The Three Sixth Players and What They Can Do

Although at any given time there are five players on the court during a NBA game, we often consider the play of a sixth player when a team’s success is discussed. There are actually three different sixth players in the NBA—the actual player, the coach and the fans. Each of these sixth players can influence the outcome of a game.

The NBA Player

A solid sixth player is essential when it comes to winning in the NBA. That extra player can play in the front or backcourt. Here are the primary things to consider when it comes to sixth players.

  • Do they fill an important role? Usually that means putting in quality minutes while allowing starters to rest.
  • Can they play more than one position well?
  • Are they seasoned enough to make smart decisions?
  • Are they well conditioned to withstand the long season?
  • Do they enjoy their role and see it as being important?
  • Are they a two-way player?

Look for teams with quality sixth players. They can be hard to beat.

The NBA Coach

A good NBA coach can be a true sixth player. There are a few areas where a coach can be a huge difference maker during a game.

  • Connecting with players in a positive way.
  • Setting a tone and standards for consistent play.
  • Good management of player minutes.
  • Setting up good plays in crunch time.
  • Solid clock management.
  • Knowing when to give a foul.
  • The ability to make adjustments during half time.

People often blame a coach when a team is losing. Yet, the coach doesn’t play the game. But in the NBA, coaches have to make important split-second decisions that determine the outcome of a game. Without a good coach, a NBA team usually plays as a bunch of individuals. It’s hard to win when that happens.

Wikipedia: NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award

The NBA Fans

You may want to think of this as home court advantage. A supportive fan base that fills the venue with a lot of energy can do a few things. First, they can create a winning atmosphere. In the NBA, fans are right on top of the players and they rise way above them. Even though this is the pros, this can certainly intimidate some opposing players and teams. Also, solid fan support simply helps keep a player in the game during a very long season.

Betting on the Sixth Player

In sports betting, the way to rank these in importance would be:

  1. Actual player
  2. Coach
  3. Fans

When a game looks to be very close that home court advantage, the fans, can be difference makers. But the fact is that it’s the actual player who can have the biggest impact.