The general consensus for a while has been that Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson will win Sixth Man of the Year for the 2020-21 season. After all, he's tops among primary bench scorers with 17.9 points per game as a reserve and is on the team with the best record in the league. There's also an argument that Clarkson's Jazz teammate, Joe Ingles, should be the winner thanks to his ridiculous 3-point shooting prowess and overall impact. While Clarkson and Ingles have strong cases, the real winner should be New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose.
Rose was wallowing in obscurity to start the season with the Detroit Pistons, but he found a new lease on life when he was traded to the upstart Knicks earlier this season. He has played a massive role in getting New York to 38-31 on the season, which is currently sixth in the Eastern Conference. The fourth seed is still very much in play, though, given the fourth-seeded Atlanta Hawks and fifth-seeded Miami Heat are also 38-31.
Rose is averaging 15.1 points, 4.3 assists and 2.9 rebounds in 26.9 minutes per game with New York. He's shooting an extremely efficient 48.7% from the field and 40.7% from 3-point range. That 3-point mark is especially impressive given he has never been known as a long-range bomber.
The veteran guard's recent numbers are even more absurd. In May, Derrick Rose is putting up 22.0 points per game on a red-hot 59.6% shooting overall and 56.5% from 3-point land. He's on an absolute heater and nearly helped lead the Knicks to back-to-back wins over the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers.
Rose's defense this season has even seen a massive improvement compared to past years, which shouldn't be too big a surprise given he's once again playing for defensive savant Tom Thibodeau. Rose became something of a train wreck on that end after all his knee injuries, but now he's helping New York's elite unit.
The 33-year-old's overall impact is evident whenever you watch a Knicks game. Thibs has stubbornly stuck with Elfrid Payton in the starting lineup, which often results in slow starts. Then D-Rose will come in, change the game and play lengthy stints, relegating Payton to a Keith Bogans-esque role (shoutout to the 2010-11 Chicago Bulls).
Rose's impact is evidenced by his ridiculous on/off splits. The Knicks have outscored their opponents by a whopping 11.7 points per 100 possessions in Rose's 889 minutes, according to NBA.com His off-court net rating as a Knick is minus-1.3.
Rose's production and impact on team success make him a worthy candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, and he should win it. Clarkson has his gaudy scoring numbers but isn't the most efficient player and doesn't have the same overall impact on a more talented Jazz team. Ingles' case is probably better than Clarkson's, though he has gone more under the radar since he's not as flashy and doesn't have the same raw production.
Either way, it would certainly be quite the feat for Derrick Rose to pull this off after he was left for dead as an impact player in recent seasons. Give the man the award.