Brooklyn Nets: Why Sean Kilpatrick Can Win Sixth Man of the Year
After an excellent start to his 2016 campaign, Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Sean Kilpatrick is could make a run at the sixth man of the year award.
The Brooklyn Nets realize the value that Sean Kilpatrick brings to the team after witnessing his breakout season last year. The guard averaged 13.8 points per game in 23 games played last season.
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This season, the guard is averaging 15.4 points, 2.5 assists, and 4.3 rebound per game.
With Kilpatrick now in the fourth year of his young NBA career, there is still a ton of room for improvement beyond the possibility of just winning Sixth Man of the Year.
Here are three reasons why Kilpatrick may win the award.
Kilpatrick is the only guard with previous experience in the Nets’ offense
Jeremy Lin, Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Randy Foye, and Isaiah Whitehead highlight the guards the Nets signed and drafted this past offseason. Of all the guards on the Nets’ current roster, Kilpatrick is one of the few who was on the roster last season.
Although head coach Kenny Atkinson has significantly changed the offensive style and game plan, having previous chemistry with the forwards and centers gives Kilpatrick a huge advantage over the other guards.
Not only does Kilpatrick benefit from having previous experience working with other players, but he benefits from the Nets having previous experience handling him as a player.
The Nets know how to utilize Kilpatrick to the best of his ability, as he has emerged as a major beneficiary for the Nets as a team. This is shown through the Nets’ decision to label Kilpatrick as the sixth man rather than elevating his status to a starter. As well as Kilpatrick played last season, he is playing even better this year, and his numbers prove that. Thus, the move to sixth man has benefited Kilpatrick, and this move can be attributed to the Nets’ familiarity of Kilpatrick.
The increase in talent from last season to this season makes Kilpatrick a better player
Though many would expect the presence of Lin to disturb Kilpatrick’s scoring, that is actually not the case.
Lin is a great point guard. He is excellent at the running the offense, he is a great passer, and he creates scoring opportunities for his fellow teammates.
In the case of Kilpatrick, Lin attracts better defenders, which leaves the worse defenders in the position of guarding Kilpatrick. Thus, Kilpatrick is relied on for scoring, meaning he is receiving more opportunities to score.
Kilpatrick is receiving three more minutes per game than he had received last season. More importantly, he is taking nearly one extra shot attempt per game. In addition, his shot attempts are far better looks than the attempts last season thanks to the spread of talent across the entire offense.
The wealth of talent the Nets have in the shooting guard department has elevated Kilpatrick’s talent and has been the source of greater opportunities for Kilpatrick this season. As the Nets get healthier, Kilpatrick’s numbers should only increase.
Coming off the bench makes Kilpatrick a better player than if he were to be a starter
One of the greatest misconceptions NBA fans have is that starters have better opportunities and play more minutes than the backups.
Not only is Kilpatrick always on the floor in the final minutes of close games, but he has received the third most minutes out of any player on the Nets.
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What many do not realize is that although Kilpatrick is not on the floor to begin games, he is on the floor with the starters for the majority of the game. It isn’t a hidden secret that Kilpatrick is better than Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, a starter; however, the Nets feel that Kilpatrick can have the greatest effect when coming into the game as an energized sixth man.
In the single game Kilpatrick did start this season, he only scored seven points in over 28 minutes of play. It is clear to both the Nets and Kilpatrick that the role of sixth man suits Kilpatrick best and allows him to perform to his full potential.
This reason is likely the most important of the three as to why Kilpatrick may win the Sixth Man of the Year award. Kilpatrick is currently averaging more points, rebounds, and assists than Jamal Crawford did last season, when Crawford won the award. Keep a close eye on Kilpatrick’s name as the season progresses and the award becomes a further discussed topic surrounding the NBA.