Sir Charles In Charge writers Michael Saenz, Andrew Melnick, Jalen Bishop and Hardeep Sahota rank the top players at each position in the NBA for the 2013-2014 season. This week long series will also include ranking the top sixth men and head coaches.
Jarrett Jack, Cleveland Cavaliers
Jack nearly won the award in 2013, but was outshined by J.R. Smith in the last two months. Jack was the leading cog of Golden State’s bench, averaging 12.5 points, 5.6 assists as well as 45% shooting from the field. His shooting numbers increased in the postseason, recording 17.2 points and shooting 50% from the field.
Jack will be the first guard off the bench for the Cavs this year as well as an insurance policy incase Irving misses significant time. The former Golden State Warrior is in a great place to succeed and is my pick to win the Sixth Man Award.
J.R. Smith, New York Knicks
For some odd reason Smith may be the starter instead of Iman Shumpert. I’ll assume Mike Woodson will be smart and start Shumpert.
Smith saw an increased minute workload(33.5 per game, a career high) last season and took off after the All-Star Break: 21.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 45% FG, 37% from three. He has one of the greenest lights in basketball and sometimes, well a lot, attempts some of the most egregious shots. Let’s try to forget his post-season too.
Despite his off the court theatrics and shot selection, J.R. is one of the most fun players to watch. The effects of knee surgery and suspension may hold him back but he will be in the discussion for the award again.
Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers
Another almost winner of last year’s award, Crawford posted 16.5 points per contest along with shooting 43% from the field and 37% behind the three-point line. One of league’s streakiest shooters, Crawford seems to always be on a hot streak but he can quickly go cold.
Possessing one of the league’s potent crossovers, Crawford is constantly beating defenders 1-on-1, making him a tough cover for any player.
Crawford will return this season leading the Clippers’ second team unit, which was arguably one of the best. It defended and scored very well, per 82games. He will be in contention for this award for the next few years.
Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors
There’s still much debate over whether who is starting for the Warriors at shooting guard. I imagine Klay Thompson will win the job due to his three point shooting and ability to space the floor. That being said, Barnes is in a prime position to be in the conversation for the award.
In the playoffs due to Lee’s injury, Barnes played as the power forward and blossomed in the San Antonio series. In twelve playoff games, his averages were 16.1 points, 6.4 rebounds plus 44/36/85 shooting splits. Barnes will be a reliable option off the bench as a scorer and defender.
Tyreke Evans, New Orléans Pelicans
As of now, head coach Monty Williams intends to bring Evans off the bench. There’s nothing tangible that I’m going off of, but a change of scenery could be what Evans needed. The Kings were a mess and I’m sure he’s happy to be out of there. A new role on the court could be more suitable too. Instead of going up against starters, Tyreke will be using his growing offensive game against second team players.
A dark-horse candidate for the Sixth Man award, Evans’ chances of winning likely hinge on the success of the Pelicans.