Mar 31, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith (8) pulls down a rebound against the Boston Celtics during the second half at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks won the game 108-89. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

J.R. Smith: Sixth Man of the Year Award Within Grasp

One of the closest award races this NBA season will be the Sixth Man of the Year award. It is basically a two-man race from two of the biggest markets in the country: J.R. Smith from the New York Knicks and Jamal Crawford from the Los Angeles Clippers.

Apr 2, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith (8) during the second half against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. New York won 102-90. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Both players are pure scorers off the bench who are instrumental to their team’s success this season. Both players deserve the award, but only one can get it. The way Smith has been playing recently, he is making a late push to win the coveted award.

Here’s a comparison of these two players’ stats:

Smith: 17.7 PPG (22nd in NBA), 39 FG%, 37.3P%, 82 FT%, 5.2 RPG, 2.8 APG, and 17.11 PER.  Knicks 46-26

Crawford: 16.7 PPG (30th in NBA), 44 FG%, 37.3P%, 87 FT%, 1.6 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 16.93 PER. Clippers 49-26

Crawford had a better first half of the season and it was well thought from basketball fans that he would inch out Smith for the award. As the season is coming to an end, Smith is playing his best ball of the season and is making a late push.

Smith, who was is the most Eastern Conference Player of the Week, is averaging 25.0 PPG while shooting 48 percent from the field is one of the main reasons why the Knicks have won nine straight.

He has been an erratic shooter all season and the numbers show how much better Crawford is shooting from the field. The voters will have a tough choice to make but its undeniable how much both players mean their respective teams.

Smith’s Knicks have been rattled by injuries and he is the only Knick who has played in all 72 games. Crawford has missed three games for the Clippers.

Smith and Crawford are both elite sixth men off the bench and will be looking to cash in on their next contracts. Both have the talent to be starters in this league but it’s fair to say they are flourishing in their current roles.

Crawford has been great for the Clippers, but Smith has the Knicks playing their best ball at the end of the season and should get the nod over Crawford when it’s all said and done.

Tags: J.R. Smith Jamal Crawford Los Angeles Clippers New York Knicks

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