Jamal Crawford made history last season when he became the first ever three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year award winner. Can the Los Angeles Clippers super-sub do it again this season? As part of Sportsrageous’ 2016-17 NBA season preview, here are the top five players who might win the award in the upcoming season.
1. Andre Iguodala, SF – Golden State Warriors
Iggy came out second in the Sixth Man of the Year voting last season but he should have won the award over Jamal Crawford. Andre Iguodala deserved to win it last year but his mediocre stats of 7.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists was overshadowed by Crawford’s scoring numbers.
However, the value of the 32-year-old swingman is undoubtedly high because he acts as the primary playmaker off the bench. He also defends the opposing team’s best player and he will be more important this season for the Warriors.
Iguodala will be carrying Golden State this season as the team’s depth was affected by the arrival of Kevin Durant. If he improves his numbers, he will surely win this award this season.
2. Enes Kanter, PF – Oklahoma City Thunder
The departure of Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant will benefit a lot of players, stats wise, in OKC including Enes Kanter. The 24-year-old big man came out third in the Sixth Man of the Year voting last season but he is considered one of the favorites this season.
Thunder head coach Billy Donovan is set to start rookie Domantas Sabonis this season alongside Steven Adams. Kanter is set to take over the second unit of the team and he is more than of capable of torching opposing benches.
3. Brandon Knight, PG – Phoenix Suns
Suns head coach Earl Watson has announced that Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker will be his starting backcourt next season. It leaves Brandon Knight as the team’s sixth man and he might thrive in his new role.
However, Knight is a starter-quality player and it would not be a surprise if he demands more minutes as the season rolls on. He would have been higher on this list if there is no chance of that the Suns will trade him at the deadline.
4. Jamal Crawford, SG – Los Angeles Clippers
The three-time Sixth Man of the Year winner is still on this list because he is still the Clippers’ main weapon off the bench. He will continue to score a lot despite his field goal being career lows. If his numbers are close to last season, do not be surprised if he wins the award again.
5. Al Jefferson, C – Indiana Pacers
The Indian Pacers are set to run a fast-paced offense next season which makes the signing Al Jefferson surprising. The 31-year-old big man will be the slowest man on the court but the Pacers are hoping for him to be a deadly scorer off the bench. He averaged 12.0 points last season off the bench for the Charlotte Hornets and it will likely improve this season in his first year in Indiana.