NBA Sixth Man of the Year Power Rankings: Austin Reaves rises, new name makes list

Dec 16, 2023; Portland, Oregon, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Tim Hardaway Jr.
Dec 16, 2023; Portland, Oregon, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Tim Hardaway Jr. / Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
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1. Austin Reaves

Last week's rank: 2

The Los Angeles Lakers guard now finds himself atop the Sixth Man of the Year power rankings. Coming off an NBA In-Season Tournament championship, Reaves has excelled in recent games.

Over the last week, Reaves has averaged 19.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game. His offensive game is extremely well-balanced. Reaves ranks in the top four on the Lakers in points, rebounds, and assists.

The former Sooner has overtaken the number-one spot because he continues to produce at a high level for a quality squad. His counting stats are among the best accounting for all bench players. However, his advanced statistics don't paint nearly as pretty of a picture.

His on/off splits tend to favor the Lakers when he's off the court. And the defense falls apart when Reaves enters the game. However, this is likely due to Reaves playing with the rest of the Lakers' bench players.

The Los Angeles bench ranks in the bottom 10 in points, rebounds, field goal percentage, 3-point percentage, steals, blocks, and turnovers, and ranks 18th of 30 squads in plus/minus.

Despite the Lakers sporting a contending team, the bench truly lacks quality contributors. Besides Reaves, the Lakers only have one other player who contributes off the bench, Rui Hachimura.

Reaves does the best he can to elevate the second unit. But, he does play nearly 30 minutes per game, thus he plays alongside the starters for a large portion.

All in all, Reaves ascends to the top spot due to his consistent production. Ever since he moved to a full-time bench player, Reaves has had a plus/minus of plus-5.8. Additionally, he holds averages of 15.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists off the pine.