NBA Players: 5 Early predictions for Sixth Man of the Year
While not the most glamorous individual title in the NBA, the Sixth Man of the Year award is certainly among the most respected. The award signifies a player's ability to make an impact from the bench in a league where most individuals are desperate to be starters.
Since being introduced during the 1982-83 season, 30 different players have been named Sixth Man of the Year, and Lou Williams last season became only the second player in history to win the title on three occasions.
Nevertheless, the Clippers man will face plenty of competition to retain his title again, and here are five NBA players that will be in contention to take home the 2020 Sixth Man of the Year award.
#5 Gordon Hayward - Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics beat off intense competition back in the summer of 2017 to sign Gordon Hayward. Hayward was coming off a season where he had made his first All-Star appearance, and also averaged career highs in points (21.9) and rebounds (5.4). However, Hayward suffered a serious injury just minutes into his Celtics debut and missed the entire 17-18 campaign.
Hayward returned for the start of the 18-19 season but quickly fell to the bench after a series of underwhelming performances which yielded some of the lowest numbers since his rookie year. Nevertheless, Hayward has worked hard over the summer in a bid to get his career back on track and is reportedly eying a return to All-Star Weekend.
While an appearance at the NBA's showcase game is unlikely, Hayward could still make a huge contribution from the Celtics bench and the 29-year-old should see an increase on the 25.6 minutes per game he averaged last year. Ultimately, if Hayward gets anywhere near back to his Utah Jazz level, he could average at least 15 points and 5 rebounds and will be in contention to become the Celtics' first Sixth Man winner since the 80s.