilenko.

  55. Dave says:

    No Harrison Barnes?!

  56. nicolas says:

    Scola in Indy

  57. SilenceoftheJeremys says:

    If you’re talking about the thunder bench the most likely candidate would be Reggie Jackson not Lamb

  58. TTKIN says:

    To me, it’s hilarious you didnt put Harrison Barnes/Klay Thompson on the list. Idk which will start and maybe that’s why you didnt put it, but there is nothing guaranteeing Tyreke WONT start for NO.

    • YYY says:

      They both will. Curry, Thompson, Barnes, Lee, Bogut. Barnes is a 3 anyways.

      • humdahum19 says:

        I’m very shocked that Harrison Barnes and Luis Scola aren’t on this list. I want to add Greg Oden but who knows how long it’ll take him to get his knees back under him (literally).

      • Luis says:

        Man, you forgot Andre Igoudala.. he will obviusly a starter..

      • BigBoy says:

        lol do you even pay attention to the warriors plz dont comment unless you know the current roster at least. iguodala went to GS to be sixth man? barnes is going to have to come off the bench because they need Klay’s 3pt shooting out there

      • Go 76ers! says:

        As if Barnes will start over iggy. Either that, or klay sits and he plays the 2 spot. Iguodala is going to start over either of those guys any day of the week!

    • BigBoy says:

      im thinking tyreke’s going to start at the 3 at least to start off the season to see how to goes. but if he can click with the team, jrue holiday is taking the pelicans to the playoffs

  59. vacho says:

    why not Amare ? if he is healthy all the year he will play around 30 minutes per game and if he comes from the bench as in this year when he was healthy he will make 17-18 points easily with 8 rebounds

    • ac says:

      I’m a die hard knicks fan, but unfortunately I just can’t see him staying healthy consistently anymore. Hope I’m wrong :)

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      Amare is going to get 17 or 18 points with 8 rebounds ‘easily’ off the bench LOOOOOOOL with limited minutes so the Knicks can try to save his knees for the playoffs
      Amare is washed up!!! he will never be the same player he was in phoenix again!! Hopefully the Knicks can trade him this trade deadline or after this upcoming year when he will only have 1 year left on his contract…

      • BigBoy says:

        he’ll still have too much money this year and next year coming to him that teams wont take that big risk with his injury-prone self. probably mavs or lakers only teams dumb enough

      • qdqq says:

        And what team would wanna pick up his huge contract?

    • Unkle Daddy says:

      Because A’mare stinks when starting or coming of the bench. He’s Griffin ten years ago, once his youth was gone he was done. He was good because of one man Steve Nash. He’s gonna save NY and get us a championship, lol!

  60. Christopher says:

    One of these people is not like the others.

    Jeremy Lamb is completely unproven and you’re talking Sixth Man of the Year? Really? It’s a borderline insult to the other four guys to have Jeremy Lamb on this list.

    • aaaaaa says:

      But the potential is there and last year he played behind Sefolosha and KMart, now Martin is gone and he’s the next guy on the list. He’s in line for a breakout season.

  61. manie says:

    how about paul pierce or kevin garnett I think one of them will be coming off the bench

  62. Eaham says:

    I didnt like how okc signed Perkins for that much money when they could have waited till till a good free agent was availbale at that spot. Im sorry I didnt know Perkins was worth that hefty deal when some centerd like nicola pekovic, injury prone but still talented bynum.

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      I agree, they gave Perkins a 5 year $39 Million deal … ????? OKC could have had much better for much less money

      • pg14be says:

        I’m an OKC fan, but I have to agree to this, Perkins is not what you expect to get for 39million. But I wouldn’t underestimate his impact on the team. Altough he’s not the best player at his position in the league, he brings a lot of energy every night and helps where he can on the defensive end. I was starting to worry for OKC next season ’cause they didn’t keep Martin as their sixth man, but when I look at the progres Lamb and Jackson have made, it gives me hope for the future. But Lamb for 6th man of the year? mmm, I don’t see that happen right away..

  63. Riley says:

    Vince Carter for Dallas, very consistent and had a 25,12,7 game last season