In 1982-83 the NBA awarded Bobby Jones the Sixth Man of the Year Award. Jones, who played for the Philadelphia 76ers, was the first NBA player to receive the award. The award acknowledges the NBA’s best performing player who comes off the bench as a substitute. That player is often referred to as “the sixth man.”
Five players have won the award multiple times. Lou Williams and Jamal Crawford are three time winners. Kevin McHale, Ricky Pierce and Detlef Schrempf have taken home the award twice.
At the end of the 2022 NBA season, Tyler Herro of the Miami Heat won the award. The 22-year-old, who was in his third year in the NBA, had not won the award before. He was the overwhelming pick, earning 96 of the 100 first-place votes. Herro is one of the preseason favorites for the 2023 NBA Sixth Man of the Year.
While Herro is in the mix, he is not the favorite for the Sixth Man Award in 2023. That designation goes to Jordan Poole of the Golden State Warriors. Poole was not in the mix last season because he was mostly a starter for Golden State. With the team healthy, the 23-year-old is expected to assume the Sixth Man role for the Warriors. Poole is heading into his fourth NBA season.
2023 NBA Sixth Man of the Year picks
|To Win 2023 NBA 6th Man of the Year Award|
|Kelly Oubre Jr.||+4000||+2000||+2200|
|Gary Payton II||+5000||+7000||TBA|
As far as unexpected performances during the 2022 NBA season go, Jordan Poole would have to be near the top of that list. Poole was the No. 28 pick in the NBA draft and had averaged 8.8 and 12.0 points per game during his first two years with the Golden State Warriors. With Steph Curry injured for a good chunk of last season, Poole saw his minutes increase as well as his output.
With their star player missing, the Warriors asked a lot of Poole and he delivered. he went from averaging 19.4 minutes per game in 2021 with seven starts to putting up 30 minutes per game in 2022, while starting 51 games. In response, he put up career high numbers. Poole hit .448 from the field, .364 from three-point range, .925 of his free throws, added 3.4 rebounds, helped with 4.0 assists and racked up 18.5 points.
When the playoffs rolled around, Poole came off the bench in 17 of the team’s games, but his field goal percentage (.508 percent), three-point (.391 percent) increased and his points per game hit 17.0.
Golden State should feel safe to use Poole as much as they need to in 2023. The only thing that could work against him is if he ends up getting a lot of starts again due to injury.
There is a chance Tyler Herro could take himself out of the running for the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award during training camp for the Miami Heat. Herro said at the end of 2022 that he thought he had done enough to earn a starting position and so he will be looking to do just that.
Herro’s numbers in 2022 were 32.6 minutes played, .447 field goal shooting percentage, .399 three-point percentage, .868 percent on free throws, five rebounds, four assists and 20.7 points per game.
If Miami keeps Herro, who was the No. 13 pick in the 2019 NBA draft, on the bench in 2023, expect him to be in the running for the Sixth Man of the Year Award from the opening game of the NBA campaign.
Three players got first place votes last year for NBA Sixth Man of the Year. Herro, Kevin Love (3) and Cameron Johnson (1). Johnson, who plays with the Phoenix Suns, is the longshot to consider to win the 2023 version of the award.
Johnson was the 11th overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. He made the Phoenix lineup in 2020. He had a career year in 2022 with 12.5 points per game on 26.2 minutes. His field goal percentage was .460 and he hit three pointers at a rate of .425 while adding 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists.
Johnson started three games for the Suns in the playoffs. Over the 13 games the team played in the postseason, he averaged 24.6 minutes per game and 10.8 points.
Johnson has taken incremental steps year over year with the Suns and he could be a breakout player in 2022.
A lot depends on if Tyler Herro and Jordan Poole get a high number of starts in 2023. Assuming they both come off the bench, I think this is a two-player battle. I also think Poole will emerge as the 2023 NBA Sixth Man of the Year.
Pick: Jordan Poole of the Golden State Warriors to win 2022 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award.
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