Last week, the Toronto Raptors front office sent out a propoganda kit backing their Sixth Man of the Year Award candidate Lou Williams. The small box includes a cute booklet detailing Lou’s accomplishments throughout the year and, best of all, an "easy button" that plays Drake’s "6 Man" when you hit it.
Here’s a peek, along with an apropos reaction video from The Starters’ Trey Kerby.
What it's like reading the Raptors' Lou Williams 6 Man propaganda. https://t.co/qOLYh6ZvVp— Taco Trey Kerby (@treykerby) April 7, 2015
While that kit is nice if you’re a media member, those in charge of voting may not need convincing when it comes to voting for their Sixth Man nomination. If you look at the last ten award-winners, it’s easy to see that Lou Williams, a score-first guard, fits the prototype to a tee.
With the exception of Lamar Odom, all winners here are guards, but even Odom was a primary scorer for the 57-win 2011 Lakers. As for Lou Williams? The numbers speak for themselves, he fits the mold of past winners.
Lou is third in scoring for the Raptors, averaging 15.5 points per game. His per 100 possession scoring mark is 31.7, the best on the team. When Lou leads the team in scoring, the Raptors are 14-3 this season. On a league-wide basis, Lou leads all NBA reserves in most major scoring categories, including total points (1,226), three-pointers made (152), free throws made (330), and 25+ point games (11).
So, he’s a shoo-in for the award, right? Not so, in the minds of many nay-sayers, who will point to Williams’ shooting percentages, which are relatively paltry - 41% from the field, 32% from deep. His late clock isolations have been a point of frustration for Raptors fans all year. Finally, there’s an argument to be made that when Lou gets in a scoring mentality (which is often), Toronto does a lot of standing around and become less efficient as a team.
That may be reason for the NBA to pursue a different type of Sixth Man. Names thrown around include Tristan Thompson, a high energy big who impacts the players around him more than the overall scoresheet. Rudy Gobert, who came off the bench before the Enes Kanter trade, is a similar type of player. Nikola Mirotic is an exceptional scorer and has kept the Chicago Bulls afloat in the Eastern Conference this calendar year. Marreese Speights is the best bench player on the NBA’s best team, so you can’t count him out.
If the NBA sticks to tradition, though, there are two other players who fit the Sixth Man prototype. Both may be stronger players, but both have serious flaws in their candidacy. Two-time winner Jamal Crawford is again a candidate, but he’s been gone since the beginning of March with a calf injury. It’s hard to imagine him limping into the award. The other guy would be Isaiah Thomas, but after being traded at the deadline to Boston his path to winning is harder to consider.
Is Lou Williams going to win the Sixth Man of the Year Award? I would bet yes. It will take a lot for the NBA to change course and hand the trophy to a defender or rebounder. Though arguments persist that there are more deserving players, to me there isn't a stand-out name that would be an outright snub. Give Lou the inside track to go from 6 Man to Sixth Man.