The NBA released the finalists for their end of the season awards on Friday and Los Angeles Clippers guard Russell Westbrook was not among the Sixth Man of the Year finalists. The three final nominations are the Boston Celtics Malcolm Brogdon, the New York Knicks Immanuel Quickley and the Milwaukee Bucks Bobby Portis. Perhaps the fact the Westbrook has been a starter with the Clippers hurt his chances. But while he was still a member of the Los Angeles Lakers he was no doubt among the best bench players in the NBA. The three players selected are deserving candidates though.
The 2023 NBA Sixth Man of the Year finalists:
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 14, 2023
Russell Westbrook entered the Sixth Man of the Year race near the beginning of the season. Lakers head coach Darvin Ham got him to buy into coming off the bench and it was working. Westbrook suited in up 52 games for the Lakers this season with only three starts. During the stretch he was averaging 15.9 points per game, 6.2 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 1.0 steals with shooting splits of 41.7 percent from the field, 29.6 percent from the three-point line and 65.5 percent from the free-throw line. Perhaps his efficiency numbers had something to do with it as well.
Westbrook was ultimately traded to the Utah Jazz who bought out his contract. He then signed with the Clippers and has provided them with a boost. In 21 games with the Clippers, all starts, Westbrook averaged 15.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.1 steals with shooting splits of 48.9 percent from the field, 35.6 percent from the three-point line and 65.8 percent from the free-throw line.
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