2022-2023 NBA Sixth-Man Sleeper Pick
Russell Westbrook, Malcolm Brogdon and Normal Powell are the three front runners to win this year’s NBA Sixth Man of the Year award. I could easily make a case as to why each one of those players is deserving of the award, but if I’m making a mid-season bet on something like this, I want more value than what I’m getting with these three. That’s why, at 45-1, Milwaukee Bucks forward Bobby Portis is my favorite sleeper to win Sixth Man of the Year.
Why Bobby Portis Could Win Sixth Man of the Year
Portis has played in every game for the Bucks so far this season and is posting career numbers in a variety of areas. In 47 games, he’s averaging career highs in rebounding (10.1), assists (1.8) and free-throw percentage (82.9). He’s also averaging 14.4 points on 49.9% from the field, both of which are his second-highest marks in those categories.
Portis does a little bit of everything for the Bucks. He can help stretch the floor by knocking down shots from deep, but is also a threat inside, especially on the glass. He is tied with Julius Randle for third in the league in double-doubles with 29, sitting just behind Domantas Sabonis and Nikola Jokic, and ahead of his teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo.
If we look at previous seasons, the award has typically gone to guards who can score at a high volume, such as last year’s winner Tyler Herro. However, I’d argue that while Portis might not have the same speed to his game as Herro or this year’s frontrunner in Westbrook, he definitely has what it takes to stuff a stat sheet. Portis has shown that he has the ability to go off in games, posting 20 or more points nine times. And when you have a player that can come off the bench and put up a huge scoring night, that can definitely help steal you some wins.
He also adds intangibles to his team that I don’t think the other candidates do. Portis is Milwaukee’s high-energy guy. His athleticism, aggression on the offensive boards and the effort he plays with on a nightly basis are what make him so valuable to this team.
Westbrook, Brogdon and Powell might be flashier players, but at 45-1, putting my money on Crazy Eyes doesn’t seem all that crazy.