With the NBA regular season wrapping up, let’s take a look at the top contenders for Sixth Man of the Year. As a subjective list, many honorable mentions are included who could easily have been considered for my list. In order to be considered for the award, the player has to appear off the bench more times than they start. Below are my selections as honorable mentions.

Honorable mentions

  • Michael Beasley - New York Knicks
  • John Collins - Atlanta Hawks
  • Rudy Gay - San Antonio Spurs
  • Montrezl Harrell - Los Angeles Clippers
  • Buddy Hield - Sacramento Kings
  • Jeremy Lamb - Charlotte Hornets
  • Caris LeVert - Brooklyn Nets
  • Nikola Mirotic - Chicago Bulls/New Orleans Pelicans
  • Kelly Olynyk - Miami Heat
  • Kelly Oubre Jr. - Washington Wizards
  • Bobby Portis - Chicago Bulls
  • Terry Rozier - Boston Celtics
  • Marcus Smart - Boston Celtics
  • Dwyane Wade - Cleveland Cavaliers/Miami Heat

10. J.J. Barea - Dallas Mavericks

  • Season stats: 67 G (8 GS), 23.5 MPG, 11.7 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 6.3 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.0 BPG

The Mavericks have been bad this season, but the same can’t be said for Barea.

The 12-year veteran is currently putting up career-highs in scoring, rebounding, and assist averages. His slightly over three assist to turnover ratio is 14th-best in the league.

9. Domantas Sabonis - Indiana Pacers

  • Season stats: 68 G (19 GS), 24.7 MPG, 11.5 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 2.1 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.4 BPG

After a tough rookie season with the Thunder, Sabonis could also be in the running for a Most Improved Player trophy that his teammate Victor Oladipo will likely win. He has upped his field goal percentage to 52.2 (39.9 in 2016-17), more than doubled his rebounding average, and nearly doubled his scoring average from his rookie year. Along with Oladipo, the son of Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis has helped the Paul George trade not seem like a bad deal as originally thought for Indiana.

8. Fred VanVleet - Toronto Raptors

  • Season stats: 70 G (0 GS), 20.2 MPG, 8.7 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 3.2 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Also a second-year player, VanVleet has received far more playing time than the 294 total minutes he saw in his rookie season. He is 11th in the NBA with a 3.2 assist to turnover ratio and is connecting on an impressive 41.4 percent of his three-point attempts.

Beginning the season spending more time stuck on the bench, he has now reached double figures in scoring in 20 of his last 25 games.

7. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - Houston Rockets

  • Season stats: 56 G (14 GS), 26.0 MPG, 7.7 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.4 BPG

Much like Iguodala last season (was a finalist for the award), Mbah a Moute’s defensive presence off the bench helps him make the list despite counting stats which aren’t large.

He should be considered for one of the All-Defensive teams this season, an honor he has never received. Making just 47.1 percent of his two-point attempts entering the season, he is shooting an astounding 62.2 percent inside the three-point arc.

6. Kyle Kuzma - Los Angeles Lakers

  • Season stats: 73 G (33 GS), 16.0 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.9 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.5 BPG

The 27th pick in last June’s draft, Kuzma has exceeded everyone’s expectations in his rookie season. While he has started about 45 percent of his appearances, he has still averaged 13.7 points and 5.4 rebounds coming off the bench.

5. Rodney Hood - Utah Jazz/Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Season stats: 56 G (19 GS), 15.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Hood has seen his numbers dwindle since being traded to the Cavaliers at the trade deadline.

His scoring average has dropped to 10.9 in his 17 games with Cleveland despite having a higher field goal percentage than he did with Utah. The four-year player currently has career-best across the board in field goal, free throw, and three-point percentages.

4. Jordan Clarkson - Los Angeles Lakers/Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Season stats: 75 G (2 GS), 23.7 MPG, 14.2 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.8 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.1 BPG

Just like Hood, Clarkson was traded to Cleveland at the trade deadline, but his scoring average hasn’t fallen off nearly as much. He is averaging just one point fewer with the Cavaliers (13.5) than he did with the Lakers (14.5). He has also shown improved shooting with Cleveland at 47 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from deep in 22 outings.

3. Will Barton - Denver Nuggets

  • Season stats: 75 G (34 GS), 32.7 MPG, 15.2 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.7 BPG

Barton has been a super-sub for Denver much of the past three seasons and finished fourth in Sixth Man voting for the 2015-16 season. While he has been inserted into the starting lineup more frequently this season, he has still averaged 13.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.8 assists when coming off the bench.

2. Eric Gordon - Houston Rockets

  • Season stats: 66 G (29 GS), 31.4 MPG, 18.3 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 2.2 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.4 BPG

Last year’s winner of Sixth Man of the Year, Gordon has been even more productive for a Rockets team with the best record in the NBA. He is connecting on 36.2 percent of his threes while attempting nearly nine a game.

He has also made 54.9 percent of his two-point attempts which would easily be a career-best for the 10-year pro.

1. Lou Williams - Los Angeles Clippers

  • Season stats: 75 G (19 GS), 32.8 MPG, 22.7 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG

Williams was seen by many as an All-Star snub this season. He is currently 16th in the league with his 22.7 points per game. Long one of the best scorers off the bench, those 22.7 are more than five better than his previous best of 17.5 while his assists per game is also easily a career-best. The 13-year veteran won Sixth Man of the Year in the 2014-15 season and finished third in voting last season.