Awards - HOF? Part Sixty-Two: The NBA Sixth Man of the Year

Awards - HOF?  Part Sixty-Two:  The NBA Sixth Man of the Year
28 Dec
2021
Not in Hall of Fame

We here at Notinhalloffame.com thought it would be fun to take a look at the major awards in North American team sports and see how it translates into Hall of Fame potential.

Needless to say, different awards in different sports yield hall of fame potential.  In basketball, the team sport with the least number of players on a roster, the dividend for greatness much higher.  In baseball, it is not as much as a great individual season does not have the same impact.

Last time, we looked at the MLB All-Star Game MVP.  This time, we return to Basketball, with the NBA Sixth Man of the Year.

The trophy first came into existence in the 1982-83 Season, honoring the best player to come off the bench.

Let’s find out!

The following are the past players who have won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year who are eligible for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and have been enshrined.

1983: Bobby Jones, Philadelphia 76ers, 23.6 MP, 9.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.2 BPG.

Jones was a previous five-time All-Star, and would be an All-Defensive Player all eleven of his NBA season.  He would help the Sixers win the NBA Championship this year.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.

1984: Kevin McHale, Boston Celtics, 31.4 MP, 18.4 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.3 SPG, 1.5 BPG.

This was McHale’s fourth NBA season, and this was also his first All-Star Game year.  The Celtics went on to win the NBA Championship this year.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.

1985: Kevin McHale, Boston Celtics, 33.5 MP, 19.8 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.4 SPG, 1.5 BPG. (2)

McHale became the first player to repeat as Sixth Man of the Year, and the first to do so back-to-back.  He would become a starter afterward, went to six more All-Star Games, and won a third NBA Title in 1987.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.

1986: Bill Walton, Boston Celtics, 19.5 MP, 7.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.1 APG, 0.5 SPG, 1.3 BPG. 

By this time, Walton had already won an NBA Title, was a two-time All-Star, but had missed three full years due to foot issues.  He willed himself one last good season, coming off of the bench to help the Celtics win the NBA Title.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.

1996: Toni Kukoc, Chicago Bulls, 26.0 MP, 13.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.5 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.3 BPG. 

Kukoc joined the Bulls in 1994 after being a highly sought-after player in Europe, and this was his third season in the NBA.  He helped Chicago win the NBA Title the year before, and was in season 2 of Chicago’s second three-peat.  He entered the Hall via the International Committee.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2021.

The following are the players who have won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year who are eligible for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and have not been selected:

1987: Ricky Pierce, Milwaukee Bucks, 31.7 MP, 19.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.3 BPG. 

Pierce was in his fifth NBA season, third with Milwaukee, and it was his best season to date.  He notably started 31 Games this year.

Eligible Since 2004.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com.  

1988: Roy Tarpley, Dallas Mavericks, 28.5 MP, 13.5 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.1 BPG. 

Tarpley was an NBA sophomore and became the first Sixth Man of the Year to average a double-double.  He would later be suspended for two years on two different occasions due to substance abuse and never lived up to his potential.

Eligible Since 2003.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com.  

1989: Eddie Johnson, Phoenix Suns, 29.2 MP, 21.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.3 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.1 BPG. 

Johnson was in year right of an 18-year career, but this was the last of three years where he averaged over 20 Points per Game.  This was the only individual award he won as a pro.

Eligible Since 2005.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com.  

1990: Ricky Pierce, Milwaukee Bucks, 29.0 MP, 23.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.3 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.1 BPG. (2)

Pierce would be an All-Star the year after, the same season he was traded to Seattle, but this season would see the Guard post his career-high in Points per Game.

Eligible Since 2004.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com.  

1991: Detlef Schrempf, Indiana Pacers, 32.1 MP, 16.1 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.7 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG. 

Schrempf became the first non-American to win the Sixth Man of the Year, and this was his sixth season in the NBA.

Eligible Since 2007.  Ranked #21 Notinhalloffame.com

1992: Detlef Schrempf, Indiana Pacers, 32.6 MP, 17.3 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 3.9 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.5 BPG. (2)

This was Schrempf’s last year coming off the bench, and he was an All-Star the following year.  He achieved greater fame when he joined Seattle.

Eligible Since 2007.  Ranked #21 Notinhalloffame.com

1993: Cliff Robinson, Portland Trail Blazers, 31.4 MP, 19.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, 2.0 BPG. 

Robinson was in his fourth season of an 18-year career, and was an All-Star the next season.

Eligible Since 2013.  Ranked #87 Notinhalloffame.com. 

1994: Dell Curry, Charlotte Hornets, 26.5 MP, 16.3 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.3 BPG. 

Curry came off the bench for the majority of his career, and this was his best season, with a career-high 16.3 Points per Game.

Eligible Since 2008.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com 

1995: Anthony Mason, New York Knicks, 32.4 MP, 9.9 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 3.1 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.3 BPG. 

This was Mason’s last season as a non-starter, and he was an All-Star the next year.

Eligible Since 2013.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

1997: John Starks, New York Knicks, 26.5 MP, 13.8 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.1 BPG. 

Starks was an All-Star three years before, and though this was his first year off the bench since 1991/92, he had similar numbers that he did when he was a starter.

Eligible Since 2008.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com. 

1998: Danny Manning, Phoenix Suns, 25.6 MP, 13.5 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.7 BPG. 

An All-Star in 1993 and 1994, Manning was in his ninth NBA season, but also the last where he averaged over 10 Points per Game.

Eligible Since 2008.  Ranked #92 Notinhalloffame.com

1999: Darrell Armstrong, Orlando Magic, 30.0 MP, 16.2 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 6.1 APG, 2.1 SPG, 0.1 BPG. 

Armstrong was in his fifth NBA season, and this was his best, with a career-high in Points per Game and PER (22.2).  Armstrong also won the most Improved Player of the Year this season.

Eligible Since 2014.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com 

2000: Rodney Rogers, Phoenix Suns, 27.9 MP, 13.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.6 BPG. 

This was Rogers’ second year of five straight where he was coming off of the bench, and this was his most effective.  Rogers had a career-high PER of 17.1 and Win Shares (2.7).

Eligible Since 2011.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com 

2001: Aaron McKie, Philadelphia 76ers, 31.5 MP, 11.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.1 BPG. 

The Sixers made the Finals this year, largely on the back of Allen Iverson.  This was one of only three seasons that McKie had at least 10 Points per Game.

Eligible Since 2011.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com 

2002: Corliss Williamson, Detroit Pistons, 21.8 MP, 13.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.3 BPG. 

Williamson won his only individual award in the NBA this year, and two years later he would win the NBA Title with the Pistons.

Eligible Since 2013.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com 

2003: Bobby Jackson, Sacramento Kings, 28.4 MP, 15.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.1 BPG. 

An All-Rookie in 1998, Jackson won his second and last individual accolade as a pro.  Jackson posted career highs in Points per Game, Win Shares (5.5) and VORP (2.1)

Eligible Since 2015.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com 

2004: Antawn Jamison, Dallas Mavericks, 29.0 MP, 14.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 0.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.4 BPG. 

This was the only year that Jamison was with Dallas, and he made the most of it, setting a career-high in PER (21.2).  Jamison would later go to two All-Star Games, both with Washington.

Eligible Since 2018.  Ranked #81 on Notinhalloffame.com

2005: Ben Gordon, Chicago Bulls, 24.4 MP, 15.1 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.1 BPG. 

Gordon was also an All-Rookie this year, and he became the first rookie to win the Sixth Man of the Year Award.

Eligible Since 2019.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com 

2006: Mike Miller, Memphis Grizzlies, 30.6 MP, 13.7 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.7 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.4 BPG. 

Miller was in his sixth season, with this being the only year in his first ten that he regularly came off of the bench.  He later won two NBA Championships with the Heat.

Eligible Since 2021.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com 

2007: Leandro Barbosa, Phoenix Suns, 32.7 MP, 18.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG. 

Barbosa was in his fourth NBA Season, and set personal bests in Assists and Points per Game, and his 18.4 PER would be his second best.

Eligible Since 2021.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com 

2008: Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs, 31.1 MP, 19.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 4.5 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.4 BPG. 

Ginobili played his entire career with the Spurs, and was a two-time All-Star, once prior to this year, and one after.  He had a career-high in Points per Game, as well as PER (24.3), Win Shares (11.1) and VORP (6.0).  Ginobili won four NBA Championships over his career.

Eligible Since 2022.  Ranked #3 on Notinhalloffame.com

2009: Jason Terry, San Antonio Spurs, 33.0 MP, 16.6 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG. 

Terry had a long career with this being his 11th Season in the NBA, and he would help Dallas win the NBA Championship.  

Eligible Since 2022.  Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com

2011: Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Lakers, 32.2 MP, 14.4 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 3.0 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.7 BPG. 

Odom helped the Lakers win the NBA Title the two years before, and this season he posted career bests in Win Shares (10.1) and PER (19.4). 

Eligible Since 2019.  Ranked #107 on Notinhalloffame.com

Let’s update our tally, shall we?       

Award in Question

Percentage of recipients who have entered the HOF

Percentage of recipients by year who have entered the HOF.

NBA MVP

100%

100%

NHL Art Ross

100%

100%

NHL Hart Trophy

93.6%

96.3%

NBA Finals MVP

91.3%

94.9%

NHL Norris

90.5%

96.4%

NHL Ted Lindsay Award

90.0%

 

NBA All-Star Game MVP

89.5%

91.7%

NHL Conn Smythe

74.2%

85.4%

NFL Bert Bell Award

73.7%

71.4%

NFL AP Offensive Player of the Year

73.1%

79.4%

NFL AP MVP

68.3%

74.0%

NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year

66.7%

66.7%

NHL Lady Byng

63.8%

76.0%

NFL Defensive Player of the Year

60.8%

71.1%

NFL Super Bowl MVP

60.6%

64.9%

NHL Mark Messier Leadership Award

60.0%

60.0%

NBA Defensive Player of the Year

58.3%

56.5%

NHL Vezina

57.1%

66.3%

NBA Rookie of the Year

56.5%

56.5%

MLB MVP

55.0%

60.2%

NFL Pro Bowl MVP

52.3%

54.8%

MLB Lou Gehrig Award

51.9%

51.9%

MLB Roberto Clemente Award

47.4%

47.4%

NHL Calder Trophy

46.5%

46.5%

NBA J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award

46.0%

46.0%

MLB/NL/AL Cy Young Award

44.4%

55.4%

MLB All-Star Game MVP

41.3%

44.0%

MLB Babe Ruth Award

37.0%

39.3%

NHL King Clancy Award

36.8%

36.8%

NHL Frank J. Selke Trophy

33.3%

36.7%

MLB World Series MVP

33.3%

36.8%

MLB Hutch Award

33.1%

33.1%

NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

28.6%

28.6%

NHL Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

27.9%

27.9%

MLB Edgar Martinez Award

26.7%

17.2%

MLB Delivery Man of the Year

25.0%

50.0%

MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Designated Hitter)

25.0%

30.8%

MLB Comeback Player of the Year

25.0%

25.0%

MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Shortstop)

23.5%

52.6%

MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove

21.7%

36.8%

NHL William M. Jennings Trophy

20.7%

40.4%

NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year

20.6%

20.6%

MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Catcher)

20.0%

22.5%

MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove (Second Base)

18.8%

39.8%

MLB Rolaids Reliever of the Year

18.6%

33.3%

MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove (Shortstop)

18.2%

35.1%

MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Pitcher)

18.2%

20.1%

MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Second Base)

16.7%

32.7%

MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove (Outfield)

16.7%

30.1%

NBA Sixth Man of the Year

16.7%

18.5%

MLB NLCS/ALCS MVP

16.1%

15.3%

MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Outfield)

15.7%

25.2%

MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove (Third Base)

14.3%

14.3%

MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (Third Base)

13.6%

14.3%

MLB (NL/AL) Silver Slugger (First Base)

13.6%

13.3%

MLB (NL/AL) Rookie of the Year

13.3%

13.3%

MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove (Catcher)

10.3%

15.2%

MLB Hank Aaron Award

9.1%

14.3%

NBA Most Improved Player of the Year

5.3%

3.2%

MLB (NL/AL) Gold Glove (First Base)

3.8%

3.2%

NFL AP Comeback Player of the Year

0.0%

0.0%

So, who is up next?

The following are the players who have won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year in the NBA who have retired but have not met the mandatory years out of the game to qualify for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame: 

2010: Jamal Crawford, Atlanta Hawks, 31.1 MP, 18.0 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 3.0 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.2 BPG. 

Jamal Crawford was in his 11th Season in the NBA, but truly his first since he was a sophomore where he settled in as a bench player.  He set career highs in PER (18.4), Win Shares (7.3) and VORP (2.7).

Eligible in 2024.  

2013: J.R. Smith, New York Knicks, 33.5 MP, 18.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.3 BPG. 

This was the best regular season of Smith’s career, as he had career-highs in Rebounds and Points per Game, as well as Win Shares (6.7).  He would later win two Titles, one with Cleveland (2016), and the Lakers in his final NBA Season (2020).

Eligible in 2024.  

2014: Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers, 30.3 MP, 18.6 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 3.2 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.2 BPG. (2)

Crawford became the first player to win the Sixth Man of the Year for two different teams.

Eligible in 2024.  

2016: Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers, 26.9 MP, 14.2 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 2.3 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.2 BPG. (3)

Crawford made history as the first player to win the Sixth Man of the Year three times.

Eligible in 2024.  

The following are the past players who have won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year who are eligible for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and are still active.

2012: James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder, 31.4 MP, 16.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.2 BPG

The Thunder went to the NBA Finals this year, and Harden was shockingly traded to the Rockets after the year.  He would later be a three-time Scoring Champion and an MVP winner.

32 Years Old, Playing for the Brooklyn Nets.

2015: Lou Williams, Toronto Raptors, 25.2 MP, 15.5 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.1 BPG

Williams was in his tenth season in the NBA, and the only one as a Raptor, and his 15.5 PPG, was at that time the highest of his career.

35 Years Old, Playing for the Atlanta Hawks.

2017: Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets, 31.0 MP, 16.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.5 BPG

An All-Rookie Selection in 2009 as a Clipper, Eric Gordon won his next honor eight years later with his third team, Houston

33 Years Old, Playing for the Houston Rockets.

2018: Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers, 32.8 MP, 22.6 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Williams won his second Sixth Man of the Year, and this was the first year that he cracked over 20 Points per Game, with his 22.6 setting a personal best.  His 6.7 Win Shares would also be a career-high.

35 Years Old, Playing for the Atlanta Hawks.

2019: Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers, 26.6 MP, 20.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 5.4 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.1 BPG

Williams had his second straight 20 PPG year, and he tied the record with his third Sixth Man of the Year Award.

35 Years Old, Playing for the Atlanta Hawks.

2020: Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Clippers, 27.8 MP, 18.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.6 SPG, 1.1 BPG

Harrell was in his fifth season, and final one with the Clippers.  His PPG that year is currently his career-high.

28 Years Old, Playing for the Washington Wizards.

2021: Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz, 26.7 MP, 18.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.5 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.1 BPG

Clarkson won his first individual award in his eighth NBA season since being an All-Rookie.

29 Years Old, Playing for the Utah Jazz.

So, what is up next?

We stay with Basketball, and look at the awards from the defunct ABA.

As always, we thank you for your support, and look for that soon.

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Committee Chairman

Kirk Buchner, "The Committee Chairman", is the owner and operator of the site.  Kirk can be contacted at [email protected] . Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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