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Hollinger maligned Herro’s Sixth Man of the Year case. He’s wrong.

The award supposedly “isn’t reserved for the backup guard who jacks up the most shots.”

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Atlanta Hawks v Miami Heat Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Tyler Herro has seemed like a runaway winner for the Sixth Man of the Year award all season, but John Hollinger of The Athletic disagrees.

In an article announcing his award picks, the former Memphis Grizzlies executive said Herro is a “high-volume, middling-at-best efficiency possession sponge.” He also pointed out that opposing teams target Herro on defense — a fair point, to be sure. But Hollinger concludes saying that the award “isn’t reserved for the backup guard who jacks up the most shots, despite what recent history may indicate” and says Kevin Love “should be a fairly obvious pick.” He also insists that he doesn’t “mean to dump on Herro.”

First off, Ben Gordon won the Sixth Man award in 2005. Jason Terry won it in 2009. And then, of course, Jamal Crawford and Lou Williams won it three times each — in what I assume Hollinger alludes to with his “recent history” comment. The Sixth Man award has often gone to a backup guard.

A better analysis of the Sixth Man award comes from Dan Devine of The Ringer, who rightfully puts Herro as the winner. As he notes, “It’s no coincidence that the Heat score at a top-five rate with Herro on the floor and are nearly a bottom-10 offense with him off of it.”

Devine also says that Herro has posted his best true shooting and assist percentages of his career. He’s not just jacking up shots. He’s buttressed a Heat offense that has at times suffered from the absences or struggles of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry.

While the Cleveland Cavaliers were the surprise story of the East early on — who thought they’d be 35-21 in mid-February? — they’ve fallen to the eighth seed and a 43-38 record with one game left. Injuries have hurt the Cavaliers, but Love’s shooting has dipped over the last two months.

Herro is the clear frontrunner for the Sixth Man of the Year award, and the upcoming vote totals will reflect that.