The NBA Realist: Glen Davis
I know that Lamar Odom will be the cute pick this year, but he has only been the 6th man 57% of time (47/82 games). And while Odom had a fantastic year as the 3rd scoring option on the Lakers – and coincidentally married the 3rd scoring option on the Kardashians – picking him would be in violation of the true spirit of the award. The award is supposed to go to the bench player who provides his team with a boost, not a hybrid who played nearly half of his games as a starter.
Glen “Big Baby” Davis came off the bench and provided a much needed boost to a Celtic’s lineup that suffered injuries to Jermaine O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kendrick Perkins, while averaging 12 points and 5 rebounds in 30 minutes per game. His efforts embody the true meaning of the honor.
Brown Mamba: Lamar Odom
Call him “The Goods”. Call him “The Candyman”. Call him “Mr. Kardashian”. Call him anything you want – but credit a man who has to listen to chants of U-G-L-Y S-I-S-T-E-R about his wife every game and still has managed to bring it on most nights for a Laker team desperately looking for someone to take the load off of Kobe and Pau. Yes, I realize that Odom has started many games and if you just looked at his stats for games off the bench, they drop to a very ordinary 13ppg/7.5rbpg/2.7apg on 49% shooting (vs. 57% as a starter). That being said, part of the role of a 6th man IS to step in when a starter goes down, and Odom has done that at a highly efficient and important level for the Lakers. Additionally, we have seen several times in history when the 6th man has played in many games as a starter, so there is historical precedent here. Perhaps most importantly, there is not a credible #2 here. Jason Terry has put up some decent stats, but his numbers have progressively dropped over the last few years. Beyond that, there have not been a ton of impactful 6th men to note in the NBA this year. Jamal Crawford, the other usual suspect to win this award has had an off-year as well, shooting a dismal 42% from the field and seeing his scoring average dip to 14ppg (with little to offer in any category outside of scoring). So Lamar, congrats – you’ve successful reinvented yourself from a guy with top 10 talent in the NBA, to the best 6th man of 2011!
Dave Sheridan: Lamar Odom
Inclined to look at previous winners of the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, two names should leap off your screen: Kevin McHale and Manu Ginobili.
Each of these NBA Sixth Man of the Year award winners share a similarity with Sheridan’s Sixth Man of the Year, Lamar Odom, all three of these players came off the bench to win the award but were sixth men only in theory. In theory, McHale, Ginobili and Odom earned sixth man labels, but in practice, each of these so called “bench players” should have been considered starters.
Odom is averaging 14.6 points per game, is shooting a robust 52.9 percent from the field, is averaging 8.7 rebounds a game, and is Lakers coach Phil Jackson’s answer to what usually ails his squad. Odom’s talents are unique, as is his role in Big Chief Triangle’s Zen mastery of the NBA, but any team would welcome the wide range of Odom’s skill to their city.
Marcas Grant: Lamar Odom
The argument has been made that because Odom plays the third most minutes of anyone on the Lakers roster, he should be ineligible. I think it’s that fact that wins him the award. Odom’s season has defined (or maybe re-defined) what a sixth man should be – an indispensible floor presence who just happens to not be in the starting lineup. He’s traditionally thrived off the bench, but this year he’s kicked it up a notch and averaged nearly a double-double (14.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg). Maybe there’s some truth to this Kardashian magic.
E-Dog: Lamar Odom
After two seasons of often mixed results as the Lakers’ 6th Man, Odom not only settled into the role this year, but played some of the best and most consistent basketball of his entire career. He improved significantly on offense, setting career highs in both overall and 3-point field-goal percentage, and as a result his point production jumped from 10.8 ppg last season to 14.4 ppg this season. He also maintained a high level on defense, and became a stabilizing force for an often-shaky bench.