The award for the L’s top reserve is reserved for Crawford or Landry.
Determining the premier player, the best first guy off of the bench in the NBA might be a difficult task for some, especially if you’re one of those analytical types that tends to over think things. But really, this isn’t rocket science people.
Everyone knows, that this season, there are only two cats in the running for the Sixth Man of the Year Award.
Jamal Crawford and Carl Landry are the front-runners, clearly. No questions asked. We should, however, give Jason Terry and Manu Ginobili some credit considering both continue in their efforts to keep pace in the race for the honor.
As for the rest of the reserves out there making a living in the League, most figure to be on the outside looking in when the winner is announced in late April. That is, unless something drastic happens between now and then.
For argument’s sake, there is plenty of time left for someone to make an impact. We are, after all, at the midway point, with the All-Star Game in Dallas right around the corner, just a couple of weeks away, in fact.
Who knows, Lamar Odom could end up with his name thrown into the whole Sixth Man of the Year mix before all is said and done. Stranger things have happened. Al Harrington has an outside chance, albeit slim. JR Smith too. Perhaps Rasheed Wallace will make things interesting. Maybe even Paul Millsap.
Enough with the speculation. Let’s get to the facts.
Before we begin breaking down why Crawford and Landry are the favorites and everyone else is playing second fiddle, one must understand how the whole thing works. The rules, per the NBA, in layman’s terms: In order to be eligible for the award, players have to come off the bench in more games than they started.
From there, a panel of approximately 120 media members from the United States, as well as Canada, award five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.
For what it’s worth, my money is on Crawford to to take home the Sixth Man of the Year hardware.
Wonder what our main man Lang Whitaker things about that pick…
Anyway, here’s why Crawford makes sense, more so that anyone else, at least at this stage of the game. Off the pine, he’s averaging 17.3 points per game while playing more than 30 minutes a night, numbers worthy of a starter’s status.
Only Harrington scores more, with a 17.9 clip every time he steps out on the floor. Then again, he’s playing for the Knicks, a team that won’t be making a postseason appearance anytime soon, at least not this year.
Hoisting up shot after shot, granted Harrington finds the bottom of the net often, doesn’t make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things for New York. As a result, we don’t like his chances.
And therein lies the key: Crawford is contributing, and contributing in a major way, for a team that’s become a major player in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. That fact figures to a long way in the Sixth Man of the Year decision.
Moreover, Crawford is averaging roughly 11 fourth quarter minutes per game, a total that ranks among the league leaders. A couple signature games down the stretch, recently late in games against Boston and Phoenix, only strengthens his case.
Crawford might not start, but he finishes.
Landry is a legitimate candidate as well. Too legit to quit. Think about where Houston would be without him. No Tracy McGrady. No problem. No Yao Ming. No problem. Not when you have Landry coming off the bench.
Last time I checked, a week ago, he was among the top fourth quarter scorers in the NBA. Landry was averaging close to seven points per game in the final 12 minutes, trailing only Kobe Bryant and LeBron James in that category.
A quick glance at the stat this morning reveals nothing’s changed. Landry is still one of the top options in the waning moments, when it counts the most. If he keeps up that kind of clutch play, Landry will give Crawford a run for his money.
As it stands now, it’s a two-horse race for the Sixth Man of the Year honor.
Terry had an outside shot, no pun intended, of making things a three-horse race. Remember, he’s the defending champion, having won the award last season in a landslide, by more than 400 points. For the record, Smith was second.
But Terry’s recent promotion to the starting lineup might end up disqualifying him in the end. He could’ve been the long shot that put a scare into the favorites.
Ginobili and Odom, both of whom play key roles for the respective teams, don’t pose much a threat to Crawford and Landry. The same can be said for Wallace, Smith and Millsap. And we’ve already talked about the Harrington situation in the Big Apple.
The Sixth Man of the Year Award is Crawford’s to lose.
Wait, scratch that, the Sixth Man of the Year Award is Landry’s to lose.
Bottom line: One of them will win.