After speculating last week that Sacramento Kings guard Isaiah Thomas would fall out of our Sixth Man Rankings despite his impressive stats, Thomas fell out by default as he was elevated to starter.
With Greivis Vasquez shipped to Toronto in the Rudy Gay deal, Kings fans can breathe a sigh of relief that Thomas won’t get screwed out of this year’s Sixth Man Award.
As a result, for the first time in a long time, the five best Sixth Man candidates come from the five best teams in the Western Conference. While the order does not identically reflect the current standings, it’s no coincidence that the best teams are thriving with quality sixth men to start the season.
In the Eastern Conference, Dion Waiters deserves a shout-out for his turnaround to the season.
After sulking his way out of the starting lineup to begin the season, Waiters has thrived in his bench role, averaging 14.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 10 games. The Cavaliers have won their last two and are finally starting to look respectable after a disastrous start. With the East looking worse than ever, it is not inconceivable that the Cavaliers could snag the fifth seed.
One of the biggest questions I have going forward is the role of Danny Granger with the Indiana Pacers.
The former All Star announced he plans to play Friday night and understands that he will be entering a limited role. Still, with the Pacers at 19-3 and looking like the best team in the NBA, it’s almost scary to think that this team could actually get better.
People have suggested Indiana will look to trade Granger. In reality, his expiring contract seems perfect for a front office that will have to commit a considerable chunk of money to Lance Stephenson in the near future.
Now, on to the rankings.
DROPOUTS: Isaiah Thomas, G, Sacramento (5).
FIVE TO WATCH: Tyreke Evans, G, New Orleans; Markieff Morris, F, Phoenix; Ramon Sessions, G, Charlotte; Rodney Stuckey, G, Detroit; Dion Waiters, G, Cleveland.