On Friday, Domantas Sabonis was named as one of three finalists for the KIA NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award. Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell, both of the Los Angeles Clippers, were announced as the other two.
Sabonis, who averaged 14.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.9 assists, finished the season with 27 double-doubles coming off the bench, the most in the NBA for a reserve. Greasing the wheels of the offense at the elbows with dribble hand-offs, pitches, and slick backdoor passes, the Lithuanian big man was also the only player in the league to average over 50 passes made while logging under 25 minutes per game. With him playing big without being confined by his size, Indiana had the top aggregate bench net rating in the league, outscoring opponents by 2.8 points per 100 possessions.
Leading all bench players in both points (20.1) and assists (5.4) while spearheading the league’s most potent reserve offense, Lou Williams is largely viewed as the favorite for the award. A lethal pick-and-roll tandem, Harrell and Williams, together, averaged 36.9 points per game, a combined scoring output which, as a duo, exceeded that of 14 of the league’s benches.
Earlier in the week, the NBA announced that Larry Bird and Magic Johnson will be co-recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Having proven out to be a selfless leader in the wake of Victor Oladipo’s season-ending injury, Thaddeus Young is also a nominee for the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award, along with Steven Adams, Mike Conley, Jared Dudley, Channing Frye, Rudy Gay, Udonis Haslem, Andre Iguodala, Kyle Korver, Khris Middleton, JJ Redick, and Garrett Temple.
Per NBA.com, the 2019 NBA Awards will air on June 24 on TNT.