The NBA Sixth Man of the Year is a coveted and also important award. Honors like the MVP award hold most of the glory, but the Sixth Man of the Year award shows the strength and importance of the bench unit. Recent winners include Montrezl Harrell, Jordan Clarkson, and most recently Tyler Herro. There’s plenty of bench talent to make this a heated competition throughout the season.
Schroder recently signed with the Lakers and brings the offensive help they desperately need. He split time between the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets last season but was a Laker in 2021. During his last season with the Lakers, Schroder averaged about 15 points and six assists per game. He can provide relief for Russell Westbrook, who seems to be on the decline.
Powell averaged about 19 points per game last season, albeit on an injured Clippers squad. Now, however, he’ll have the task of backing up Paul George and even Kawhi Leonard to an extent. Powell is certainly capable, and will consistently score in bunches off the bench. His past pedigree alone suggests that he’s one of the top bench players in the entire league.
One dark horse to watch is Christian Wood of the Dallas Mavericks. His talent alone makes him starter-worthy, but it would come as no surprise to see the Mavericks utilize Reggie Bullock and Dorian Finney-Smith at the forward spots and JaVale McGee at center. Wood will be in the conversation should he come off the Dallas bench consistently.
Herro can easily be a starter for the Heat, but last year they often opted for Duncan Robinson and Max Strus. Even if that’s the case again, Herro will compete with Jimmy Butler as the Heat’s leading scorer. Last season he averaged about 21 points, five rebounds, and four assists per game. These are near All-Star numbers, and Herro was doing this from the bench. It’s no surprise that he won the Sixth Man of the Year award last season. It also helped that he played starter numbers at nearly 33 minutes per game.
Poole broke out and was phenomenal last season, averaging about 19 points, three rebounds, and four assists per game. He shined in the Warriors’ title run as well, averaging about 17 points per game. Poole has earned his spot as an additional “Splash Brother.”
He did see a lot of floor time last season due to the early absence of Klay Thompson. Thompson was back throughout the playoffs, though, and Poole still found a way to play 28 minutes per game. He can slot in at both guard positions and excel, so Steve Kerr will find a way to use him. If the Warriors compete for the top of the NBA, as they’re expected to do, Poole will be a key contributor and a Sixth Man of the Year favorite.