It was announced live on air during the playoffs that Utah Jazz wing Jordan Clarkson had won the Sixth Man of The Year award. Voting results were then released, showing that Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony had finished sixth, and big man Enes Kanter had finished tenth.
In a nice touch for the Jazz and eventual winner Clarkson, his teammate and fellow sixth man of the year finalist Joe Ingles surprised him with the award live on TNT.
For Melo, this was the first year he came off the bench, but he saw some success as a backup stretch four on a Blazers team that eventually secured the sixth seed in the Western Conference.
Melo actually shot a career-high 40.9 percent on three-pointers this season, as well as a career-high from the free-throw line at 89.0 percent. Melo accepted this bench role in the latter stages of his career, and not only has given great scoring to the bench, but he has also been a strong locker-room influence on the younger players in the team.
As per the above tweet from Dallas Mavericks beat writer Tim MacMahon, Kanter also finished top ten in the final voting. Kanter finished with the tenth-most votes in what was arguably his best year in the NBA. With Jusuf Nurkic out injured for around two months, Kanter stepped up big time and won the Blazers multiple games with great paint scoring and offensive rebounding.
He averaged a career-high 11.0 rebounds to go with a career-high 60.4 percent from the field.
Both players were instrumental in the Blazers improved bench effort in the 2021 season.