Jul. 30, 2016
Way Too Early NBA Predictions: 6th Man of the Year
This may be the most difficult award to predict for so many reasons. Some of these players may end up being starters if major injuries happen, and others may see their playing time slip. While it's difficult to count veterans like Jamal Crawford and Andre Iguodala out of the race this next year, I truly believe that the young guys are in line to win this award. And while I want to put a Maverick on this list, it's tough to do that. Dallas hasn't had a true 6th man since JET jetted (puns are great), and now they use more of a platoon swap when it comes to bench players. I hope Seth Curry and/or Justin Anderson turn into our sixth men, but JJ Barea is probably the main 6th man right now. Anyways, here we go.
3: Doug McDermott
I've been a big Dougie McBuckets fan since his days at Creighton, and this past season he really began to become a contributor for the Chicago Bulls. Chicago made some interesting moves this offseason by adding a point guard that can't shoot or get along with teammates in Rajon Rondo, and a future hall of famer that can no longer stay healthy in Dwyane Wade. Had they not added Wade, McDermott could have started at the three slot, while Jimmy Butler would start at the two guard. McDermott has six man abilities written all over him. He's a microwave scorer and is now backing up one of the best two way players in Jimmy Butler. Last season, McDermott averaged 2.4 rebounds and 9.4 points on 43% three point shooting. He's going to continue to grow and could become a dominant threat off the bench next season.
2: Will Barton
Last season, the athletic freak hit his real potential with the Denver Nuggets. Barton played in all 82 games, the most in his 4 year career and all of his stats saw a major spike. Barton averaged 14.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 29 minutes per game. The Nuggets are a young team that are still a few years away from becoming real threats to make the playoffs in the West, but that allows Barton to continue to develop into the 6th man he can be. Willy B actually earned himself 15 first place votes for sixth man of the year, putting him in 4th place for the award. Barton is only 25 years old and could be a real contributor to a playoff team next season, but for now, he's going to be a major part of Denver's rebuilding process.
1: Allen Crabbe
Allen Crabbe is one of those guys that got PAID this summer. That surprised a lot of people, but not me. Like McDermott, I've been a long time fan of Crabbe's game, but this actually stems from me just using him in 2K when he was a rookie, and no one knew about him. The Nets signed Crabbe to a 4 year, $74 million offer sheet, but it was quickly matched by the Portland Trailblazers. With the Nets, Crabbe likely would have been a star on a team that is going nowhere for a long time. There is a chance that Crabbe could start over Evan Turner at small forward, but Turner is better suited there, and Crabbe is better in the 6th man role. Last season, Crabbe averaged 10.3 points, 2.7 boards, and 1.2 assists while shooting 39% from three. Crabbe is going to continue to get better, and I will continue to dominate with him on NBA 2K.