Sixth Man of the Year
Kurt Helin: Jordan Clarkson (Jazz)
Clarkson fits the mold of past winners of this award such as Lou Williams and Jamal Crawford — a fearless and unrepentant gunner who comes in off the bench and just gets buckets. Clarkson is averaging 17.9 points a game and has helped lift Utah to the best record in the NBA. Eric Gordon has put up similar numbers (17.8 points per game) but the Rockets have not thrived with him on the court the same way. Thaddeus Young, Goran Dragic, Patty Mills, and Chris Boucher also are in the mix down the ballot.
Dan Feldman: Jordan Clarkson (Jazz)
Jordan Clarkson is the runaway favorite for this award, and he’s my choice so far. He has thrived in a high-volume role, posting big individual numbers and boosting Utah’s second-unit offense.
But I still view this as a close race. Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen barely trails Clarkson for this mid-season honor, though – now a starter – he won’t be eligible for the year-end-award. Neither will Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball, who deserves consideration so far. Ditto Spurs center Jakob Poeltl, who should remain a starter with LaMarcus Aldridge exiting.
Backup Bulls forward Thaddeus Young could really catch Clarkson by the end of the season. I don’t have Young behind by much. But that’s just me. Clarkson’s scoring puts him in prime position with actual voters.