Raptors campaign for entire bench to be named NBA’s Sixth Man of Year

Toronto Raptors centre Jakob Poeltl (L) celebrates with Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet. (ERIK S. LESSER/EPA)

The NBA’s regular season wraps up this week, providing teams a last chance to make a post-season push, jockey for playoff — or draft lottery — positioning, and to make final adjustments before the games really start to matter.

The season’s final stretch also provides a last chance for players to leave a mark and make a statement. It’s particularly true of those who could be in contention for the NBA’s season-ending awards. But with 80 games already in the books for most teams, voters have likely seen enough to know how their ballot will shake out.

That, of course, doesn’t stop teams from campaigning for their team’s candidates, and it’s a familiar practice in the NBA. In 2015, for example, the Golden State Warriors public relations staff contacted voters directly to make their case for eventual MVP Steph Curry.

This year, the Toronto Raptors are thinking outside the box when it comes to the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award.

The team is making its case for the entire Raptors bench to take home the honour, which every year until now has gone to an individual player. The team’s official Twitter account posted the following graphic on Monday afternoon:

That was followed by a number of tweets highlighting one defining attribute for each member of the Raptors’ “bench mob” — the nickname given to Toronto’s second-unit.

The Raptors bench has been an absolute difference-maker this season, and owns a higher plus-minus than any other reserve unit in the NBA by a healthy margin. Of the group, which includes guards Fred VanVleet and Delon Wright, C.J. Miles, and big men Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl, VanVleet likely has the best chance at actually taking home the award. But it’s very unlikely after the season Lou Williams — who was named Sixth Man of the Year in 2015 as a member of the Raptors— has had with the Los Angeles Clippers.

The NBA will hand out its hardware during their second consecutive NBA awards show on June 25th.

You can scroll through all of the Raptors’ Sixth Man campaign graphics here.

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