5. Anderson Varejao, Cleveland
Key stats: 77 games (38 starts), 8.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 54.2 FG%, 28.6 mpg.
4. Travis Outlaw, Portland
Key stats: 77 games (5 starts), 12.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 45.2 FG%, 27.9 mpg
3. J.R. Smith, Denver
Key stats: 78 games (18 starts), 14.9 ppg, 44.5 FG%, 39.2 3P%, 27.8 mpg
2. Nate Robinson, New York
Key stats: 71 games (11 starts), 17.5 ppg, 4.1 apg, 3.9 rpg, 24.8 mpg
Robinson may be vertically challenged, but his hops and stature on the Knicks are not. The reigning slam dunk king is on one serious tear in just his fourth season overall and first under New York boss Mike D'Antoni.
Robinson is averaging about 22 points, five assists, four rebounds, 32 minutes and shooting 45 percent over the last 28 games.
Included are 14 20-point performances, eight of at least 30 and another at 40. He's in the top 20 in scoring for all players after the All-Star break.
"Nate has been playing great," Hawks guard Joe Johnson said. "He gives the Knicks so much energy off the bench, and from what I've been seeing, he's been very efficient. He's making a good case for himself to get that Sixth Man award. He is making everyone take notice."
Even at 5-foot-9, Robinson is hard to miss. He tied the franchise record for most points off the bench (41) first set by Bob McAdoo in 1978. Robinson ranks second in bench scoring, and finished ninth in scoring for February at 23.9 points a game. He's also the first player since Magic Johnson in 1981 to record at least 30 points, 15 assists, nine rebounds and five steals in the same game, doing so against Denver on March 29.
1. Jason Terry, Dallas
Key stats: 70 games (11 starts), 19.6 ppg, 46.7 FG%, 88 FT%, 33.6 mpg
The clear-cut favorite all season has yet to slow down. After transitioning to sixth man on a semi-permanent basis last year, Terry is racking up big-time numbers in his first full season as Rick Carlisle's designated assassin off the bench.
"I'm fortunate to have a guy like this in the prime of his career who is not only willing to make the sacrifices, but embrace the challenge," Carlisle said.
The high-spirited 10-year vet is averaging more points than each of the last 18 Sixth Man winners. Milwaukee's Ricky Pierce was the last Sixth Man recipient to average more than 20 points a game (23.0), in 1989-90. Manu Ginobili and Leandro Barbosa, two of the players Terry uses as a guide in this role, averaged 19.5 and 18.1, respectively, in winning the award the last two years.
"I'm not really sure where we would be without Jason," Dirk Nowitzki said. "Averaging 20 points in this league is tough ... It's even tougher when you are doing it off the bench. Every time he shoots it, I think it is going in. He is having a phenomenal season."
Terry has scored at least 20 off the bench 31 times, including 21 on Wednesday when the Mavericks clinched a playoff spot in the win over Utah. He's single-handedly matched or outscored the opposing bench 24 times this season, with Dallas sporting a 17-7 record.
Add it up and Terry appears to be a lock to join Antawn Jamison (2004) and Roy Tarpley (1988) as the third Maverick to claim Sixth Man of the Year honors.
"It's more of a fans' award," Terry said. "I always feel part of them. They're the sixth man. It is my role for this team and I try to be my best I can be at it, knowing that if I'm good, the team is going to be good."