Utah Jazz teammates Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson and New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose were announced Thursday as the finalists for the 2020-21 NBA Sixth Man of the Year award.
The NBA announced finalists for every individual regular-season award Thursday ahead of the Indiana Pacers vs. Washington Wizards play-in tournament game.
Clarkson and Ingles have been the favorites for most of the season, with voters fracturing down two diametrically opposed viewpoints.
Clarkson is the traditional bucket-getter sixth man. His 18.4 points per game led all bench players during the regular season, and while he struggles at time with efficiency, Clarkson has been an integral addition for a Jazz team that sometimes lacks an off-the-dribble scoring punch when Donovan Mitchell sits.
That said, his contributions essentially end once you look past the scoring. Clarkson is an average defender and doesn't do much creating for others, averaging 2.5 assists per game.
Ingles, on the other hand, is an efficient analytics darling who helps the Jazz on both ends of the floor. Ingles outpaces Clarkson in most non-scoring categories and dominates him head-to-head in advanced stats. If the award is simply about who is the better basketball player of the two, Ingles would win in a landslide.
However, it's also worth considering that Ingles made 30 starts during the regular season—not enough to disqualify him from the award but enough he's far from a traditional "sixth man."
Rose is almost certain to finish in third place, having come on late in the season as the Knicks emerged as this season's most pleasant surprise. The former league MVP averaged 14.9 points and 4.2 assists in 35 games with the Knicks after coming over via trade from the Detroit Pistons.
While not as prolific a scorer as Clarkson or as strong all-around as Ingles, Rose finished the regular season with seven 20-point games in the Knicks' final 14 contests.