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Russell Westbrook craque le podium

Like every season, the Sixth Man of the Year race is one of the most watched in the NBA. Like every season – and for lack of inspiration – it is said for all races (DPOY, MVP, COY, ROY) that they are the most followed in the NBA. But for the race for the Sixth Man of the Year, it really is. And like every year, we say for all the races that it’s really true. In short, paper.

(Stats as of January 9)

# Mentions honorables : Shake Milton, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Immanuel Quickley, Taurean Prince et Malik Beasley

We almost opened the doors of the Top 10 to Immanuel Quickley whose contribution is consistent with the New York results. Too few games for Bogdan Bogdanovic which is coming back strong, to watch for the next edition. Taurean Prince is not bad but the Wolves are: it still lacks a few strings in its game to interfere in this ranking alone. Shake Milton had disappeared from the radar since mid-season 2021-22, we find him in growing form on the side of Philly. It is still light huh, Tyrese Maxey came back and eats him minutes, but it stays clean. Malik Beasley is itself out of the Top 10. Not enough results in Utah. It tumbles a bit. If Beasley says he’s doing his best, we believe him, but it’s still too little.

#10 – JORDAN POOLE

Big question: should we consider him a candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year trophy if he has already started 21 of his 40 games ? The absence of Stephen Curry takes him away from this discussion a little, and that’s good because he doesn’t have the level. XXL contract at $ 35 million per season, contrasted by this big inability to carry the Warriors on a match, even against the dunce caps of the League. Markelle Fultz outclassed him last Saturday, on paper it’s a first pick but it still hurts her. In short, Jordan Poole scores a minimum but can only progress. He will probably no longer be in this ranking at the beginning of February, the fault of too many games in the shoes of a holder. Will we regret it? Kenavo ar’vechal!

Stats: 20.6 points at 43% in shooting including 31% from the parking lot, 4.4 assists and… 3.6 lost balls

#9 – NAJI MARSHALL

How not to mention the best bench in the NBA? If the Pelicans are 3rd in the Western Conference, it is largely thanks to the work of second hands, including Naji Marshall. No name absolute for all Gatorade- and logo-shot-fed kids — they’ll probably never wear his jersey — New Orleans’ third-year is THE undrafted one of the moment. A 3-point percentage revised upwards (33% against 20% last season), a lot, a lot of energy in his incursions, the “flame” of the guy who had his chance when nobody wanted to give him. Credit for him and his career therefore, but also for the entourage on the Pels bench: Larry Nance Jr. et Jose Alvarado don’t play ping pong. Trey Murphy entered the five in the absence of Brandon Ingram. This is also where the gain in minutes for Marshall is explained.

Stats: 9.8 points at 44% shooting including 34% from parking, 3.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 lost ball

#8 – NORMAN POWELL

Against the backdrop of the Clippers slump, Norman Powell remains a good student: 17 points at 41% of parking in December, not the greatest of defenders but an excellent scorer. He played 32 of the 42 games played by the Clippers, which – in comparison to Kawhi Leonard – remains the symbol of great solidity. Nothing to add on his case. It could put a few more shots in the important moments (not the Nono’s super clutch) but frankly, other silhouettes deserve more of the burden. After the Clippers are still 7th in the West with a barely positive balance sheet, nothing “catastrophic”. On a run and two or three neat ailments, the heights of the conference are still within their reach.

Stats: 15.1 points at 47% shooting including 39% from parking in 25 minutes per game

#7 – MALIK MONK

Small drop in the rankings. Many candidates have raised their level of play and Malik Monk has… fired at 28% at 3-points for the month of December. She’s ugly there. His year 2023 does not start better with 4/15 from afar and two defeats in three games. But Sac Town is still 5th in the Western Conference with a record of 20 wins for 18 defeats. The poor form of the 6th man fortunately does not translate into a letting go of the teammates. Everything is thus to be put into perspective: the Kings have not reached the Playoffs for sixteen seasons. The dynamics of this exercise are historic. It may sound stupid but Malik Monk still has a way to stay in the history of Sac Town. Just put your damn shots.

Stats: 14.1 points at 44% shooting including 32% parking and 91% throwing, 3.9 assists and 2 loose balls

#6 – BOBBY PORTIS

Double-double of scrap metal in the average, skilful under the circle, always combative “despite” his contract at 12 million per season. He is one of the most valuables of NBA. The perfect substitute interior to play for the title. The Bucks would have great difficulty filling the hole left by his absence: that’s good, Bobby Portis has played in all 39 games for Milwaukee this season. Solidity on and off the floor. Best rebounder off the bench this season. Only 27 years old and still have very good years ahead of him. Milwaukee hit the jackpot when they landed his services in the summer of 2020. The kind of move passed unnoticed in the history of a franchise, which only the most educated grandfathers will pass on to the children of 2080. The North remembers, and for once, the East, the West and the South will do the same.

Stats: 14.2 points at 50% shooting including 32% from parking, 10.3 rebounds and 1.2 lost ball

#5 – BONES HYLAND

A month of December a tad below its standards, but still this enormous defensive contribution. Real short but slender electric battery (men of letters will understand the nuance), offensive potential of the future… All-Star? Small fire, the sophomore of the Nuggets will already have 23 years old in September and is not THE most prominent youngster in this League. And yet, when you watch a Denver game, its uniqueness is obvious. It has that extra thing: very serene with the ball in hand, foldable in absolutely every way, inspired by Mike Malone’s systems. We want to see where Bones Hyland will be in two or three years. You may well be surprised.

Stats: 13.5 points at 41% shooting including 41% from parking, 3.3 assists and 1.8 lost ball

#4 – TYUS JONES

The Grizzlies’ No. 1 offensive option. You know the guy who doesn’t watch all the games. Tyus Jones is still an example of cleanliness for all young people ballers coming to the NBA. This guy makes it all work. You give him crumb without crust Harris he makes you gingerbread. If we gave him our wedding ring, he would bring us back two. Difficult to see him climb on the podium with such a “secondary” statistical line. We feel the landscape man. The first joker of the 2nd team in the West. Not wanting to shine but dreaming of making it shine. The ideal son-in-law. We rush off to present our sister to him.

Stats: 10.5 points at 44% shooting including 39% from parking, 4.8 assists and only 0.9 lost ball

#3 – RUSSELL WESTBROOK

Big controversy, huge leap. You never know how to handle the Russell Westbrook case. Statistics that contradict others, a lot of frustration, nervousness, but “good performance” which are worth a thousand. It’s Russell Westbrook name name. A ball of nerves completely out of his pumps, sometimes very fair, so best puncher a coach could hope for to burst the defense in two. Some things never change: 21% 3-pointers in December at 3.4 attempts per game. Disgusting. Except that the Lakers are better (five consecutive victories) and their good momentum coincides with the good form of Russ. The nine-time All-Star is impregnable at the start of 2023 with 16 points at 43% shooting including 33% from the parking lot, 7 rebounds and 8.8 assists in four games. As if he had never lost the aura of the Thunder. Efforts to continue.

Stats: 14.8 points at 41% shooting including 29% from the parking lot, 6.4 rebounds, 7.9 assists, 1 interception and 3.6 loose balls

#2 – BENNEDICT MATHURIN

Saint-Mathurin-sur-Loire, one of the prettiest villages in France. Ancestral stronghold of the Mathurin family, the last of which is called Bennedict. 6th choice of the last draft, major player in two end-of-season trophy discussions. Just behind Paolo Banchero in the race for Rookie of the Year. Just behind Malcolm Brogdon as 6th man. Only 20 springs (21 in June) and already a very accomplished statistical line with scoring and percentages. Some bloom faster than others. What he lacks to scratch the first spot? More individual prowess. Again and again. The Pacers are already 6th in Eastern Conference, difficult to imagine them beyond. The only solution is to crush everything. Peaks at 30 points, the ball under the arm, the morning Top 10. Objective to make an impression on this second part of the season.

Stats: 17.1 points at 42% shooting including 33% from the parking lot, 3.9 rebounds, 1.4 assist and 1.8 loose ball

#1 – MALCOLM BROGDON

The best. Not exactly a Neanderthal statistical line, but the best Wi-Fi codes are the shortest. It’s all in the sharpness. We are not far from 50/40/90 – except for a big month of competition – and the Celtics are still leading the Eastern Conference with 28 wins for 12 losses. It plays the title, Malcolm Brogdon will be an essential factor, condition now sine qua non, Saturday night’s meeting showed it again: 23 points 5/6 from the parking lot, 2 rebounds, 7 assists and Spurs on the mat. Can you tell that at the moment, NBA substitutes are seeing the arrival of a Malcolm Brogdon – Robert Williams III axis as « second unit ». It’s not the second unit, it’s an All-NBA Third Team. You want to calmly do your stats off the bench and you find yourself against the Kobe and Shaq of Massachusetts. In short, Malcolm is unmovable. No. 1 without shaking. It may still last.

Stats: 13.5 points at 47% shooting including 45% parking and 88% throwing, 4.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.6 lost ball

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