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View Full Version : Bender Favorite For Sixth Man of the Year - Yahoo/SI



Millerartest
10-25-2004, 07:23 PM
Here's another on the Bender Bandwagon... From sports.yahoo.com/nba. Not that Tinsley and Harrington are also on the list. I don't know how to bold or I would.

All-Breakout team

John Hollinger, SI.com

Faster than you can say Nikoloz Tskitishvili, a new NBA campaign is upon us. As always, one of the big questions heading into the season is "which little-known players are going to become household names?" I'm here to help.

This is easier to divine in some years than others. Last season, for instance, there were at least three players who were obvious candidates to have All-Star caliber years based on their track records and a likely increase in playing time. The top player on my list a year ago, Zach Randolph, won the Most Improved Player, and the next two guys, Michael Redd and Andrei Kirilenko, made the All-Star team.

I bring those up not just as a cheap way to toot my own horn, but to point out the lack of no-brainer breakout picks in this year's crop. I don't expect anyone in this year's list to approach the numbers that Randolph, Redd and Kirilenko put up a year ago. Still, 10 players come to mind who figure to get a lot more ink this year.

Before we start, here are some ground rules. First, I left out the obvious three guys -- LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade -- because a) everybody knows about them and b) they don't have much breaking out left to do.

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Second, I also left out Marquis Daniels, Mehmet Okur, Jamal Crawford and anyone else who got more than $40 million this summer. If somebody's going to throw that much money in your direction, I'd say the secret's out.

With that in mind, here's the second annual edition of my top breakout players. After each, I included the player's production per 40 minutes last season. Since a lot of them didn't play that much, it provides a quick indicator of what they're capable of producing if they become full-time starters:

10. Drew Gooden, Cavaliers (17.1 pts., 9.7 reb.)

Merely escaping the mess in Orlando has to be a boost for Gooden, who was relegated to the bench almost immediately last season and kept shuttling between the two forward spots. In Cleveland he'll play about 10 minutes more a game than he did last season, and with passers like James and Eric Snow he should get plenty of chances to finish around the rim. Although he's on his third team, he's only 23 and is still developing his perimeter game.

9. Brendan Haywood, Wizards (14.5 pts., 10.4 reb., 51.5 FG%)

Haywood only played 19.3 minutes a game last year -- I guess Eddie Jordan felt like he just had to get Christian Laettner on the floor -- but Haywood figures to get a lot more burn this year. Kwame Brown's foot injury should leave the door open at the start of the year, and if Haywood does as well as I expect, the rest should take care of itself.

8. Michael Sweetney, Knicks (14.5 pts., 12.7 reb., 49.3 FG%)

A nightly double-double threat who would rank higher if it was certain that the Knicks will move him ahead of Kurt Thomas, Sweetney is most easily compared to a right-handed version of Randolph. His numbers in his sophomore season should be a big step forward from his rookie performance, especially since he spent most of last year nailed to the bench while lesser talents like Othella Harrington and Clarence Weatherspoon stole his minutes.

7. Jamaal Tinsley, Pacers (12.5 pts, 8.8 ast, 3.4 reb)

Tinsley played 26.5 minutes a game last year because it took him half the year to take over the starting job. There's no such debate in Indiana this season, so Tinsley's minutes should move up into the mid-30s. As a result, he should finish in the top five in the NBA in assists and average double figures in scoring.

6. Al Harrington, Hawks (17.2 pts, 8.3 reb, 46.3 FG%)

Harrington's a tough case. On the one hand, he figures to do much more statistically because he'll be playing 40 minutes a night and should be the No. 2 option on a Hawks team that's devoid of talent. On the other hand, he's not nearly as good as people imagine. I wouldn't be surprised if he averaged more than 20 points a night, but he might shoot less than 40 percent in the process.

5. Chris Bosh, Raptors (13.7 pts, 8.9 reb, 45.9 FG%)

Lost in all the hubbub over James/Anthony/Wade was the fact that at the grizzled age of 19, Bosh played out of position all season, gave up 30 pounds every night, and not only survived but was among the better players at his position. Rafael Araujo's arrival moves Bosh to his natural power forward spot, where he should put up much better numbers in his sophomore season.

4. Dan Gadzuric, Bucks (13.5 pts, 11.0 reb, 52.4%)

The Bucks big man is a human pogo stick who blocked more than three shots per 40 minutes last season and was effective on the glass despite being weaker than Scott Peterson's alibi. The big difference, though, is that Gadzuric has become more efficient on the offensive end, running the floor for dunks and hitting short jumpers in the halfcourt. With Brian Skinner gone, the minutes at center in Milwaukee are his to lose, so his numbers should shoot up accordingly.

3. Larry Hughes, Wizards (22.3 pts, 6.3 reb)

Hughes' 40-minute scoring average is going to surprise a lot of people -- it ranked right between Amar? Stoudemire's and Randolph's. In other words, he actually broke out last year, but since nobody's gotten the news release yet, I figured it would be OK to list him here again. Hughes is one of the best rebounding guards in the game, he's still only 25, and he's entering a contract year. If the Wizards are as good as I think they'll be this year, Hughes could end up making the All-Star team.

2. Tyson Chandler, Bulls (10.9 pts, 13.8 reb)

For all the talk about Eddy Curry, Chandler was much more impressive in the early part of last season until a back injury derailed his progress. Even with the injuries, his rebound rate of 13.8 per 40 minutes was awesome, so if he stays in one piece this year, his size and energy could put him in the league's top five in rebounding.

1. Jonathan Bender, Pacers (21.8 pts, 5.9 reb, 47.2 FG%)

If I had to bet on one guy to win the "Most Improved Player" award (a misnomer which should be renamed "most invisible to beat writers before the season"), this is the one. Bender's sore knee is a concern, but his per-minute numbers from a year ago are so overwhelming that he easily tops this list anyway. Now that Harrington's gone, Bender figures to get close to 30 minutes a night in Indiana. The only thing holding him back is the fact that two All-Stars are playing at forward ahead of him, but if Ron Artest goes fruit loops, look for Bender to explode. Worst case, he'll have a hard time not winning the Sixth Man award.

Lord Helmet
10-25-2004, 07:42 PM
I wouldn't expect 21 pts out of Bender.But what I do expect is for him to be healthy and to at least make up for Harrington being gone.I think he can get 13-16 ppg.And I liked the Tinsley love too it would be nice if he could step up and score a lot along with Foster.

Suaveness
10-25-2004, 08:01 PM
It's also misleading because we have a better chance of seeing Santa Claus streak across a soccer field than see Bender play without getting hurt.

sweabs
10-25-2004, 08:04 PM
but if Ron Artest goes fruit loops...

:rolleyes:

Kegboy
10-25-2004, 08:12 PM
I wouldn't expect 21 pts out of Bender.

Note, the statistics listed after a player's name is not the writer's prediction for what they'll produce, but their statistics last year extrapolated to 40 minutes per.

I think it's asking a lot for Bender to contend for 6th man when Sax will be coming off the bench, as well. MIP would be nice, though.

Suaveness
10-25-2004, 08:15 PM
but if Ron Artest goes fruit loops...

:rolleyes:



As long as he doesn't go coo coo for cocopuffs, we're all good....I haven't come up with a cereal for Bender, but I'm thinking "Stickman Cereal"

ChicagoJ
10-25-2004, 08:33 PM
but if Ron Artest goes fruit loops...

:rolleyes:



As long as he doesn't go coo coo for cocopuffs, we're all good....I haven't come up with a cereal for Bender, but I'm thinking "Stickman Cereal"

Gotta be something with marshmellows.

Suaveness
10-25-2004, 10:02 PM
but if Ron Artest goes fruit loops...

:rolleyes:



As long as he doesn't go coo coo for cocopuffs, we're all good....I haven't come up with a cereal for Bender, but I'm thinking "Stickman Cereal"

Gotta be something with marshmellows.


Look at them....plottin' ....

"We attack tomorrow"
"Yes"
"I mean it this time"

ABADays
10-25-2004, 10:09 PM
I didn't realize the IR had an award like that.

Pacerized
10-25-2004, 10:23 PM
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I'm amazed that the writer would think that trading Harrington would give Bender 30 min. per game. I can't see Bender getting more pt then Jackson. Sure Reggie's going to losing another 5-8 min., but I'll bet Jackson gets at least 25 min., which means Bender, and Artest won't be given any time at the 2 like they did last year. Best case, I see Bender getting 20 min, and that's if he can produce at the 4 some. I would think Jackson would stand a much better chance at the 6th. man award.

Suaveness
10-25-2004, 10:27 PM
but if Ron Artest goes fruit loops...

:rolleyes:



As long as he doesn't go coo coo for cocopuffs, we're all good....I haven't come up with a cereal for Bender, but I'm thinking "Stickman Cereal"

Gotta be something with marshmellows.


Look at them....plottin' ....

"We attack tomorrow"
"Yes"
"I mean it this time"


Clouds aren't the same thing as marshmellows........:rolleyes:

Yeah, and Bender isn't a stick :rolleyes:

Clouds, marshmellows, its all good

MSA2CF
10-25-2004, 11:21 PM
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I'm amazed that the writer would think that trading Harrington would give Bender 30 min. per game. I can't see Bender getting more pt then Jackson. Sure Reggie's going to losing another 5-8 min., but I'll bet Jackson gets at least 25 min., which means Bender, and Artest won't be given any time at the 2 like they did last year. Best case, I see Bender getting 20 min, and that's if he can produce at the 4 some. I would think Jackson would stand a much better chance at the 6th. man award.


I think I agree...:chin:

3Ball
10-26-2004, 12:08 AM
What were Bender's per minute numbers like last year?

TheSauceMaster
10-26-2004, 06:16 AM
It's also misleading because we have a better chance of seeing Santa Claus streak across a soccer field than see Bender play without getting hurt.

:lol2::lol2::lol2:


:whistle::whistle::whistle:

Fool
10-26-2004, 07:27 AM
Thats why I hate per minute or per 48 minute stats. If a guy comes in for 4 minutes and they run 4 plays for him in those three minutes and he scores six points off those 4 plays he is averaging more than a point a minute. (This isn't necessarily aimed at Bender).

If a guy is brought in for a quick scoring boost off the bench it doesn't mean he can continue that kind of output if he were playing starter minutes or if he wasn't used situationally. I realize that there are cases were all-stars ride the pine till someone gives them a chance, but that doesn't make everyone on the bench an all-star.

DisplacedKnick
10-26-2004, 09:22 AM
Well, to be SMOTY he'd have to be the sixth man ...

Anyway, I always thought using 3's/48 mins for reserves misleading because of how much grabage time.

I don't even remember who it was but in a fantasy league I held onto a Hawks player who was about 11th man a few years ago because they were getting blown out fairly regularly and this guy would put up amazing numbers for 6-7 minutes about every other game.

Now I'm curious - gotta check who that was when I get home.

Liquid Slap
10-26-2004, 09:44 AM
So you guys are saying that Antonio McDyess isn't going to win 6th man of the year? :jawdrop:

Had to plug my team there. But seriously, the per 48 can be acurate for some people and not others. Like when(and excuse the Piston analogy) Chucky Atkins came off the bench for Chauncey Billups 2 years ago. His numbers of the bench were decent and when he got his chance to start, his numbers stayed consistent with his minutes.

The numbers all depend on the quality of the minutes. If everytime you come in the game you are always playing against the 2nd team or some scrubs, of course your production will be lower playing quality players. If you play against 1st team most of the time when you are in the game, your per 48 should be more accurate as your numbers will stay constistent.

McKeyFan
10-26-2004, 11:20 AM
but if Ron Artest goes fruit loops...

:rolleyes:



As long as he doesn't go coo coo for cocopuffs, we're all good....I haven't come up with a cereal for Bender, but I'm thinking "Stickman Cereal"

Wasted Chex?