Out of all the possible players to come the bench, Oklahoma City Thunder swing man James Harden was the absolute best and with that being said, Harden will receive the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award. The official announcement is expected to come at 3 P.M. central time.
Harden came off the bench in 60 of 62 games this season for the Thunder this season. In those 62 games, Harden averaged 16.2 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game and 3.7 assists per game and one elbow to the head from Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace. In addition to winning this award, Harden received an invitation to participate on the USA Basketball team for the 2012 Olympics in London this summer and he also earned votes for the Most Improved Player of the Year Award.
Harden in the playoffs has averaged 18.3 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game and 4.3 assists per game in four games against the defending NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks.
Also receiving votes was Philadelphia 76ers Louis Williams who averaged 14.9 points per game and 3.5 assists per game this season, Jason Terry of the Dallas Mavericks who averaged 15.1 points per game off the bench for Dallas and Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson. Gibson averaged 7.7 points per game which was a big improvement from the 7.1 points per game he averaged 2010-11. Gibson averaged 5.3 rebounds per game as well.
Harden has been an extreme improvement and allows the Thunder starters to get their rest when Harden plays. He brings a different level to the Thunder and they are lucky to have him.