Session 2, The Awards Segment, Part 3:
The Brook-Lin scribes are actively watching the playoffs keeping our sights on which free agents perform well and putting on our thinking caps for what this summer will bring. As the team gears up for the offseason we conducted a series of roundtable sessions reflecting back on the 2017-18 season.
In this the second segment the scribes make their selections for NBA Awards 2017-18. Additionally, we also take a look at if and when any Brooklyn Nets might find their names included in the end of season awards. In part three of the four part Awards Segment we dive into reserves as sixth men and All NBA Teams. Moreover we examine Caris LeVert and other Nets reserves for their potential and ponder future All NBA Nets player potential.
Pick your top 3 Sixth Man Candidates.
Lead candidate Fred Van Vleet looked like the next incarnation of Kyle Lowry in spearheading the dominant Toronto Raptors bench. FVV causes havoc defensively despite his size and offered much needed smart ball movement and reliable shooting to the revamped Raptors. Runner up Lou Williams had the best shooting season of his career to surprisingly become the lead option of the Clippers offense by midseason.
Lou Will’s scoring was so potent his usual suspect defense became a lapsed memory as the Clippers made a playoff push even with little Blake Griffin play this season (and ever again). Third-place goes to the Heat’s Kelly Olynyk who thrived as a stretch big in his first year under Spoelstra. Olynyk offers decent resistance defensively despite having the leaping ability of a penguin and has even proven himself as a weapon attacking closeouts.
Lou Williams, G, Los Angeles Clippers: Williams averaged 22.9 points per game this year while starting in just 19 contests. He’s the Sixth Man of the Year, and frankly it’s not even close.
Fred VanVleet, PG, Raptors: The former Wichita State Shocker made a leap from irrelevancy this year and became one of the top reserves in the NBA.
Eric Gordon, G, Houston Rockets: Gordon was one of the most reliable bench players in the NBA this year, and although he had an off-year shooting by his standards, he was immensely valuable to the Rockets.
Since I live in Toronto, I’ve witnessed the rise of the Toronto Raptors bench, so I’m a bit biased here. Although he won’t win there is much to be said for the Fred VanVleet and his effect on the entire squad. Having the benefit of observing the first round series it offers support to the argument. Sure, the Raptors won round one, but go view Game 6 and notice how much more cohesive the reserve unit was with Freddy in the mix. Additionally, VanVleet logged the most fourth quarter minutes and the Raptors held the top ranked defense in both the regular and postseason in the final frame. I’d like to see the Raptors Bench Mob be rewarded for what they did this season which means Freddy (but, it won’t happen).
The reality is Sweet Lou likely has this sewn up and Eric Gordon will also garner votes. Will Barton was also impressive for the Nuggets.
Lou Williams, Fred VanVleet, Eric Gordon