Regular season awards are usually preceded by winning. Does it hold true for the Sixth Man of the Year Award? Yes. Taking a small sample size of the last five winners, each one was on a playoff team and, as you can imagine, each one was a pivotal factor that season. The Blazers have a starter coming off the bench — that’s usually who wins this award (Jason Terry, Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom, James Harden and J.R. Smith were the last five winners) — so Mo Williams will have his chance to shine off the bench.
The Numbers He Needs
The first thing that will play a role in Mo’s chances are his minutes. Each of the last eight Sixth Man of the Year Award winners averaged more than 30 minutes a game and Mo should get the same as both Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews‘ main backup. Now here are the numbers the last five winners put up on average: 32.4 minutes, 17.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Can Mo achieve these numbers given those minutes? Here are his numbers from the last three seasons where he saw those type of minutes:
As you can see, he is fully capable of putting up the type of numbers the last five winners have averaged — however, those were years when Mo was starting and he was “the man.” He has yet to show anything close to those numbers as a reserve. Here are his last three seasons overall — mixed with some starting and some reserve roles.
Even considering he was starting for some of those last years, Mo wasn’t able to put up the exemplary numbers from his younger days. So what makes me believe that he has the capability of pulling a Back to the Future move on us? Mo is finally with a franchise who really wants him and conversely he really wants to be here. Not only that, but he comes in knowing that he is the sixth man and has no illusions of starting over the franchise point guard — Damian Lillard. Often it’s not simply opportunity that breeds success, but the right opportunity at the right time; this is that time!
Did any of us really think that J.R. Smith was going to averaged 18 points a night when he was stinking it up in New Orleans and Denver? J.R. Smith’s career scoring average you ask? A very pedestrian 13.2 points per game, until last season when he seized that right opportunity and exploded for 18.1 points per game. Now I know you’re saying, “Yeah, but J.R. Smith is young and Mo is already old” — Mo Williams is only 30 years old people AND Mo is a former All-Star, something which J.R. Smith has yet to achieve.
Look I’m not saying it’s a lock — I’m not even saying he’s top three in the race, but I am saying that the prediction has legs and I’m runnin’ with em! Mo is a pivotal factor for the Blazers making the playoffs this year and when they do lock down that playoff spot and Mo is in the running for Sixth Man of the Year; you will look back on this article and think, “Dammit, that Chris is a smart, smart man and I hate him for it!”
Let me know what you think @Chris_Reichert on Twitter!