NBA Awards 2019: 3 reasons why Domantas Sabonis should win the Sixth Man of the Year award
The 2019 NBA Finals are complete and so to now is the 2019 NBA Draft. The last piece of business that the NBA has to address before the 2018-19 NBA season is fully in the past is award night. On Monday, June 24th, 2019 the world discovers which star players shined brightest this past season.
One of those awards will be the Sixth Man of the Year award. In 2019, the finalists for this award are Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams (both of the L.A. Clippers), and Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers). Lou Williams is a 2-time winner of this award and is actually the reigning 6th man of the year from 2018. It is conceivable he could win his third and 2nd straight accolade in this category. However, he does have stiff competition from his teammate Harrell and Indiana’s 3rd year back up center Domantas Sabonis. Here are three reasons Domantas Sabonis should win the 2019 NBA Sixth Man of the Year award:
Overall Game Impact
The other two nominees for the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2019 play for the Clippers and have scored for them as well. Lou Williams has been lighting up scoreboards across the NBA for years with his array of offensive talents coming off the bench for teams like Philadelphia, Atlanta, Toronto, and Los Angeles Clippers. It's this very reason he won the Sixth Man of the Year award last year and in 2015. Montrezl Harrell like Sabonis is a young and upcoming player and they both could have also been nominees for the Most Improved Player of the year.
In the case of the two Clippers vying for the 6th man award, they would seem to have more attractive numbers. Williams scored 20 ppg and averaged 5.4 apg while Harrell scored 16.6 ppg and averaged 6.5 rpg. If you are simply taking scoring into account then Lou Williams wins the 6th man of the year award. However, even though Sabonis only averaged 14.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg, and 2.9 apg, from the center position, his impact on the game is greater.
For example, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell played on average 26.6mpg and 26.3mpg respectively. Sabonis produced a near double-double in just 24.8mpg. Sabonis was not even the most relied upon substitute for the Pacers in terms of minutes played yet he was their bench’s most reliable and productive player. Sabonis has a more complete game than his competition for the 6th Man award.
Both the Clippers and Pacers had identical records at 48-34 in 2019. Both teams made the playoffs. The Pacers were the 5th seed in the East and the Clippers were the 8th seed out West. The Clippers traded their best player mid-season in Tobias Harris. The Pacers lost Victor Oladipo, their best player to injury mid-season. It can be argued that the Pacers were the better team so Sabonis’ lower scoring average could be attributed to that.
The one difference between these two teams in 2018-19 was that the Pacers were 22nd in scoring whereas the Clippers were 5th (115ppg) in the association. Therefore, Sabonis' 14ppg were more important to the overall success of his team as the Pacers struggled to score but did out pace opponents 108-104 in scoring per game.