The 5 Best Sixth Men in the NBA
Manu Ginobili practically invented the Sixth Man of the Year award (though the legendary John Havlicek played an eerily similar role for Bill Russell’s early-day Boston Celtics). Alongside Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, Ginobili has led the San Antonio Spurs to four national championships and a first place finish in the Western Conference this year. Though his numbers have fallen and athleticism has declined with age, Ginobili is still a key cog on one of the best teams in the league. Though he as been slow at times this year, Ginobili’s performances only seem to get better with the rising stakes of each game he plays.
Chandler’s promising career has thus far been plagued by injuries and inconsistency, but he has found a role as the first man off the bench on George Karl’s frenetic, fast-paced Denver Nuggets attack. After starting a good portion of his games for the New York Knicks, Chandler has become an “everything man” for Denver, defending multiple positions, scoring in a variety of ways, and bringing dynamic athleticism off the bench.
Jack sometimes gets lost in the shuffle on the Warriors thanks the play of the “Splash Brothers,” Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. But one of the reasons they can play with so much heart and energy is the fact that the team does not lose a step when it goes to Jarrett Jack and its bench. Jack’s presence also allows Curry, usually the point guard of the team, to play off the ball for long stretches, where he can navigate through screens and find open spots on the court to release the most deadly jumpshot in the NBA.
Crawford’s career has been an inconsistent if not disappointing one filled with flashes of brilliance and moments of head scratching. After journeying through various teams in the league, Crawford has found a role perfectly suited for him on the Los Angeles Clippers bench. Responding with one of the best seasons of his career and leading a contending Clippers team, Crawford played so well as the sixth man that analysts like Charles Barkley even lobbied for him to make the All Star team. Unfortunately for him, however, he came up just short in the voting for both the All Star team and for the Sixth Man of the Year Award, but his overall season was certainly impressive nonetheless.
J.R Smith started the season with disappointment when his coach, Mike Woodson, announced that he would not be in the starting lineup this year. However, instead of causing problems because of his disappointment he instead responded with his best, if not characteristically inconsistent, season of his career. Scoring over 18 points per game, though at an inefficient rate, Smith helped the Knicks win their first division title in two decades before winning the NBA’s official Sixth Man of the Year award.
No matter if you’re a sixth man or a team captain. Dunk can create custom basketball jerseys to make you and all your team mates look like the pros.
Written by Scott Jordan. Scott is an all around sports fan who loves writing and talking about sports online.
Image credit: espn.go.com