UHM’s 2016-17 NBA Regular Season Award Predictions
NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award
Brandon Knight – Phoenix Suns
When I first looked at this award I was going to go with Andre Iguodala as my pick to win until I looked at the NBA teams depth charts and learned that Brandon Knight will come off of the bench this year for the Suns and he quickly became my new pick. Knight will play a mix of point guard (behind starter Eric Bledsoe) and shooting guard (behind new starter Devin Booker) so 28-30 minutes per game seems highly reasonable. Last season Knight had a career year averaging 20 points and 5 assists per game as a Starter so clearly the ability to produce is there. With Bledsoe coming off of a year where he was very limited due to injury, his minutes may be restricted starting the season which would give Knight even more opportunities to produce. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Knight ended up starting over Bledsoe before the year is over, but since he’ll definitely start the season coming off of the bench he’s my pick to win the award this year; you have to come off of the bench more times than you start in order to qualify for the award.
2016-17 Projected Stats: 15.2 Points, 5.3 Assists and 1.6 Steals per game (28 Minutes per game)
2nd Option – Jamal Crawford (Los Angeles Clippers): Crawford is still one of the most consistent scorers in the NBA. In fact, Crawford is last year’s winner of the award setting an NBA record as the only player in history to win the award 3 times (Atlanta Hawks (2010), Los Angeles Clippers (2014 and 2016). He’s still clearly very productive and he’ll continue to play a huge role in the Clippers second unit as he always does. I wouldn’t be stunned seeing him with the award for a 4th time.
Dark Horse Candidate – Kris Dunn (Minnesota Timberwolves): I don’t know if Dunn will start the season as the “Sixth Man” per se for the Timberwolves, but I do know that he fits Coach Thibs style of coaching much better than a finesse Ricky Rubio. Dunn is a hard nose defensive minded player who can also distribute the ball so I can see him being the closer/starter at point guard late in games later on this season; Dunn is my Dark Horse pick.