Stats: 7.7 PTS, 3.4 REB, 3.0 AST per game
Accolades: 2000-01 Sixth Man of the Year
Aaron McKie’s stat line is underwhelming, to say the least, compared to the recent members of this list. He averaged 5 assists for a season once. He averaged 12 points for a season once. He started, at most, half of the team’s games. To not know about Aaron McKie, and to rely on these simple averages, would make you think that he was an expendable player who just hung on for a very long time.
Why is he ranked 12th then, other than that he’s seemed to play for a long time and won one award in one season, which he may or may not have deserved? It’s a good question if you didn’t watch the team play or have access to defensive statistics. We only have two real defensive metrics to use, but I imagine many of you saw Aaron McKie in action. And you may have come away impressed.
One thing that stood out about Aaron McKie was his versatility. He served as a backup at three positions, not only behind Eric Snow and Allen Iverson but also behind George Lynch and the other small forwards the Sixers used over the years. At all three spots McKie could defend well – he had to, given that playing for Larry Brown and with Allen Iverson meant he had to pick up the slack. His defensive rating, an estimate on points allowed per 100 possessions, was impressive – consistently in the low 100s through the prime of his career. While not fantastic or league-leading, it paid dividends on a team that prided itself on strong defensive play. Offensively, McKie shot well enough to force team to defend him, while he could serve as a secondary creator, averaging 3 assists per game over his Sixers career. While not all that efficient (he recorded league-average PERs only twice in his career), he fit his role well.
Unlike some of the recent players on the list, McKie had experienced post-season success for his team and himself. While the Sixers never won a title with McKie (and that’s been a theme here with all these players so far), they did make 3 deep runs with him on the roster as a significant contributor. In the finals year, 2000-01, McKie tallied 15-5-5 over 23 games while shooting 42% from three-point land, playing over 38 minutes per game, showing that he was more than just a bench player.
Since his playing days have ended, McKie has become an assistant for the Sixers. Presumably, he’s being coached-up to eventually take over the team himself. I have a feeling the Sixers will be in good hands once that occurs, though the roster may be another story. Regardless of his coaching future, McKie gets the twelfth spot on this list.