Everybody knows the one kid who in rec sports or gym class is the ultimate try-hard. They’re diving for loose balls, smacking people in the head for rebounds, and treating a random pickup game like it’s a game 7. This was TJ last night as he recorded a rare triple-double as he went 16 points on a perfect 8/8 from the field, 13 assists, and had 10 steals, a franchise record for the Pacers. The Pacers won that game 114-111 against the Cleveland Cavs. Tj is a player that you love to hate. You love his grit and grind, but if it’s against your team, you hate him.
There’s always a couple of players who are grinders. Before TJ, it was Matthew Dellavedova. Everybody remembers him during the finals of 2015. Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving were both hurts for the final, so LeBron and Delly were against the world. During game 3 of the 2015 finals, Dellavedoa played so hard that he was hospitalized. He was so exhausted and dehydrated that he had to be taken by an ambulance to be treated. He was back in game 4, giving the same effort and being a pain in the ass to the Warriors guards.
The 6th man of the year award is pretty much locked up with Jordan Clarkson, but it would be fun to have TJ’s name thrown around. If he can constantly have these offensive numbers to go along with his tremendous defense, maybe he could get some 6th man votes. Surprisingly it won’t be a Clipper who will win this award. For the longest time, from Jamal Crawford to Lou Williams to Montrezl Harrell, this was an award that was almost guaranteed to go a Clippers player.