OAKLAND -- Warriors coach Steve Kerr typically avoids campaigning for his players to get individual awards. He made an exception on Friday.
He made a passionate, and reasoned, pitch for Andre Iguodala to win the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award.
“I don't know if I've ever really pushed any of our players for awards -- Steph (Curry) for MVP, Draymond (Green)for Defensive Player of the Year,” Kerr said prior to tipoff against Houston at Oracle Arena. “Maybe i have. It's not something I normally do. But I am sort of intrigued by the Sixth Man of the Year award. It seems like it should just say ‘highest scoring player off the bench’ award. Depends on how people look at it.
“But if you want to look at the best Sixth Man in the game, in terms of winning, there's no way anyone is better than Andre.”
Insofar as Iguodala is a significant component of what the Warriors do on offense and defense, his value is not as tangible as such bench scorers as Rockets guards Eric Gordon and Lou Williams, or Clippers guard Jamal Crawford, who has won the award three times.
Scoring is why Williams, at 17.8 per game this season, is a leading contender. Gordon, at 16.3 is right behind him. Crawford is averaging 12.4 points, his lowest since 2002-03.
Iguodala’s point totals almost never jump off the page. He’s averaging 7.3 points and 4.0 assists. He leads all non-starters in Real Plus-Minus at 3.32, better than such All-Stars as Washington’s John Wall (3.12), Utah’s Gordon Hayward (3.02) and Indiana’s Paul George (2.16).
“He's like a starter for us,” Kerr said. “He's played backup point guard. He's currently our backup power forward. He guards the best player every single night -- Kawhi Leonard, James Harden. He comes in and automatically guards the best guy. I think he leads the league in assist to turnover ratio (he does, at 4.58, well ahead of Chris Paul’s 3.86). This guy, he's phenomenal.
“But people are going to look at the stats and go, well, he's averaging six, seven points, however many. Then they're going to find someone who averages 17 and say: 'I'm going to vote for that guy.'
“But those of you with votes, I'll remind you that this game is about more than just scoring. There's my push for Andre. He'll probably cuss me out for it."