Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams both named Sixth Man of the Year finalists

LA Clippers Lou Williams Montrezl Harrell
LA Clippers Lou Williams Montrezl Harrell /

Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams led the NBA’s best bench this season for the LA Clippers, and both have been named finalists for the Sixth Man award.

On Friday night, the NBA announced that both Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams are finalists to win this season’s Sixth Man of the Year Award.

Along with the LA Clippers’ dynamic duo, Indiana Pacers big Domantas Sabonis was named a finalist for the award that recognizes the league’s best bench player. And while there’s plenty of respect owed to Sabonis for the season he carved out in Indiana, this is really a two-man race.

Harrell and Williams were co-headliners of the league’s most dominant bench this season, which scored more points per game than any other in the NBA. The two combined to average nearly 37 points (Harrell 16.6, Williams 20.0), despite neither playing more than 27 minutes per game.

Each player also made significant improvements over their statistics from the season prior.

During the 2017-2018 regular season, Harrell posted averages of 11.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in 17.0 minutes per game. This season, the 25-year-old took a gigantic leap forward and averaged 16.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks across 26.3 minutes per game. Harrell also converted 61.5 percent of his looks from the floor, and appeared in all 82 games for the LA Clippers.

Williams, on the other hand, had a much more efficient year compared to the career year he had in 2017-2018, when he was awarded his second Sixth Man of the Year trophy.

During that season, Williams averaged 22.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists in nearly 33 minutes per game. There was never a doubt about him winning the award, and that helps strengthen his case this year as well.

This time around, Williams averaged 20.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game — but he did so in a mere 26.6 minutes per contest, roughly seven minutes less than he played in 2017. This led to career-best per-36 numbers across the board, which kept Williams atop the conversation all year long.

As good as Harrell was for the Clippers this season, this award is Williams’ to lose. Night after night, he kept LA in a lot of games they had no business being in, and even knocked down a few game-winning shots in some of the Clippers’ best games of the season.

In November, he hit a game-winning layup in the closing seconds of overtime to knock off the Milwaukee Bucks, the team that finished with the best record this season. But as impressive as that was, it doesn’t compare to the shot he hit in March to knock off the Brooklyn Nets:

It was a punctuation mark on the surprising season that both he and the Clippers enjoyed, and it’s why he’ll likely take him the hardware once again.

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The winner of the award will be announced on June 24 during the annual NBA Awards show.