Tyler Herro from the Miami Heat won the 2022 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award as the best reserve in the league this season. To honor Herro, we’ve compiled another complete OG list of winners who earned one of the NBA’s most-prestigious distinctions.

Bobby Jones Kevin McHale 76ers Celtics NBA Sixth Man of Year list winners winner
Bobby Jones from the Philadelphia 76ers won the first-ever NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1983, and he boxed out Kevin McHale from the Boston Celtics who won twice. (Image: Dick Raphael/Getty)

Lou Williams and Jamal Crawford hold the NBA record as a three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year, and the two shooting guards are a part of a small list of multi-winners. It’s a bit surprising that only a handful of NBA players won the Sixth Man of the Year more than once, so it’s a small list that also includes Kevin McHale, Detlef Schrempf, Ricky Pierce, and Jamal Crawford.

NBA Sixth Man of the Year – Multiple Winners
  • Lou Williams (3): 2015, 2018, 2019
  • Jamal Crawford (3): 2010,2014, 2016
  • Kevin McHale (2): 1984, 1985
  • Detlef Schrempf (2): 1991, 1992
  • Ricky Pierce (2): 1987, 1990

Only a handful of NBA Hall of Fame players are on the list of Sixth Man of the Year winners, which includes McHale, Bobby Jones, Bill Walton, Toni Kukoc, and Manu Ginobili.

Lou Williams Clippers Sixth Man NBA
Lou Williams from the LA Clippers won the Sixth Man of the Year three times, including twice with the Clippers. (Image: Getty)

Sixth-man winners: SGs and PFs

Since 2005, shooting guards have dominated the scene, winning the Sixth Man of the Year 15 out of 17 times. Since 1983, 21 shooting guards won the award; the most out of any other position. It makes sense because rule changes in the early 21st century favored guards and overall scoring flourished. The modern NBA is a guard-friendly league compared to the old days when the gigantic trees dominated the landscape.

NBA Sixth Man of the Year – By Position
  • Shooting Guard (21)
  • Power Forward (11)
  • Small Forward (4)
  • Point Guard (2)
  • Center (2)

A non-shooting guard won the Sixth Man of the Year 19 times out of 40 instances since the award’s inception in 1983. In the 1980s, the NBA was dominated by big men, so it wasn’t uncommon for a power forward to come off the bench as a main scoring contributor. In the first 13 seasons, a power forward dominated the Sixth Man of the Year list with eight wins.

In the first 19 seasons, a shooting guard won the award only five times, including Dell Curry — the father of Steph and Seth Curry — back in 1994. A small forward won four times, but a center and point guard only won twice each.

Detlef Schrempf Indiana Pacers
German-born Detlef Schrempf won the Sixth Man of the Year in back-to-back seasons with the Indiana Pacers in the early 1990s. (Image: AP)

1980s powerful power forwards: McHale, Schrempf

Bobby Jones, one of Dr. J’s teammates from the Philadelphia 76ers, was the first player to win the Sixth Man of the Year when the award was introduced at the start of the 1982-83 season.

Kevin McHale was a legendary member of the Boston Celtics during the Larry Bird era, but he began his career as a valuable reserve who could score, rebound, and beat the crap out of you. McHale took over as a starter in the mid-1980s, which is why Bill Walton won the award in 1986. Walton is one of the few players along with James Harden to win the NBA MVP and Sixth Man Award.

NBA Sixth Man of the Year Winners: 1983-1993
1983 Bobby Jones Philadelphia 76ers
1984 Kevin McHale Boston Celtics
1985 Kevin McHale ** Boston Celtics
1986 Bill Walton Boston Celtics
1987 Ricky Pierce Milwaukee Bucks
1988 Roy Tarpley Dallas Mavericks
1989 Eddie Johnson Phoenix Suns
1990 Ricky Pierce ** Milwaukee Bucks
1991 Detlef Schrempf Indiana Pacers
1992 Detlef Schrempf ** Indiana Pacers
1993 Clifford Robinson Portland Trail Blazers

Ricky Pierce was a fierce competitor who provided instant offense off the bench for the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1980s. He won the Sixth Man of the Year twice in 1987 and 1990.

Germany’s Detlef Schrempf began his career as a starter with the Dallas Mavericks, but he was an important second-unit player with the Indiana Pacers with back-to-back wins in 1991 and 1992.

Anthony Mason New York Knicks 1990s
Anthony Mason from the New York Knicks boxes out Hakeem Olajuwon during the 1994 NBA Finals.  (Image: Getty)

Mid-1990s: Point guards and small forwards

Between 1994 and 2004, point guards (Darrell Armstrong, Bobby Jackson) and small forwards (Toni Kukoc, Corliss Williamson, Antawn Jamison) were the key players off the bench for many teams.

NBA Sixth Man of the Year Winners: 1994-2004
1994 Dell Curry Charlotte Hornets
1995 Anthony Mason New York Knicks
1996 Toni Kukoc Chicago Bulls
1997 John Starks New York Knicks
1998 Danny Manning Phoenix Suns
1999 Darrell Armstrong Orlando Magic
2000 Rodney Rogers Phoenix Suns
2001 Aaron McKie Philadelphia 76ers
2002 Corliss Williamson Detroit Pistons
2003 Bobby Jackson Sacramento Kings
2004 Antawn Jamison Dallas Mavericks

Anthony Mason was one of the few power forwards off the bench who dominated the scene. Mason was an integral part of the halcyon days of the rough and tumble New York Knicks that began under Pat Riley and continued under Jeff Van Gundy. John Starks is another memorable member of the Knicks who won the Sixth Man during the team’s last great era.

Jamal Crawford LA Clippers
Jamal Crawford, then playing with the LA Clippers, is tied with Lou Williams as a three-time winner of the NBA Sixth Man of the Year. (Image: Getty)

2000s: rise of the shooting guards

When the NBA eliminated hand-checking and shifted to a guard-friendly league, shooting guards were at a premium. Every team needed a reliable gunslinger off the bench who could light it up with the second unit. Power forward Lamar Odom and center Montrezl Harrell were the only two non-shooting guards to win Sixth Man of the Year between 2005 and the present day.

NBA Sixth Man of the Year Winners: 2005-2022
2005 Ben Gordon Chicago Bulls
2006 Mike Miller Memphis Grizzlies
2007 Leandro Barbosa Phoenix Suns
2008 Manu Ginobili San Antonio Spurs
2009 Jason Terry Dallas Mavericks
2010 Jamal Crawford Atlanta Hawks
2011 Lamar Odom LA Lakers
2012 James Harden Oklahoma City Thunder
2013 JR Smith New York Knicks
2014 Jamal Crawford ** LA Clippers
2015 Lou Williams Toronto Raptors
2016 Jamal Crawford ** LA Clippers
2017 Eric Gordon Houston Rockets
2018 Lou Williams ** LA Clippers
2019 Lou Williams ** LA Clippers
2020 Montrezl Harrell LA Clippers
2021 Jordan Clarkson Utah Jazz
2022 Tyler Herro Miami Heat

James Harden got his start as a sharpshooter off the bench with the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he won the Sixth Man of the Year in 2012. In 2018, Harden won the MVP with the Houston Rockets and joined Bill Walton with the rare feat.

The Clippers relied on their bench to provide an offensive boost in the 2010s. Jamal Crawford is a three-time recipient who won the Sixth Man of Year twice with the Clippers in 2014 and 2016. Lou Williams is another three-time winner who snagged the award twice with the Clippers in back-to-back seasons in 2018 and 2019.

Check out more of OG’s complete lists.

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