Sixth Man Rankings: Best Bench Players Igniting Surprise Teams

1Phoenix Suns MARKIEFF MORRIS, F, PHOENIX:  The Suns looked to be “Riggin’ for Wiggins.” Now they’ve become the West’s early season darling. Morris has been a monster, ranking in the top five with 15.9 points and 6.4 rebounds. His effective shooting (60%) helps space the floor for Eric Bledsoe’s drives. That’s why he leads our Most Improved Rankings, too.
2Jamal Crawford Headshot JAMAL CRAWFORD, G, LA CLIPPERS: Held control of these rankings for much of last season until J..R Smith’s late-season surge. Yes, his defense is atrocious. But the Clippers know his value lies on offense. In six wins, he is averaging 18.3 points. In three losses, it’s 14.3. It’s fair to say Crawford could be the X-factor in a deep playoff run.
3 Jeremy Lin headshotJEREMY LIN, G, HOUSTON: With Patrick Beverley’s return Thursday, Lin scored 21 off the bench vs. his former team. While his assists regress from 6.4 as a starter to 3.0 off the bench, Houston has been better with Lin looking to score first. In six wins, Lin averages 2.8 assists. In four losses, he’s at 7.5. Go figure.
ISAIAH THOMAS, G, SACRAMENTO: Deserves some credit. Leads in bench scoring (18.1 points) and is second in assists (4.8 assists). Even more impressive is he has racked up those numbers without a start. If Kings weren’t 2-5, he would get more consideration for top spot. Also, this play was ridiculous.
5PHI_Wroten_TonyTONY WROTEN, G, PHILADELPHIA: Made history Wednesday as first player in merger era with a triple-double in his first career start. The Sixers are 5-4 after being pegged with an over/under of 17 wins for the season, and it’s only mid-November. If Philly pounces on Evan Turner’s all-time high trade value, Wroten could slide into a starter’s role.


FIVE TO WATCH: Ray Allen, G, Miami; Jodie Meeks, G, LA Lakers; Ramon Sessions, G, Charlotte; C.J. Miles, G-F, Cleveland; Manu Ginobili, G, San Antonio.

OTHER RANKINGS: Rookie | Most Improved | MVP 

Jacob Eisenberg is a student at Emory University and covers the NBA for Check out his website and click here to follow him on Twitter. 


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