Sixth Man of the Year: J.R. Smith, New York Knicks
This isn’t set in stone, but I feel that Smith has outproduced the Clippers’ Jamal Crawford enough to earn the honors.
Smith has been exactly what the Knicks needed down the stretch as they clinched the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Smith has been a contender for this award several times in his career, but his commitment to attacking the basket rather than being a high-volume midrange shooter will clinch it for him this season.
This award has been back and forth between the two players most of the season. So let’s compare what they have done this year.
Crawford: 16.4 points, 2.5 assists, 1.7 rebounds, 16.6 PER, 43.6% FG, 36.9 3pt%
Smith: 18.1 points, 2.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 17.7 PER, 42.2% FG, 35.6 3pt%
Then let’s consider the fact that the Knicks have closed the season winning 15-of-17 while the Clippers have won their past six, which makes what both guys have done all that more impressive late in the season.
However at the end of the day, I feel Smith brought just a tad bit more production off the Knicks’ bench, so he gets the nod.
Runner’s Up: Crawford, Jarrett Jack