NBA Predictions: Ranking Top 8 Sixth Man of the Year Candidates for 2012-13
As the 2012 off-season frenzy starts to slow down, many of the big name players have already landed on new teams. Each year there are a few players that switch teams and have a huge impact on the season, and in 2012-13 there will be a few new sixth men hoping to elevate their teams.
These are the top eight players who could win next year's Sixth Man of the Year Award.
8. O.J. Mayo, Dallas Mavericks
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The key word when discussing O.J. Mayo is consistency. Could a change in scenery help the new Maverick become a more all-around basketball player?
What is clear is that he will be battling with both Vince Carter and Delonte West for minutes at the shooting guard/combo guard position. He may be able to beat both of them out in camp, but because Mayo already has experience being the sixth man on a contending team, I would not be surprised to see him end up as the first sub off the bench.
The fact that he might start on the Mavericks has him far down on this list, as well as the fact that he hasn't shown the ability to play consistently within an offensive system yet.
Mayo is a tremendous offensive player when he is hot and if he can stay consistent for a whole year he could be a dark horse candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year.
7. Marcus Thornton, Sacramento Kings
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Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins are the bigger names but Marcus Thornton led the Kings in scoring last season.
With Isaiah Thomas firmly planting himself in the point guard role, the Kings should have a new look roster next season. While Evans may be more suited to being the hot scorer off the bench, Thornton may be the odd man out.
If he is the Kings sixth man, look for Thornton to be one of the breakout players next season.
6. Antawn Jamison, Los Angeles Lakers
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Last year the Lakers desperately needed a second perimeter scorer next to Kobe Bryant. They may have found him in the veteran Jamison.
Jamison's skills aren't as good as they once were with Washington, but he is still capable of controlling a ball game. He should get plenty of good looks on the reserve team and should be a great compliment to Los Angeles on offense.
Jamison started every game last season for Cleveland, but look for him to take a backseat role in L.A. This may actually be good for the 14-year pro, as he can focus on simply scoring the basketball and not having to carry the team on his back for long stretches of the game.
5. Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers
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Jamal Crawford has a few things going for him in his bid to be the Sixth Man of the Year.
For one, the Clippers have a multitude of guards, so he will almost surely be coming off the bench. Second, he shoots a ton and should score a fair number of points for Los Angeles. And last, the Clippers are everyone's second favorite team in the league. With Lob City happening around him, Crawford should get much more attention than he did in Portland.
Crawford suffers from the same lack of consistency that plagues O.J. Mayo. If he can learn to temper his shooting just a bit and try to increase his percentages, he could be a deadly offensive player for L.A.
4. Ray Allen, Miami Heat
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No one is doubting that Ray Allen can shoot a basketball, but some are wondering if his best days are behind him. Last season he averaged his lowest point production since his rookie season, but his three-point percentage was the highest that it has ever been.
Playing next to LeBron James will get Allen open looks, but he is leaving one of the best point guards in the game, Rajon Rondo, to join the Heat.
Allen was unhappy about starting on the bench at times behind Avery Bradley last season, so it should be interesting to see where the Heat place Allen.
He may have lost a step or two, but knowing Allen's conditioning and work ethic, it would be no surprise to see him return to a high level of play and take home the NBA's Sixth-Man of the Year.
3. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs
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If anyone was doubting Manu Ginobili's game heading into the 2012-13 season, he is putting on quite a show at the Olympics. Even as he grows older, Ginobili does not seem to have lost much.
Spurs coach Greg Popovich has never been one to back away from his convictions, so I would not expect to see Manu starting for the Spurs next season. If he can keep up his production from the Olympics, be on the lookout for Ginobili to take home his second Sixth Man award.
2. Jason Terry, Boston Celtics
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The former Sixth Man of the Year award winner, Terry has moved to Boston, where his scoring off the bench will be a great bolster to the Celtics' offense.
Terry has always been the example of what a true sixth man should be and now that he is a Celtic he should be able to shine in a new system. He will have less of the offensive burden on him, which should open him up to focus on his scoring and leading the second unit.
I fully expect Terry to succeed in Boston, but beating out the next man on the list will be a tough task.
1. James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder
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The winner of last year's award, James Harden is the favorite to repeat in 2012-13. "The Beard" is getting great experience playing in the Olympics, which is bolstered by the fact that Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are also on the team.
Harden is a great fit in the Thunder offense, and should continue to come in off the bench when the team needs a spark. He electrified both fans and his teammates and became a legitimate star last season.
If everything plays out like last season, Harden should be able to take home the award again. Ginobili, Allen and Terry should put up a good fight, but in the end Harden is too much of a force and will repeat as the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year.