- BetOnline has Montrezl Harrell (+125) as the slight favorite to win Sixth Man of the Year
- Lou Williams (+200) is looking to become the first four-time winner of the award
- The Thunder’s Dennis Schröder (+175) could benefit from the two Clippers teammates splitting the vote
Between 1990 and 1995, actress Candace Bergen captured four Emmys and another two nominations for her portrayal of news reporter Murphy Brown.
We only mention this, of course, because Clippers guard Lou Williams has entered the ‘Murphy Brown zone’ when it comes to the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award with wins in each of the past two seasons and three of the last five.
That said, there are two players listed ahead of him on BetOnline’s board. Let’s analyze the field and decide who should be honored as the league’s best bench guy.
SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR ODDS
TWO CLIPPERS IN FIELD OF THREE
Averaging career highs in points (18.7) and rebounds (7.1), Montrezl Harrell has been the NBA’s most productive big man off the bench this season. He’s also the Clippers’ best shot-blocker (1.1 per game) and his 30 charges-drawn ties him with Kyle Lowry for the league lead.
There is one problem with his candidacy, however: since 2000, only three big men have won the award — Lamar Odom (2010-11), Antawn Jamison (2003-04), Corliss Williamson (2001-02) — and Williamson is the only one of the three who did his best work in the paint.
— Clippers Nation (@ClipperNationCP) March 5, 2020
Instead, Sixth Man of the Year almost always goes to combo guards and wings like Eric Gordon, Jamal Crawford, Jason Terry and well… Lou Williams (+200), who in his 15th season leads all bench scorers in points (19.1) and assists (5.8).
One of the secrets to Sweet Lou’s longtime success in this category is that despite not starting games, he plays starter minutes (29.6 MPG this year), often closing games alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
But, the 33-year-old vet has some competition on that front this year.
BEST BET: DENNIS SCHRODER
Dennis Schröder is averaging the third-most minutes (31.0) per game on the Thunder, closing out games with Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in a unique three-guard lineup that has turned Oklahoma City into one of the season’s most surprising success stories.
A key contributor to OKC’s 38-24 record, the seventh-year guard has already posted 30 games of 20 points or more and has four 30-point outbursts on the year.
— Thunder Nation (@ThunderNationCP) February 27, 2020
Schröder’s 19 points per game rest a tick behind Williams (19.1) and he averages less assists (5.8 vs.4.0), but his shooting percentages (47 FG%, 38.1 FG3%) top Lou’s marks (41.9 FG%, 31.6 FG3%) and he grabs more rebounds (3.7 vs. 3.1).
All that to say, there’s not much separating the two guards’ numbers this season. It’s a dead heat.
However, there are a couple of factors working in Schröder’s favor. One, sportswriters could suffer from voter fatigue with Williams and, two, the Clippers guard could split the vote with his teammate Harrell.
In a small field with three deserving candidates, we like the German to come out on top.