A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

If Lamar Odom doesn’t win 6th Man of the Year…

with 3 comments

Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Lakers

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I swear to god voters, if Lamar Odom doesn’t win 6th Man of the Year, I don’t think we can be friends any more. Oh, we had some good times, but y’all just make everything so difficult.

Odom is now clearly eligible for the award, and people are talking about his candidacy…but they are talking about it as a tight race influenced partly by the idea that Odom’s not a “real 6th man” because of how much of the season he started (which was due to Andrew Bynum‘s injury).

Look folks, there’s a general tendency in both the 6th Man award, and the Most Improved Player award, to eliminate players because they are too good, and it’s silly. It’s silly in the MIP award where I now have to see Aaron Brooks name cemented for eternity for a year where he improved about 1/100th as much as Kevin Durant did, but at least there there’s an argument for giving an award to someone who will appreciate it. Give a kid at an arcade a quarter, this adds joy to his life. Give Bill Gates a quarter, and you’ve just made his pants a tiny bit heavier. Durant’s legacy is not going to be helped one bit by the MIP, so it’s no great loss.

When voters stopped giving the 6th Man award to Manu Ginobili, I was similarly irked, but again, I realize that in the scope of Ginobili’s career as the all-star #2 player on a semi-dynasty and the star of the Gold Medal winning Argentinian national team, 6th man doesn’t matter a whole lot. I still think it’s annoying that the fact that Ginobili sacrificed more than anyone else is effectively used as an excuse not to vote for him (the “he’s not a real 6th man” statement begs the response “who better to reward for taking such a role than the guy who’s too good to be asked to take such a role”) – but I can live with the knowledge that in the end, it probably doesn’t matter to him.

That’s not the case with Lamar Odom. If Odom doesn’t win the 6th Man, he’s probably going to go his whole career with no accolades except All-Rookie status. No All-NBA, no All-Star, just a designation that’s also shared with such legends as Darius Miles and Adam Morrison. This ain’t right people. Odom’s been the #3 player on a team that might soon have 3 titles and 4 finals, and we’ve got every reason to believe he could put up all-star level stats if he were on another team. It’s unconscionable for the man to get put in a no man’s land where he’s consider too weak for one set of awards and too strong for another, despite the fact that the 6th Man award’s criteria is quite precise and the man qualifies for it.

And lest you think there’s any doubt about whether Odom is the best 6th man, here are the current top 5 6MOY candidates ranked according to ESPN’s Awards Watch:

Notice how Odom plays the most minutes, for the best team, while putting up the best all-in-one stats? It’s really that simple.

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Written by Matt Johnson

March 31, 2011 at 1:31 pm

3 Responses

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  1. […] Odom’s finally eligible and it’s really not much of a contest. My take on his candidacy: “If Lamar Odom doesn’t win 6th man of the year…“ […]

  2. To me sixth man of the year award is like being the world’s tallest short person. Every year, there’s probably about 150 players more deserving (30 teams x 5 starting players), but they just don’t qualify because they start.

    Carlos Chaidez

    April 4, 2011 at 7:10 am

    • Cheers Carlos.

      I feel ya, but Odom’s a top 30 player in a 30 team league coming off the bench to help his team. I think that’s worthy of something.

      Matt Johnson

      April 4, 2011 at 9:23 pm


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