As we continue on through “Bet Week” on BasketballNews.com,
we’re combining two awards into one breakdown, as NBA Sixth Man of
the Year and Coach of the Year go under the microscope next.
Which names stand out as the best bets? And what are some
potential underdog fliers that could pay huge dividends at the end
of the season? Let’s dive into it with odds provided by
Sixth Man of the Year
Best Bet: Tyler Herro, Miami Heat (+500)
Tied atop the odds leaderboard alongside Golden State Warriors
breakout star Jordan Poole, Tyler Herro put together a very strong
case to repeat in this category. Not only is Herro a key cog to the
Heat’s well-oiled machine, but he fits within his role off the
bench so well.
On his way to winning 6MOY last season, Herro averaged 20.7
points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists on a 56.1% True Shooting
percentage. Herro not only took the needed steps forward in his own
career trajectory, but he once again is a swing element to Miami’s
formula for success in 2022-23. With the Heat looking likely to run
it back with the majority of their rotation, plenty of offensive
burden remains on Herro’s shoulders.
If the Heat finish near the top of the Eastern Conference
standings as expected, Herro’s opportunity to repeat is right there
for the taking with maintained statistics.
Sixth Man of the Year
Dark-Horse Bet: Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns
Cameron Johnson was a finalist last season for this award, but
it still seems like his impressive third-year campaign fell a
little too far under the radar. Off the bench spelling Mikal
Bridges and Jae Crowder as Phoenix’s third wing, Johnson averaged
12.5 points while shooting 42.5% from three-point range. A valuable
marksman within the Suns’ formidable rotation, Johnson enters a
contract year where a lot of potential scoring possessions will be
available to the most aggressive player.
Devin Booker and Chris Paul still control the offense in
Phoenix, but who will step as the consistent third option? Deandre
Ayton should be that focal point following a max contract, but
Johnson has continuously shown he can pour in points when given the
ultimate green light. Suns head coach Monty Williams values
Johnson’s underrated two-way game, so expect him to hover around
starter-like minutes anyways.
Kevin Durant’s looming trade saga plays a massive role here too.
If Durant comes to the Valley, this is all for naught with Johnson
likely off to the Brooklyn Nets. However, the longer this drags
out, it feels inevitable that Phoenix runs it all back and sees
what happens. If so, keep an eye on Johnson taking another step
Coach of the Year Best
Bet: Ime Udoka, Boston Celtics (+700)
Following a rough start, there’s no denying Ime Udoka rallied
this group together for a magical NBA Finals run. Now, with an even
stronger roster, Boston is poised to stay atop the East standings.
For Udoka, he already has support to be an easy, shoo-in COY
favorite. If the Celtics can repeat their success while avoiding
any costly injuries, Udoka’s chances should be high.
And a special kudos to former Celtics
head-coach-turned-executive Brad Stevens, because he made Udoka’s
job so much easier with this projected rotation:
Starting Lineup: Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum,
Al Horford, Robert Williams
Second Unit: Malcolm Brogdon, Derrick White, Danilo
Gallinari, Grant Williams
Health-permitting, Udoka and the Celtics own a realistic pathway
to nabbing multiple season-ending awards.
Coach of the Year
Dark-Horse Bet = Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat
Similar to the argument presented for the favorite in Udoka,
don’t sleep on the Heat staying in the East’s elite tier. Even
without a potential Durant acquisition, Miami’s roster is still
fortified enough where 50-plus wins should be attainable.
Already known as one of the league’s best tacticians, Erik
Spoelstra leading Miami to the peak of the East standings would put
him in a great spot to secure yet another COY honor. Miami is
always a team that can sneak up on people, especially from a
betting perspective. Don’t let that happen with an underrated
offseason wrapping up for the Heat, which, as shown, can propel
them to multiple pole positions on awards.