J.R. Smith is the man, the sixth man, that is. The New York Knicks‘ fearless shooter averaged 18 points, five boards and almost three dimes off the bench this year, so to say he deserved the NBA‘s Sixth Man of the Year Award is an understatement.
Smith received 72 of a possible 121 first-place votes to beat Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford for the award. In fact, it wasn’t even close and it shouldn’t have been because Smith is easily the best player to come off the bench in the league this year.
Smith is a huge reason why the Knicks won their first Atlantic Division title since 1994 this year and this is a guy who missed a majority of the 2011 season because of his stint in China following the lockout. Talk about coming back with a bang! Smith has found a home in the Big Apple after an up-and-down tenure with the Nuggets, and after the season he just had with the Knicks, who else could have won the Sixth Man of the Year Award this year?
Although the annual NBA awards are based on the regular season, Smith is already making an impact for the Knicks in the playoffs. During New York’s 85-78 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of their first-round series, Smith had 15 points, five rebounds, two steals and a block in 32 minutes. When talking about a guy who makes the most of his minutes coming off the bench, Smith is the best in the business and now he has the title to prove it.