The NBA's Top Half-a-Game Player

Jackie MoonCorrespondent IApril 21, 2008

Congratulations go out to Manu Ginobili for winning the 2007-08 Sixth Man award. Ginobili is an amazing talent on both ends of the floor. The Argentinian is also a proven clutch scorer and a great asset to the San Antonio Spurs team.

But giving out an award for the "sixth man" seems pretty arbitrary doesn't it? Jeff Van Gundy echoed this sentiment during the Lakers-Denver telecast when he asked, "Why not give an award for the twelfth man?"

Actually, it's not as arbitrary as Van Gundy makes it out to be, as the criteria for the award is that a player comes off the bench in more games than he starts. So technically, your twelfth man could be in contention for the award if he fits that criteria.

However, I've never understood the fascination with starting. If you were given a choice as a player to start, but play fewer minutes, OR come off the bench, but play more minutes, wouldn't you want to play more minutes?

Aye, there's the rub. If you look at Manu Ginobili's stats, you'll see that he played 31.1 minutes a game this season. That's more than Rasheed Wallace, who starts for the Detroit Pistons, with 30.5 minutes per game.

So what criteria would I have for the "Sixth Man" award? Well, I would change the criteria to a maximum minutes per game. What amount of minutes would be good? Let's say half a game, so no more than 24 minutes a game. We might as well change the name of the award to "The Best Half-a-Game Player" award. Actually, we'll let Manu have his shine, and just add this award as a new category.

If we use the actual voting for the Sixth Man award, we can eliminate those players receiving votes but not fitting the criteria, and we will be left with this year's candidates for "Best Half-a-Game Player".

So, who didn't make the cut? We know Manu doesn't meet the criteria. So he's off. Leandro Barbosa and Jason Terry played 29.5 MPG and 31.5 MPG, respectively, so they're out of the running. Ben Gordon, Josh Childress, James Posey, Travis Outlaw, Jerry Stackhouse, Rashard McCants, Jarrett Jack, David Lee, and Andres Nocioni all missed the cut by virtue of playing more than half the game. It's worth noting that Posey, Stackhouse, and Nocioni all missed the cut by the slightest of margins.

So we are left with our candidates for Best Half-a-Game player, in reverse order for dramatic effect:

6. Louis Williams, Philadelphia Sixers, 23.4 MPG

5. Jordan Farmar, Los Angeles Lakers, 20.6 MPG

4. Linas Kleiza, Denver Nuggets, 23.9 MPG

3. Jason Maxiell, Detroit Pistons, 21.5 MPG

2. J.R. Smith, Denver Nuggets, 19.2 MPG

And your 2007-08 NBA Best Half-a-Game Player is ....

KYLE KORVER of the Utah Jazz!

Congratulations to Kyle for his half-a-game contributions to the Utah Jazz. He was a great mid-season addition to the team. His dead eye 3 point shooting (37.5% on 296 attempts)opened up the floor for the Jazz, and his accurate free-throw shooting (91.5%) helped close out many a game. And he did it all playing only 23.1 minutes a game.

Great job Kyle!