Whether it is the Clippers, Bucks, Lakers, or someone else, the NBA Championship will be won in great part due to the winning team’s superstars. But whoever it is will not win off the power of their star players alone. They will need the help of their bench, specifically their primary bench player or 6th Man.
Unlike many other award races, the race for the 6th Man of the Year is far from decided. While the odds make it clear who will win MVP and a few other awards, that is not the case with the 6th Man (odds via BetMGM.com):
Odds On Who Wil Win the 6th Man of the Year Award?
- Dennis Schroder -182
- Montrezl Harrell +225
- Lou Williams +500
- Derrick Rose +5000
- Goran Dragic, Norman Powell, Bogan Bogdanovic, Terrene Ross, Jordan Clarkson, Kyle Kuzma, Marcus Smart, Patty Mills, Serge Ibaka +10000
Utah’s Dennis Schroder is the clear-cut favorite according to BetMGM’s odds with a 64.54 percent. But Montrezl Harrell has a decent shot at 30.77 percent. At the same time, one of Harrell’s teammates, Lou Williams (who has won three of the last five), has a 16.67 percent chance.
A good case could be made for several other guys, like Derrick Rose, Serge Ibaka, Terrence Ross, and Kyle Kuzma. However, Schroder, Harrell, and Williams are favorites for a reason. One of them will win it—but who?
Of course, the hard part is figuring out whose contribution is the best when playing times, opportunities, and situations vary greatly.
Take the favorite, Dennis Schroder, for example. He is the third point guard for the Thunder alongside Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. With him, some voters may choose to overlook his contribution to the Thunder’s success by attributing it to Paul and Gilgeous-Alexander.
His stat line, 19.1 PPG, 4.1 APG, and 3.8 RPG has been a respectable one, and when he is on the court, the net rating (+6.6) is better than when he is off (-3.1). It is safe to say Schroder has a solid case. But so does Harrell and Williams.
The duo is the driving force behind the most productive bench in the NBA (51.5 pts/game). They rank third and fourth in scoring on the team (Williams—18.7 pts/game; Harrell—18.6 points/game). Williams has been the picture of efficiency. Harrell is living proof a three-point shot is not necessary to be a productive player in today’s NBA.
Each is worthy of the award, but what may give voters trouble is choosing one over the other. Take either away, and the Clippers bench is not spectacular anymore, which makes it impossible to give one more credit than the other. But voters will have to choose one if they go with a Clipper.
So— who should you bet on?
There has been talk that Williams might sit out when the season restarts. However, more recent discussion has the Clippers expecting him to be there. If he isn’t, the decision becomes a little easier. If he does, you will have to ask yourself if you think voters may be more inclined to go with Harrell or Schroder since they are also worthy.
But as good as Schroder’s season has been, Harrell’s has been just as good and for a much better team. Voters do tend to give awards to players on the more competitive teams.
Put most of your money on Harrell, but throw a few bucks on Schroder (just in case).