Tyler Herro from the Miami Heat won the 2022 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award as the best reserve in the league this season, and to honor Herro, we compiled another complete OG list of winners who  earned one of the NBA’s most-prestigious distinctions.

Bobby Jones from the Philadelphia 76ers won the first-ever NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1983, and he boxed out Kevin McHale from the Boston Celtics who won twice. (Image: Dick Raphael/Getty)

Lou Williams and Jamal Crawford hold the NBA record as a three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year, and the two shooting guards are a part of a small list of multi-winners. It’s a bit surprising that only a handful of NBA players won the Sixth Man of the Year more than once, so it’s a small list that also includes Kevin McHale, Detlef Schrempf, Ricky Pierce, and Jamal Crawford.

  • Lou Williams (3): 2015, 2018, 2019
  • Jamal Crawford (3): 2010,2014, 2016
  • Kevin McHale (2): 1984, 1985
  • Detlef Schrempf (2): 1991, 1992
  • Ricky Pierce (2): 1987, 1990

Only a handful of NBA Hall of Fame players are on the list of Sixth Man of the Year winners, which includes McHale, Bobby Jones, Bill Walton, Toni Kukoc, and Manu Ginobili.

Lou Williams from the LA Clippers won the Sixth Man of the Year three times including twice with the Clips. (Image: Getty)

Sixth Man Winners: SGs and PFs

Since 2005, shooting guards dominated the scene and won the Sixth Man of the Year 15 out of 17 times. Since 1983, 21 shooting guards won for the most out of any other position. It makes sense, because rule changes in the early 21st century favored guards and overall scoring flourished. The modern NBA is a guard-friendly league, compared to the old days when the gigantic trees dominated the landscape.

  • Shooting Guard (21)
  • Power Forward (11)
  • Small Forward (4)
  • Point Guard (2)
  • Center (2)

A non-shooting guard won the Sixth Man of the Year 19 times out of 40 instances since its inception in 1983. In the 1980s, the NBA was dominated by big men, so it was not uncommon for a power forward to come off the bench as a main scoring contributor. In the first 13 seasons, a power forward dominated the Sixth Man of the Year list with eight wins.

In the first 19 seasons, a shooting guard won the award only five times, which includes Dell Curry — the father of Steph and Seth Curry — back in 1994. A small forward won four times, but a center and point guard only won twice each.

Detlef Schrempf Indiana Pacers
German-born Detlef Schrempf won the Sixth Man of the Year in back-to-back seasons with the Indiana Pacers in the early 1990s. (Image: AP)

1980s Powerful Power Forwards: McHale, Schrempf

Bobby Jones, one of Dr. J’s teammates from the Philadelphia 76ers, was the first-ever player to win the Sixth Man of the Year when the award was introduced at the start f the 1982-83 season.

Kevin McHale was a legendary member of the Boston Celtics during the Larry Bird era, but he began his career as a valuable reserve who could score, rebounds, and beat the crap out of you. McHale took over as a starter in the mid-1980s, which is why Bill Walton won the award in 1986. Walton is one of the few players along with James Harden to win the NBA MVP and Sixth Man Award.

1983Bobby JonesPhiladelphia 76ers
1984Kevin McHaleBoston Celtics
1985Kevin McHale **Boston Celtics
1986Bill WaltonBoston Celtics
1987Ricky PierceMilwaukee Bucks
1988Roy TarpleyDallas Mavericks
1989Eddie JohnsonPhoenix Suns
1990Ricky Pierce **Milwaukee Bucks
1991Detlef SchrempfIndiana Pacers
1992Detlef Schrempf **Indiana Pacers
1993Clifford RobinsonPortland Trail Blazers

Ricky Pierce was a fierce competitor from the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1980s, who provided instant offense off the bench. He won the Sixth Man of the Year twice in 1987 and 1990.

Germany’s Detlef Schrempf began his career as a starter with the Dallas Mavs, but he was an important second-unit player with the Indiana Pacers with back-to-back wins in 1991 and 1992.

Anthony Mason from the New York Knicks boxes out Hakeem Olajuwon during the 1994 NBA Finals.  (Image: Getty)

Mid-1990s: Point Guards and Small Forwards

Between 1994 and 2004, point guards (Darrell Armstrong, Bobby Jackson) and small forwards (Toni Kukoc, Corliss Williamson, Antawn Jamison) were the key players off the bench for many teams.

1994Dell CurryCharlotte Hornets
1995Anthony MasonNew York Knicks
1996Toni KukocChicago Bulls
1997John StarksNew York Knicks
1998Danny ManningPhoenix Suns
1999Darrell ArmstrongOrlando Magic
2000Rodney RogersPhoenix Suns
2001Aaron McKiePhiladelphia 76ers
2002Corliss WilliamsonDetroit Pistons
2003Bobby JacksonSacramento Kings
2004Antawn JamisonDallas Mavericks

Anthony Mason was one of the few power forwards off the bench that dominated the scene. Mason was an integral part of the halcyon days of the rough and tumble New York Knicks that began under Pat Riley and continued under Jeff Van Gundy. John Starks is another memorable member of the Knicks who won the Sixth Man during the last great era of the Knicks.

Jamal Crawford, then playing with the LA Clippers, is tied with Lou Williams as a three-time winner of the NBA Sixth Man of the Year. (Image: Getty)

2000s: The Rise of the Shooting Guards

When the NBA eliminated handchecking and shifted to a guard-friendly league, shooting guards became a premium. Every team needed a reliable gunslinger off the bench who could light it up with the second unit. Power forward Lamar Odom and center Montrezl Harrell were the only two non-shooting guards to win Sixth Man of the Year between 2005 and present day.

2005Ben GordonChicago Bulls
2006Mike MillerMemphis Grizzlies
2007Leandro BarbosaPhoenix Suns
2008Manu GinobiliSan Antonio Spurs
2009Jason TerryDallas Mavericks
2010Jamal CrawfordAtlanta Hawks
2011Lamar OdomLA Lakers
2012James HardenOklahoma City Thunder
2013JR SmithNew York Knicks
2014Jamal Crawford **LA Clippers
2015Lou WilliamsToronto Raptors
2016Jamal Crawford **LA Clippers
2017Eric GordonHouston Rockets
2018Lou Williams **LA Clippers
2019Lou Williams **LA Clippers
2020Montrezl HarrellLA Clippers
2021Jordan ClarksonUtah Jazz
2022Tyler HerroMiami Heat

James Harden got his start as a sharpshooter off the bench with the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he won the Sixth Man of the Year in 2012. In 2018, Harden won the MVP with the Houston Rockets and joined Bill Walton with the rare feat.

The Clippers relied on their bench to provide an offensive boost in the 2010s. Jamal Crawford is a three-time recipient but won the Sixth Man of Year twice with the Clippers in 2014 and 2016. Lou Williams is another three-time winner, but snagged the award twice with the Clippers in back-to-back seasons in 2018 and 2019.

Check out more of OG’s complete lists.