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Ryan Anderson is having a career year.
Ryan Anderson: F, New Orleans
The Sixth Man award generally goes to a player who helped his team reach the playoffs. That leaves Ryan Anderson, who plays for a 21-40 New Orleans Hornets team, seemingly out of the conversation.
Though he has started 19 games this season, when the Hornets are at full strength Anderson is coming off the bench.
A prolific three-point shooter, he is posting a career best 39.4 percent from long range and averaging a career-high 16.7 points per game.
He has an impressive 19.36 Player Efficiency Rating and has emerged as one of the biggest shooting threats on the Hornets.
At 6’10”, he grabs 6.5 rebounds per game while averaging 31 minutes.
If the Hornets were in playoff contention, Anderson would be seriously considered for the Sixth Man award.
Ray Allen: G, Miami
One of the greatest shooters in the history of the NBA, Ray Allen went to Miami to try and win another championship.
He knew he wouldn’t be the first or second scoring option on the team, but he has embraced his role and has performed consistently.
Averaging just under 11 points per game in about 26 minutes a game, his 45 percent shooting provides the Heat with a reliable scoring alternative to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. In terms of percentage, he’s the second best three-point shooter on the team (42.5), behind only Shane Battier.
Though he has some steep competition in the Sixth Man field, Allen is playing his part on the Heat and is giving LeBron and company a reliable kick-out option on the wings.
Manu Ginobili: G, San Antonio
Ginobili has dealt with injuries for the majority of the season, but he should still be mentioned in this group.
He’s been a reliable sixth man in the NBA for years and this year is no different. Ginobili is averaging 12.4 points and 4.5 assists a game in 48 games this season.
In recent weeks, his production has improved, and he’s a big reason why the Spurs are ahead of the pack in the Western Conference.
With Tony Parker set to miss time, the responsibility of Ginobili is going to increase. He had a career high 15 assists on March 1 against Sacramento.
He’s getting healthier and is a still a threat with the ball in his hands. He can score, find an open man and move without the ball.
Ginobili likely won’t win the award for Sixth Man this year, but he deserves the recognition.