Will The Thrill For 6th Man Of The Year?
Will the Thrill for 6th Man of the Year?
Would you be shocked if Will Barton wins the 6th Man Award at the end of the season? It wouldn’t shock me, that’s for sure… but it would shock NBA history. We have to go back over 20 years (1993-94) to find a Sixth Man of the Year winner from a team that didn’t make the Playoffs. That player is actually the father of the league’s current MVP, Steph Curry. Dell Curry was the 6th Man of the Gongfu Tea Cup that season when the Hornets missed the playoffs with Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning missing 53 combined with injuries.
The man known by Will the Thrill is averaging 15.8 points, 6 rebounds and 2.5 assists 1.1 steals on 46 percent shooting per game this season. So, where did all this come from?
Barton was picked in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft by the Portland Trail Blazers at the 40th spot. The Damian Lillard and Lamarcus Aldridge Blazers… and Wesley Mathews… and Nicolas Batum as well.
Barton averaged 4 points in his first two seasons playing 15 minutes per game. The vets didn’t leave him too much playing time opportunities.
And as the Blazers were focusing to get a title, Barton’s playing time started to decrease. It started to get clearer and clearer that his future was not going to last long around there, so in February Barton along with Victor Claver, Thomas Robinson and a lottery protected first round pick was traded to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Arron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee.
Basically at the time, the Blazers thought they needed more well-established shooters around, so they could free their stars a little bit more. Aldridge was getting to many double teams and that’s one of the reason why they traded.
Once in Denver, Barton started to find his rhythm on the court, all of a sudden he was averaging 11 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists (in the remaining 28 games of the season).
At the beginning of the current season, mainly due to the departure of Ty Lawson and Evan Fournier, the roster spots started to make more sense. The roster rotations started to get into their normal routines and Barton went off.
With one third of this season played he’s 2nd in scoring on his team, only trailing Galo but he’s 1st in steals, three points made and field goals made, and 3rd in rebounds. He’s coming off the bench but hey, you know what they say, it doesn’t matter who starts the game but who finishes it – and he’s finishing every night, because I forgot to tell you, he’s first in minutes played too.
The Denver Nuggets are 12-19 right now and it is very unlikely for them to make a sustainable run to get into the playoffs, but you never know. Now that Lillard is sidelined, Bledsoe got injured and the Sacramento Kings are the Sacramento Kings, they can implode at any moment, you never know. Nevertheless, Barton is not only a highlights player anymore and he made us start noticing him and as a consequence we are paying attention to his Nuggets.
Are you in for the Thrill?