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History of the Blazers: NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Winners

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The Trail Blazers celebrate their 50-year anniversary this season. Here is a look back at the players that secured the NBA’s Sixth Man award for their work in Portland.

1997 NBA Playoffs - Round One Game Two: Los Angeles Lakers v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

This season, the Trail Blazers are set to unveil several festivities tied to the 50-year anniversary of the organization. To keep with that theme, we are taking a look back at Portland’s history with each league-wide award. Today’s focus looks at the players that earned the NBA’s Sixth Man award for their work in a Blazers uniform. Along with the winners, we take a brief look at the players who narrowly missed out on securing that honor.

The Winner

  • Cliff Robinson | F | Season: 1992-93

Tucked behind an established frontcourt, Robinson still managed to make a positive impact on the Blazers’ win total. In the 1992-93 season, Robinson enjoyed noticeable increases in his field goal percentage (47.3) and scoring average (19.1). He appeared in all 82 games and finished in front of former teammate Danny Ainge for the award.

Following the 1992-93 season, Robinson went on to secure a regular spot in the starting lineup until his eventual departure. Robinson signed with the Suns in the in the summer of 1997.

Just Short

  • Kenny Carr | PF | Season: 1983-84

After bouncing around the NBA to start his career, Carr latched on with the Blazers as a serviceable big man. He appeared in all 82 games during his second season in Portland, and was featured in the starting lineup on 57 occasions. Carr’s 15.6 points per game average in the 1983-84 campaign represent a career-high, but it wasn’t enough to surpass Kevin McHale and John Drew in the final voting for the award.

  • Clyde Drexler | SG | Season: 1984-85

Like Carr, Drexler finished behind McHale for the Sixth Man award. In his second NBA season, Drexler made 43 starts in 80 regular season appearances. His scoring averaged jumped from 7.7 to 17.2 points per game. Unfortunately, the Most Improved Player award was still a year away from existence.

  • Arvydas Sabonis | C | Season: 1995-96

Sabonis’ first NBA season saw him finish in second place for two awards. He finished behind future teammate Damon Stoudamire for Rookie of the Year and Toni Kukoc for Sixth Man of the Year. Chris Dudley made 61 starts at the pivot spot for the Blazers—Sabonis picked up the other 21.

  • Rasheed Wallace | PF | Season: 1998-99

After appearing as a starter in 77 games the previous year, Wallace returned to the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season as a bench contributor. Brian Grant, Stacey Augmon, and Sabonis all outpaced Wallace for starts in the frontcourt. The former Tar Heels star finished behind Magic point guard Darrell Armstrong for Sixth Man honors.

Blazers legend Terry Porter also made an appearance in the voting for his bench contributions for the Miami Heat.