The New York Knicks J.R. Smith captured the 2012-2013 Kia NBA Sixth Man Award it was announced earlier today by the NBA, as the league’s best player in a reserve role.
A very deserving award for Smith who led all reserves in scoring with his 18.1 points per game average in all 80 games he appeared in, which were all of the bench. Smith also had averages of 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals in 33.5 minutes per game to be a big contributor in helping a Knicks squad that went 54-28 to earn the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Smith who received 484 of a possible 1,084 points that included 72 first-place votes from a panel of 121 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada’s biggest threat to the award was the Los Angeles Clippers Jamal Crawford who averaged 16.5 points, 1.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1 steal in 29.3 minutes. Crawford received 352 points that included 31 first-place votes and while he helped be one of the big contributions to the Clippers getting their first 50 + win season by going 56-26 to capture their first division title and earn the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference playoffs his contributions off the bench weren’t anywhere near as great the impact that Smith had. If Smith doesn’t contribute what he did the Knicks would be nowhere near the position they are right now to get out of the first-round of the playoffs for the first time since 1999 when they made their second Finals appearance.
So while Crawford had a very great season in his own right and he should have got at least more votes to make the competition closer than what it was, Smith still was more deserving of the award and it was awarded to the right person. If this was any other year Crawford definitely would have captured his second Sixth Man Award for his career, but it was not so there is nothing you can do about that. The Clippers could just hope this adds fuel to the fire for Crawford to play that much better in the playoffs in trying to help the franchise capture it’s first ever Larry O’Brien trophy.