Top Five Sixth-Men in the NBA Playoffs
The 2012 NBA playoffs are chock-full of championship contenders. Those championship contenders have benches that are anchored by great sixth men.
Oklahoma City's James Harden and Dallas' Jason Terry headline a great group of bench stars. Ranking those players is a difficult task, but someone has to have the fun of doing it. I suppose I'll take that bullet.
Here are the five best sixth men in these NBA playoffs.
5. Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls
Taj Gibson has been a big part of why the Chicago Bulls jumped out to one of the best records in the NBA this past season.
Unlike most sixth men, Gibson doesn't make his biggest impact in the scoring department but rather in defense and rebounding. The energy he brings to the games is also a big part of why he's on this list.
4. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs
Manu Ginobili has been one of the best sixth man in NBA history over the past decade.
The 57th overall pick in the 1999 NBA draft, Ginobili has won three NBA titles and was Sixth Man of the Year in 2008.
This year he is averaging 12.9 points per game on 52 percent shooting while also averaging over four rebounds and four assists per game, proving that, even at age 34, he's still a force to be reckoned with in the NBA.
3. Jason Terry, Dallas Mavericks
A Sixth Man of the Year award winner in 2009, Jason Terry proved he could help lead a team while coming off the bench on last year's championship-winning squad.
This year, he's averaged 15.1 points, 3.6 assists and 2.4 rebounds in his customary bench role. Those numbers aren't the best of his career, but they still make him one of the best bench guys in the league.
2. Lou Williams, Philadelphia 76ers
It is always impressive for an NBA player to lead his team in scoring. It is even more impressive when that player comes off the bench.
Lou Williams is that guy for Philadelphia. The combo guard has averaged 14.9 points, 3.5 assists and 2.4 rebounds for the 76ers, including scoring 20 points in Philadelphia's recent drubbing of Chicago. He has been the most consistent scorer on this playoff team and one of the best sixth men in the NBA.
1. James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder
Despite the aforementioned worthy candidates, James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder has run away with the Sixth Man of the Year Award this year.
Averaging 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists on 49 percent shooting, Harden has become the Thunder's best ball-handler and passer. The fact that this guy can win this award while sharing the ball and court with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook proves how good he is.