In the lead-up to the 2019-20 NBA season, our NBA.com Staff will be rolling out predictions for each end of season award.
Today, we're focusing on the honour for the best reserve: The Sixth Man of the Year award.
Will Lou Williams win the award for an unprecedented third-straight time? Or will we see a new winner, such as Williams teammate Montrezl Harrell, Nets prolific guard Spencer Dinwiddie or Pelicans sharpshooter JJ Redick?
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): Part of me wants to go with JJ Redick, but I think Lou Williams will win the award again.
Williams has been named Sixth Man of the Year two seasons in a row, but he shouldn't suffer from voter fatigue because he now has a chance to prove himself as a difference-maker on a title contender for the first time in his career. While Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will undoubtedly lead the way for the Clippers, Williams' scoring off the bench will be important as ever and there's a good chance that he'll close games for LA because of how he complements Leonard and George, both as a shooter and someone who can take the pressure off of them as a playmaker.
Even if his scoring does drop from the 21.3 points per game he's averaged over the last two seasons, Williams should still get a lot of love from voters if he can help the Clippers reach their full potential.
Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): He's done it three times already in his career, including the past two seasons, and somehow, I think the case for Lou Williams to win Sixth Man of the Year will be stronger than ever before this year.
This Clippers team is undoubtedly the best team Williams has been a part of in his career, and he's mastered the art of getting buckets off of the bench.
Last season, Lou Will averaged a team-high 20.0 points per game while coming off the bench in 74 out of the 75 games he appeared in. Now, with opposing defences having to worry about Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, Williams will continue to terrorize second units while also causing problems for starters when he runs with the Clippers' first unit.
Naturally, with more scorers in tow, Williams production is likely to go down some, but not drastically. Williams already makes it look effortless on the offensive and things should only become easier for him this upcoming season thanks to LA's now star-studded roster.
I think this one is Lou's to lose.
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): It's going to be Lou Williams. There's no other player I'd even consider this season.
He's won Sixth Man of the Year two years in a row now and it'll practically be uncontested this season. The narrative lines up perfectly for Lou Will to become the all-time leader in the award category, breaking his tie with Jamal Crawford at three Sixth Man of the Year awards apiece. Williams will be the ultimate supersub for the Clippers, who will be one of the best teams in the NBA.
He averaged a team-high 20 points per game last season and while that number will likely go down with the additions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers will still rely on Williams to handle the bulk of the scoring load for their second unit and he'll still close games when LA is in need of an offensive burst.
Putting up numbers like that off the bench and making key contributions to a team that will finish near the top of the loaded Western Conference, Lou Will is a lock to take home this award.
Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): While everyone else picks Lou Williams, I'm going with Spencer Dinwiddie.
Dinwiddie was one of the best reserve scorers in the league a season ago, averaging 16.8 points per game - just a couple of buckets less than Lou Will. If you factor in that Williams will now have to share shots with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, we can expect his scoring average to drop. Dinwiddie will have a superstar duo to share the court with in Brooklyn eventually, but for now, Kyrie Irving won't take too many looks away from him.
Dinwiddie is a solid closer in the mould of Lou Will, and he'll get to share the floor in closing situations alongside Kyrie who'll be out to prove he's one of the NBA's best teammates.
Dinwiddie might very well lead the league in bench scoring. The only thing that will hold him back from winning the awards is if he's forced into the starting lineup too many times with Irving or Caris LeVert missing time.
Benyam Kidane (@BenyamKidane): I'm rocking with Kyle Kuzma to take home the trophy.
With Danny Green at the two, LeBron at the three and Anthony Davis playing power forward, Kyle Kuzma will likely be the man squeezed out of the Lakers' starting lineup, but that could mean big things for the 24-year-old.
Kuzma coming off the bench will allow the Lakers to stagger James and Davis' minutes and allow the third-year forward to feast on second units. His versatility, size and shooting should see him close out games for the Lakers and come close to the 33 minutes per game he averaged last season as a starter.
In 2018-19, he averaged 18.7 points per game. If he can replicate that production as the first man off the bench, coupled with the intense spotlight the Lakers will be under this season, Kuzma has a chance to shine in a new role on what will be one of the best teams in the league.
Yash Matange (@yashmatange2694): Lou Williams.
This is true for almost all the awards but it's probably more prominent for this one - the player and team must be on the same page with respect to his role on the team. The player needs to embrace coming off the bench, playing and excelling in that role for the benefit of the team.
And no player has done that better than Williams, especially over the last few years. He could easily be a starter on few other teams in the league but he has embraced the role of a valuable reserve in a Clippers organisation that has been moving in the right direction for quite some time.
I agree with Gil - this award is Lou's to lose.
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