On the night that Lou Williams scored his 15,000th career point, his teammate Marcus Morris Sr. gave the highest of praise to the sixth man.
Williams has a pretty strong case for that honor. He’s the all-time leading scorer in terms of points off the bench with nearly 13,000 points, leading second-place Jamal Crawford by 1,500 points. He’s also the leading scorer in terms of averages at 13.9 points per game off the bench.
In regards to the trophy itself, Williams and Crawford are the only two players in the 37-year history of the award to win it three times. It’s safe to say that if Williams did have any competition for the title of greatest sixth man ever, it would be Crawford.
That is not to say that there have not been greater players to win the award in a given season. Hall-of-Famers like Kevin McHale and Bobby Jones have won it, and Bill Walton and James Harden each hold the honor of winning both Sixth Man of the Year and MVP at different points in their careers. But when it comes to players whose style of play is perfectly suited for a bench role, Williams probably fits the bill better than anyone in history. He’s a scoring machine, an excellent distributor, and can get his team easy baskets when they are in need of a spark off the bench.