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2014 PBT Awards: Sixth Man of the Year

Apr 15, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

Though none of us have a ballot for the NBA’s official awards, we’ll be presenting our choices and making our cases this week for each major honor.

Kurt Helin

1. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs

2. Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers

3. Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls

When Manu Ginobili enters the game the Spurs offense instantly improves by 7.9 points per 100 possessions (and their defense improves by one per 100). The Spurs outscore opponents by 14 points per game when he plays and they don’t have the best record in the NBA without him. He’s got my vote. The instant offense of Jamal Crawford and the fourth quarter exploits of Taj Gibson get them on the ballot just ahead of Markieff Morris.

Brett Pollakoff

1. Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers

2. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs

3. Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns

I broke this race down in detail a couple of weeks back, and nothing’s changed since then that would alter my hypothetical cote. I like what Markieff Morris has done for Phoenix, and Manu Ginobili has been extremely solid for a Spurs team with the league’s best record. But with the scoring Jamal Crawford does for a very good Clippers team, it’s tough to envision a scenario where this award isn’t his.

Dan Feldman

1. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs

2. Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers

3. Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls

I created my rankings before seeing Kurt’s, but not only did we agree on our top three, he nailed the explanation for Ginobili at No. 1. The Spurs guard is just a whiz who elevates his team with all his trickery. Crawford gets the slightest edge over Gibson for his ability to handle a big offensive burden when necessary and because, when working with the Clippers’ starters, his defense becomes tolerable.

  1. fanofthegame79 - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    Markeiff Morris needs more love or at least consideration for this award. They were saying last night during the Suns vs. Grizzlies that Morris has scored more off the bench than any other reserve. That’s impressive!

    • savvybynature - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:36 AM

      He will get some votes, and may even wind up winning Most Improved Player (though it seems like every player on the Suns could win that award).
      One reason he is unlikely to finish ahead of Manu, Crawford and Taj though is the Suns didn’t make the playoffs, while those other guys’ teams will be hosting a first-round playoff series. Not sure how much that should matter, but it does.

      • norcalkingsfan - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:29 AM

        MIP=Demarcus Cousins

      • fanofthegame79 - Apr 15, 2014 at 11:02 AM

        That’s a good point about the other teams being playoff teams and the Suns just missing out. It’s a shame it has to be like that. Either way, the Suns should feel pretty good about themselves after this year.

  2. campcouch - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:00 AM

    They need a new category. Manu and Crawford have evolved beyond merely being 6th men. They’ve won this before or been mentioned for the award their whole careers.

  3. unxpexted1 - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    Not saying he shoudl win it but nick young should deserve some mention as well for six man. He’s the second leading scorer off the bench behind Jamaal Crawford, at 17.9.

  4. sportsfan18 - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    Crawford’s scoring was a reason for his selection above by one of the writers…

    His FG% on the season was .418%

    He was not efficient. He had to shoot a lot to score a lot with such a low field goal percentage. THAT does not help a team but actually hinders a team…

    A team only gets so many shots a game and players who shoot and MISS a lot aren’t helping their team that much…

    Giving Crawford more and more shots is like giving a running back in the NFL more and more carries when he only averages 2.9 yards a rush. He CAN rush for a lot of yards but it will take a LOT of rushes for him to do so… same as Crawford scoring a lot of points with a FG% of .418%

    Per NBA stats dot com, Crawford was/is in 110th place for FG% right now… The rookie Victor Oladipo has a higher FG% than he does. So give Victor the number of shots Crawford takes and he SCORES more than Crawford as do 109 other players. There are ONLY 122 qualified players in the FG% category so he is 110th out 122 players…

    Scoring can help a team, but which team (yours or your opponents) depends on how well a player shoots the ball…

    The sad thing is that this is Crawford’s 14th NBA season and his .418% FG% actually HELPS his career FG% as it’s only .411%

    That’s simply NOT a good percentage to shoot from the field folks and he takes OVER 17 shots a game this season.

    • savvybynature - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:39 AM

      I agree to some degree but wouldn’t go as far as to say Crawford hurts his team. One reason for the low FG% is he shoots a lot of 3s, but he makes a good amount of them which can make up for a lower FG% to some degree at least. He also gets to the line a fair amount which can make up for it.

      • casualcommenter - Apr 15, 2014 at 11:08 AM

        Agreed, that’s why effective field goal percentage is a far more meaningful stat nowadays than just field goal percentage given how more 3 pointers are being shot than ever before.

        By eFG, Crawford is 68th in the NBA, and he’s slightly below CP3, slightly ahead of Tim Duncan.

    • bougin89 - Apr 15, 2014 at 11:23 AM

      “Giving Crawford more and more shots is like giving a running back in the NFL more and more carries when he only averages 2.9 yards a rush. He CAN rush for a lot of yards but it will take a LOT of rushes for him to do so…”

      In sports their are exceptions to every so called rule. Barry Sanders was one such exception. I remember watching countless games where he’d have 14 rushes for 12 yards(or whatever extremely low yardage total he’d have). Then he’d bust an 82 yard touchdown. People think he was pretty decent.

      My point: stats are a good indicator but just reading them blindly isn’t smart. Crawford is an ideal scorer off the bench. We’re not debating MVP we’re debating 6th man here…

      But if you want to keep only looking at stats look at his TS%.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 15, 2014 at 4:18 PM

        Barry Sanders never averaged 2.9 yards a carry though. In fact, at the time of his retirement only Sanders and Jim Brown averaged over 5.0 yards a carry on their careers. So Crawford is not really like Barry Sanders – if he was he wouldn’t be shooting 41%.

        A Barry Sanders type player in the NBA would probably be someone who regularly misses 10 straight shots, but makes the next 13, and always finishes a game shooting well over .500.

      • bougin89 - Apr 16, 2014 at 9:49 AM

        Agreed. Sanders was a bad example because Sanders would be more of an MVP type argument where as this is a 6th man type argument.

    • antistratfordian - Apr 15, 2014 at 4:08 PM

      But Crawford’s True Shooting % and Effective Field Goal % are both well above his career averages. Players have even won MVP with a worse TS% and eFG% than Crawford. So there’s that.

      But when has FG% ever factored in Sixth Man of the Year award voting? It is often a chuckers award. JR Smith just won it last year shooting 42%, for crying out loud. And if Ben Gordon can win the award shooting 41.1% then I’m sure Crawford can take it at 41.8%.

    • Savoir-Faire - Apr 15, 2014 at 6:49 PM

      The whole 41% angle is stupid ,nitpicky ,and some of it is basically lies .

      Crawford shoots 49% and 45% from three in the 4th quarter .

      he is 3rd in the league in 4th quarter scoring behind harden and Durant . how teh hell do the clippers get so many wins if Crawford hurts them ?

      People who don’t really understand the game run and post things like oh he shoots 41% without looking at the fact that he takes a large amount of threes so he is top then in 3 pt makes but he also gets nearly 5 fts per game so he is top 30 in ft attempts .

      So he is very very unique offensive player in that regard

      He does not take 17 shots per game he takes 14

      Crawford is not on this list because he simply scores more its because more games than not he dominates and can take over a game as well as anyone in the game when he is on

      That video of the Clippers-OKC game IN OKC is why Crawford is on the list . No one else on that list can go into OKC and put on a performance like that . Its a reason why he was a candidate for player of the month in february .

      The fact that so many kids want to insert fg% into argument basically cements the fact they don’t even understand the nature of the what a sixth man truly does in the first place .

      A true 6th man is about having the largest impact in a short amount of time not efficiency . Coaches dont put them in with expectations that they are gonna let the game come to them and take only the best possible shots . The yare put in the game to create opportunities that may not be there and to push the pace to their teams advantage .

      Now that could be offensively and defensively but fg% is not even a factor when you know a player can make those shots

  5. cantonb0und13 - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    What about Pablo Pagoni?

  6. 1harrypairatesties - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    Taj Gibson

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