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6th Man of the Year
- Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics – All Thomas does is generate numbers. In five games since arriving in Boston, Thomas has scored 21.8 points per game in only 28 minutes per contest. That is good for 28.0 (!) points per 36 minutes, and the 5-foot-9 spark plug is generating a 19.99 PER for the season. Thomas’ game isn’t for everyone, as he is the definition of ball-dominant at times, but his efficiency is staggering and he fits the mold of a traditional “energy” player off the bench.
- Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers – Crawford exited Monday’s game with a calf contusion, and frankly, he hasn’t been as good as you may think this season. However, the nature of the 6th man race is that showing up and providing something in the way of value lands you here. Crawford did average better than 20 points per game in February, but in terms of efficiency, he has been dropping all season across the board to the point where the veteran gunner is shooting just 40.1% from the floor and 33.3% from beyond the arc. The Clippers need his production, but it is one-dimensional in nature.
- Lou Williams, Toronto Raptors – Speaking of players who are one-dimensional, we have Lou Williams. In fairness, Williams has experienced a renaissance season in Toronto, to the tune of 15.3 points per game and a PER near 20. However, scoring is basically all that the now 28-year-old brings to the table, as he averages less than 2 rebounds and 2 assists per game with below-average defense at either guard spot. It certainly helps Williams’ candidacy that the Raptors grabbed a win on Monday to stop their tremendous slide, but in a normal year, I’m not sure he’d be heavily involved in the awards race.
Next: Defensive Player of the Year