The NBA award races are always exciting to keep an eye on throughout the season, and the same should hold true in 2022-23. Almost every award is wide-open heading into the year, and the Sixth Man of the Year category is no exception.
Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro earned the honor this past season after averaging 20.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game, but after starting in all 10 of his appearances thus far, it seems he’ll no longer be in the running.
Who will earn the honor of being the NBA’s best bench player in 2022-23?
NBA Sixth Man of the Year Odds 2023
These NBA gameday odds are current as of Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 3 p.m. ET and courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
- Russell Westbrook (+160)
- Jordan Poole (+350)
- Christian Wood (+850)
- Bobby Portis (+1500)
- Malcolm Brogdon (+1600)
- Bennedict Mathurin (+2100)
- Nah’Shon Hyland (+2700)
- Collin Sexton (+3500)
- Norman Powell (+6500)
- Trey Murphy III (+6500)
- Kevin Love (+8000)
- Jaylen Nowell (+8000)
- John Wall (+8000)
NBA Sixth Man of the Year Favorites
Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers (+160)
Say what you will about Westbrook, but the veteran point guard has been downright great since the Lakers removed him from the starting rotation.
In three games as a starter, Westbrook averaged just 10.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists while shooting 28.9% from the field. In six games off the bench, he’s up to 19.3 points, 6.8 assists, and 5.3 rebounds and shooting 51.3% from the field, including 48% from beyond the arc.
Time will tell if Westbrook remains with the Lakers or if this move to the bench is even permanent, but if he can keep playing like this all season, he’ll be a shoo-in to be named Sixth Man of the Year.
Jordan Poole, Golden State Warriors (+350)
Poole came on strong in his third NBA season, posting averages of 18.5 points, 4.0 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game. He wasn’t in consideration for this award last year since he started in 51 of his 76 appearances, but when Golden State is at full strength, he’s utilized in a reserve role.
Poole was surprisingly efficient this past season, posting shooting splits of .448/.364/.925 after struggling across the board in his first two years. And even though he comes off the bench for this Warriors team, he’s still good to log around 30 minutes each night.
That’s been the case so far this season, too. Through the first 11 games, Poole has come off the bench nine times. And while his efficiency is down, he’s still averaging 15.2 points and dishing out a career-high 4.9 assists per game.
Poole needs to step it up a bit to maintain his standing in this race, but even still, he’s in a good position to win it.
NBA Sixth Man of the Year Contenders
Christian Wood, Dallas Mavericks (+850)
Wood has gotten off to a strong start in his debut season with the Dallas Mavericks, averaging an efficient 15.6 points and 7.8 rebounds in just 24.7 minutes per game. Not only has the big man been great around the rim, but he’s also connecting on 46.2% of his three-point attempts thus far.
Playing with Luka Dončić has given Wood a significant lift and made life easier for him, but he’s also displayed the ability to get his own shot as well. While almost all of his threes have been assisted, only 46.2% of his twos were set up by another player.
If Westbrook finds himself in a different situation, Wood would become my top choice to win this award. The fact that he’s more than just a pure scorer offers a big boost to his stock.
Bobby Portis, Milwaukee Bucks (+1500)
Portis has revived his career with the Milwaukee Bucks, playing a vital role for the 2020-21 team that won a championship and earning a lucrative contract with the franchise this past summer.
The energetic big man has looked great so far this year as well, averaging 13.1 points and 11.1 rebounds in just 25.5 minutes per game. He’s already logged six double-doubles, too, including a 21-rebound performance in a win over the Thunder.
Milwaukee is very clearly committed to him, so the minutes should continue to be there once Khris Middleton returns. However, his usage should drop quite a bit once that happens, which could decrease his shot attempts and rebound rate.
NBA Sixth Man of the Year Sleepers
Malcolm Brogdon, Boston Celtics (+1600)
Brogdon is clearly enjoying his new role on a competitive team. After three years of putting up big numbers for the Indiana Pacers, he’s playing a key part off the bench for the Boston Celtics, who just went to the NBA Finals this past year.
Brogdon has unsurprisingly been efficient, posting averages of 14.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in just 23.8 minutes per game. The former 50/40/90 club member is shooting an impressive 46.7% from the field and sinking over 90% of his free throw attempts as well.
His two-way impact is one potential reason why he could win this award over others, but unless his counting stats jump up dramatically, he probably doesn’t have much of a chance.
Bennedict Mathurin, Indiana Pacers (+2100)
Rookie of the Year seems out of the question for Mathurin thanks to the dominant play of Paolo Banchero, but perhaps the Sixth Man of the Year award is in his future instead?
The 20-year-old has looked terrific off the bench for this Pacers squad, averaging 19.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game while sinking 40.3% of his attempts from beyond the arc. He’s absolutely fearless and immensely talented for his age.
My only concern here is that Mathurin likely won’t come off the bench forever. A trade seems likely at some point this season for the Pacers, which could bump Mathurin into the starting rotation before too long.
NBA Sixth Man of the Year Prediction
Christian Wood, Dallas Mavericks
I don’t think Westbrook will come off the bench or be with the Lakers for the duration of the season, and Poole’s struggles give me pause. Because of that, I’m recommending a bet on Wood right now.
He’s looked great to begin the year, and as he further integrates himself into this Dallas offense alongside Luka Dončić, things will only get better for him.