Who do you think will be crowned the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year for the 2018-19 season?
Scott Rafferty ( @crabdribbles ): I would've said Terry Rozier had you asked me this a week ago, but the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that Dennis Schröder will win Sixth Man of the Year this season.
Working against Rozier is that he's not the only player on the Boston Celtics' second unit who could receive votes for this award. (If he can stay healthy, Marcus Smart might also work his way onto the ballot this season). Schröder, on the other hand, is clearly the best player the Oklahoma City Thunder have coming off their bench.
Plus, based on how desperate the Thunder have been for someone who can keep the offense afloat when Russell Westbrook takes a seat on the bench, there's a clear path for Schröder to establish himself as a huge difference-maker on a team that should fight for homecourt advantage in the Western Conference this season.
There's no denying that the Schröder experiment might not pan out as the Thunder expect it to , but he's in a great situation to prove himself as the best sixth man in the league.
Gilbert McGregor ( @GMcGregor21 ): Tyreke Evans is in a great spot to win Sixth Man of the Year in 2018-19.
Evans is coming off of a career year with the Grizzlies in which he averaged 18.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 20 games as a reserve. Now, the 6-foot-6 do-it-all guard joins a playoff team in Indiana that's looking to make a jump to the next level; if the Pacers do make that jump, it will largely be a product of Evans' play.
Indiana's second unit that features the likes of Cory Joseph, Doug McDermott, Domantas Sabonis and Kyle O'Quinn will be lead by Evans, who is also likely to spend time in late-game lineups with members of the starting unit. WIth a role of a sixth starter and the potential to help the Pacers build upon last year's success, Evans should win the award this season.
Micah Adams ( @MicahAdams13 ): My prediction hinges on another prediction coming true: Jonas Valanciunas will eventually come off the bench in Toronto.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse has hinted that he'll offer up several different looks throughout the course of the season. One configuration we saw in the preseason in Vancouver was Valanciunas entering with the second unit.
As Toronto looks to play faster and Pascal Siakam continues to emerge as a playmaker, I envision Valanciunas shifting to a reserve role in which he would feast upon back-up bigs. In a league trending smaller with significantly fewer capable true bigs, there simply isn't enough depth down the bench for most teams to slow down Valanciunas without completely altering their rotations. As the number one scoring option for a group that looks to once again be among the league's elite second units, I could see Valanciunas thriving in a new sixth man role.
Kyle Irving ( @KyleIrv_ ): The Sixth Man of the Year will be Terry Rozier .
We got to see what Rozier was capable of in the playoffs last year, averaging 16.5 points, 5.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game with his uptick in minutes. After proving he's at the talent-level of a starting point guard in the NBA, he'll have to return to his role off the bench in favor of all-star guard Kyrie Irving this season. Many consider the Celtics' depth a main reason for why they're projected to represent the Eastern Conference in this year's Finals and Rozier will play a huge part in that, quarterbacking the second unit.
He enters this season on a contract year (with a qualifying offer in the 2019 offseason) and he'll be out to prove, again, that he has what it takes to start in this league. Head coach Brad Stevens has already made it very clear he intends to get Rozier 'as many minutes as possible' and we've already seen what Scary Terry can do with an increased opportunity. This time around, his production will result in a Sixth Man of the Year award.
James McKern ( @jLmcKern ): A year after making headlines by laughing off if he'd be coming off the bench, I'm fully in on the revolution of Carmelo Anthony being the sixth man of the year.
A move into the second unit will allow Melo to pick apart weaker defensive units and in Houston's offense of stretching the floor and launching as many threes as humanly possible will play right into his hands. Has stated he's willing to do 'whatever' it takes to win and as long as that mindset holds up, he'll flourish in his new role in Houston.
Melo still possesses the ability to heat up and torch defenses and will be a huge cog in the Rockets' machine. Expecting him to be on the floor down the stretch and be found by either Chris Paul or James Harden to knock down the game winning shot.