Jason Terry's the Winner, but What Is an NBA Sixth Man?

Alice MeikleCorrespondent IApril 24, 2009

DALLAS - NOVEMBER 03:  Guard Jason Terry #31 of the Dallas Mavericks during play against the Cleveland Cavaliers on November 3, 2008 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

In the movies, if an actor steals the show and is actually on-par with the leading man or woman in his or her film, he or she is nominated for the “Best Supporting Role” award at the Oscars.

But in the game of basketball, there are five guys in the starting lineup, so the chance of having an equally skilled player on the bench is more likely, but his chances of making an impact are more valuable.

Over the years, the NBA has celebrated some of the best players with an award for the man who does the most off the pine. In case you're unaware, the prize is called the Sixth Man of the Year Award.

In an era where egos live at large in sports, the sixth man has to believe in himself and his team. He must be willing to sacrifice ego for the playing time given to him yet still hold it together to make a difference. The ideal sixth man is a leader, playmaker, shot-caller, and baller.  He is motivated and the ultimate teammate.

This year, the honor of "Most Wanted Reserve" went to the Dallas Mavericks' Jason Terry.


To be eligible for this award, a player must come off the bench in more games than he starts in the season. When it comes to tallying the count to determine the winner, guys were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote, and one point for each third-place vote.

Terry received 576 of a possible 605 points (including 111 of a possible 121 first-place votes) from a panel of 121 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. J.R. Smith of the Denver Nuggets finished second with 155 point,s and Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks finished third with 113 points.

As part of its support of the Sixth Man of the Year Award, Kia Motors America will donate either a new Borrego SUV or Sedona minivan on behalf of Terry to the Rock T. Youth Foundation in Dallas. Kia Motors will actually be presenting a brand new vehicle to the charity of choice of each of four 2008-09 season-end award winners as part of their sponsorship of the top performers.


A sixth man in 63 of 74 games played this season, Terry averaged 19.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.3 steals in 33.6 minutes. He shot .463 from the field, .366 from beyond the three-point line, and .880 from the free-throw line. Among NBA leaders, Terry ranked 10th in three-pointers made (167), 11th in free-throw percentage, 17th in steals, and tied for 22nd in scoring average.

This tenth-year veteran of the NBA averages more points than each of the last 18 Sixth Man of the Year winners and combined with Mavs teammate Dirk Nowitzki for the third-highest scoring average (45.5 ppg) among duos. The 6'2" guard had 33 games in which he scored at least 20 points as a reserve and 26 contests in which he matched or outscored the entire opposing bench.

The 2008-09 NBA Sixth Man Award is part of a series of on-court performance awards which also include the Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, and Most Improved Player Awards. Kia also sponsors the Eastern and Western Conference Player of the Month Awards throughout the season.