A Milwaukee Buck has not won the Sixth Man of the Year award in 27 years. The last Bucks player to do so was Ricky Pierce in 1990. Pierce averaged 23 points per game that year for Milwaukee. He also won the award in 1986-87 and is the only Bucks player to ever do so.
While Greg Monroe is nowhere near averaging 23 points per game this season he still has a good case for the Sixth Man of the Year award. At this point in the race, he figures to be in the top five along with Patty Mills, Zach Randolph, Lou Williams, and Eric Gordon.
When simply looking at the per game averages of the players Monroe can get easily buried behind the other candidates. His scoring appears to lag far behind and the other stats do not jump out on the page either. However, when you take a deeper look Monroe’s true case for Sixth Man of the Year really comes to life. Let’s check out how Monroe fare’s when the statistics are adjusted per 100 possessions.
Now Monroe’s true abilities come to light. He leads all candidates in field goal percentage, steals and blocks per 100 possessions and only Randolph averages more rebounds than Monroe. He is also the highest rated defensive player of the bunch (more on that in a moment).
The deeper we dive into the stats the more clear Monroe’s case becomes. Here is where Monroe ranks in some of the advanced statistics when compared to the other four candidates:
Greg Monroe has the second highest PER and Win Shares of the group, behind Lou Williams in both categories. However, he owns the highest Box Plus/Minus and Value Over Replacement Player of the group.
In the advanced statistics table, you’ll also see the defensive categories once again come to light. Monroe has the highest steal and block percentage of the five candidates. The steal percentage is the most surprising considering there are three other guards on the table.
While a strong case can be made for Lou Williams based purely on his offensive numbers, Greg Monroe deserves a real look because of his defense. I can’t believe I just said that.
By every account, even defensively, the Milwaukee Bucks are a better team when Monroe is on the floor. With Monroe on the floor, the Bucks Offensive Rating jumps to an 111.4 compared to 104.2 when he is on the bench. The Defensive rating falls a 106.1 from a 107.3 when Monroe is off the court. The Bucks also shoot the ball better and rebound better. I mean the list goes on and on. What else could you want from Greg Monroe?
In the modern NBA, guards dominate the ball and the eyes of the audience. They ouuu and ahhh fans on a nightly basis. Especially on the fast-paced Rockets. MVP candidate James Harden is leading a lethal attack in Houston and is opening up space for his knock down shooters. The fans and award voters get caught up in the beauty of the three-point shot and the efficiency in which Houston is knocking them down from long distance.
Whether it’s admitted to or not winning also matters in award races. The media has a hard time justifying voting for a player on a losing team over a player on a winning team. Every year since the 1993-94 season the Sixth Man of the Year has played on a team with a winning record. If Milwaukee wants Greg Monroe to have any chance at receiving the award they must continue their winning ways.