After a disappointing loss in Milwaukee last night, the Dallas Mavericks will look to bounce back tonight against the Sacramento Kings.
Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving continue to dominate offensively, and Tim Hardaway Jr. has been excellent off the bench, cementing himself as a Sixth Man of the Year candidat.
The NBA Sixth Man of the Year race is off to a torrid start. Plenty of candidates have asserted themselves in the race for the best bench player.
NBA Sixth Man of the Year Power Rankings: Where does Mavs' Tim Hardaway Jr. land?
However, some players have seemingly disqualified themselves from the running due to a promotion into a starting gig. Brooklyn Nets guard Cam Thomas parlayed a 36-point outing on the opening night into a solidified role as the starting two-guard.
On the flip side, Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves began the season as a starter, before moving to the bench for the previous five outings. On the bench, he's averaged 13.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game.
While both the aforementioned players have played particularly well off the bench, we'll focus on players who will surely qualify for the Sixth Man of the Year requirements.
A player must come off the bench in more games than they start and new to this season, a player must compete in at least 65 games to qualify for any award across the board.
Before diving into the power rankings, we'll give nods to the players who just missed the cut, the honorable mentions.
Minnesota Timberwolves big man, Naz Reid, has developed into a fantastic player. After coming into the association as an undrafted free agent, Reid has since averaged double-digit points three times in five seasons and signed a lucrative $42 million contract.
This season, Reid is averaging 13.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in only 21.5 minutes of action. He's putting up such a stat line on superb efficiency. The Wolves big man is knocking down 54.2 percent of his field goals and 44.4 percent of his triples.
Portland Trail Blazers guard Malcolm Brogdon has been playing quite well this season. In eight games, he's averaged 17.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. However, Brogdon has made three starts and missed four games due to injury.
Norman Powell is off to a scorching start, leading the Clippers' second unit. While another player may soon get some love, Powell is leading the Clippers in bench points per game. He's averaging 12.5 points per game while shooting 50.0 percent from the floor and 44.9 percent from distance.
Now, we'll dive into the top five candidates who are most likely to take home the Sixth Man of the Year Award.
5. Chris Paul
This 38-year-old point guard has played in 1227 games across his nearly two-decade career. And despite such a long career, he's only come off the bench in nine games.
Chris Paul has bought into his new role on the Golden State Warriors. After orchestrating numerous offenses over the years, he's taken a step back to orchestrate the second unit.
And thus far, the results have been promising. Paul is averaging 9.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game. If Paul were to bring home the award, he'd be the oldest player to win. Additionally, he'd be the only recipient ever to average more than seven assists per game.
While Paul's counting stats pass the eye test, his efficiency leaves much to be desired. He's shooting a career-low from the field and from beyond the arc. The veteran guard is shooting 38.5 percent from the floor and a ghastly 26.1 percent from downtown.
Paul's effective field goal percentage is near the bottom of the league at 43.6 percent. He's having a rough year shooting the ball, yet he's still contributing in other ways.
The "Point God" ranks 7th in the league in assists percentage and takes good care of the ball like he always does. He's averaging just 1.3 turnovers per game, a career-low.
And despite being the third oldest player in the NBA, his defense is still superb. Paul is 14th in steal percentage and top 30 in defensive box plus/minus.
If Paul ups his shooting percentages, he might rank near the top in these power rankings. Nevertheless, he's still demonstrating he has a lot left in the tank, especially as a passer and pesky defender.