The faster pace and the more physical nature of today’s NBA game has made the bench a more integral part of a team’s success. Quality minutes eventually lead to major minutes. Coaches may even choose to keep the bench players at crunch time, characterized by spectacular buzzer beaters by J.R. Smith. He has definitely embodied what a model sixth man should be, providing a scoring punch when their main man sits down.
A former starter, J.R. Smith was part of the last batch of players to jump to the NBA straight from High School. A heralded talent, was traded around and found himself in Chine during the 2011 lockout. Embracing his role with the Knicks has led him to career high numbers this season. More importantly, his team has recognized his contributions.
The announcement and voting results:
The New York Knicks’ J.R. Smith is the winner of the 2012-13 Kia NBA Sixth Man Award as the league’s best player in a reserve role, the NBA announced Monday. Smith, who came off the bench in all 80 games in which he appeared, led all reserves in scoring, averaging 18.1 points. Additionally, Smith contributed 5.3 rpg, 2.7 apg and 1.3 spg in 33.5 minutes per game to a Knicks squad that went 54-28 and earned the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Smith received 484 of a possible 1,084 points, including 72 first-place votes, from a panel of 121 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Jamal Crawford of the Los Angeles Clippers finished second with 352 points (31 first-place votes). Jarrett Jack of the Golden State Warriors finished third with 170 points (14 first-place votes).