Thursday, April 11, 2013
Who wins the Sixth Man of the Year?
By Joe Kaiser
UPDATE: ESPN's Chris Broussard writes today that one player has separated himself from the pack in the Sixth Man of the Year race.
Here's Broussard with more on that below.
With apologies to Ryan Anderson in New Orleans, who put up another strong statistical season as a 3-point shooter and stretch big man off the bench, the 2012-13 Sixth Man of the Year Award will probably come down to one of three players: Jamal Crawford, J.R. Smith and Jarrett Jack.
Crawford (16.7 PPG) would have won the award if the season ended a few months ago, and certainly has been a huge part of the Los Angeles Clippers success this season. The thing is, as the season has worn on, Smith has caught fire and Jack has proven himself to be incredibly valuable to the a Golden State team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2007.
Smith averaged 22.1 PPG and 6 RPG in March, and has carried those numbers right into April to help New York rattle off 12 wins in a row. When he's on, few in the game can get as hot as Smith, and he's been on for quite some time now on one of the best teams in the East.
Still, it'd be foolish to count out Jack, who Mark Jackson has counted on for his veteran leadership off the bench all season long. Jack's scoring (13.2 PPG) isn't at the level of Crawford or Smith but his assist numbers (5.5 per game) give more of an indication of the incredible impact he's had on the Warriors this season. In fact, Matt Moore of CBSSports.com writes today that Jack would be his pick. "Jack arrives back at the top slot because of the slip of so many other guys, including Crawford. The Warriors are not in the playoffs without him."
Chris BroussardJ.R. Smith deserves to win
"The early leader was Jamal Crawford, but Smith's late surge has made him the clear-cut winner in my eyes. Not only is Smith averaging career highs of 17.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game for the season, but over the last 23 games, he has averaged 21.7 points to help lead the Knicks to a 17-6 record."