The writing has been on the wall for a few weeks now, but on Thursday evening the NBA confirmed that Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon was awarded the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year by the media. The true Sixth Man of the Year, Immanuel Quickley, came in the second in the voting.
Immanuel Quickley finished second in 6th Man of the Year voting: pic.twitter.com/EqotJ3Iq6M— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) April 20, 2023
Quickley was far and away the most impactful sixth man in the NBA this season — a plus/minus god who consistently shifted the momentum of games whenever he stepped on the court with his offense and defense. Most of the advanced metrics favored IQ, and he was the betting favorite in Vegas over the last few months of the season...you know, when the games were being played. But as the regular season ended, something changed. The Boston media machine began churning out the narrative that Quickley didn’t deserve the award because he occasionally started in place of his injured teammates — never mind the fact that most previous award winners had started games. The rest of the voters bought the argument, and here we are.
Whatever. Malcolm Brogdon is a fine player. He just isn’t one of the seven or so most important players on the Celtics. Years from now, Boston fans won’t wax poetic about Malcolm Brogdon’s 2022-23 season. Immanuel Quickley, on the other hand, raised his game when his team was floundering, and transformed himself into the league’s premier reserve player. And when Jalen Brunson was injured, he stepped up and did what was needed to win...including a certain game in Boston.
That’s the true measure of an NBA sixth man, whether a bunch of beat writers agree or not.