Tag: Sixth man of the year

Oklahoma City Thunder v Dallas Mavericks - Game Five

Thunder’s Harden named Sixth Man of Year on Thursday


UPDATE 4:18 pm: The NBA has made it official, James Harden is your runaway winner of the Sixth Man of the Year award. Of the 118 ballots cast 115 had Harden No. 1, the other three had Philadelphia’s Lou Williams in the top spot. As I said below, those three people should have to explain their vote publicly.

Here are the top 5 vote getters (with total points):

1. James Harden, Oklahoma City (584)
2. Louis Williams, Philadelphia (231)
3. Jason Terry, Dallas (81)
4. Al Harrington, Denver (42)
5. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio (28)

11:32 am: James Harden being named Sixth Man of the Year in NBA is the Meryl Streep getting an Oscar nomination of the NBA awards season. It’s a gimme. Cemented. In fact, anyone who didn’t vote Harden first should be questioned and about their motives and basketball acumen.

The award for Harden will be announced on Thursday, reports the Oklahoman. Expect the formal announcement from the NBA later on Thursday.

Harden averaged 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, but more than that he was the team’s best playmaker. On a team with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder were best late in games when the ball was in Harden’s hands creating for other.

Look for Lou Williams, Taj Gibson and of course Jason Terry to get votes. But seriously, anybody who didn’t vote for Harden needs to have their credentials checked.

Brandon Roy wants to be a starter again for Portland

Dallas Mavericks v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Four
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There is no “Sixth Man of the Playoffs” award, but if there were Brandon Roy would be the frontrunner.

He was a game changer for the Trail Blazers off the pine, especially in Game 4 when he had a quarter for the ages that pulled his struggling team up and evened the series (even if that quarter proved to be a mirage for Portland).

His performance had a lot of people thinking about Roy being the next Lamar Odom/Jason Terry/Manu Ginobili — a fantastic player who comes off the bench to change games.

Roy isn’t thinking like that, not in the least, he told the Oregonian.

“I’m going to want to push to be a starter and help this team win. The goal doesn’t change,” Roy said Friday as the Blazers left for the offseason. “I think I definitely want to help this team get in position to win and get out of the first round.”

Good. You don’t want a player thinking any other way.

But Roy needs to come off the bench next season anyway.

This is about reduced minutes for a guy whose knees lack any cartilage. Roy can spend all off-season resting his knees and getting whatever treatments he thinks helped the most, but there is an 82-game grind ahead that is hard on good, healthy knees. (Well, maybe less than 82 after the lockout, we’ll see.) Roy has value but the Blazers need to get him rest. Coming off the bench an help with that.

Of course, if Andre Miller isn’t brought back there are question of who will be the staring point guard for Portland, and Roy is already right there, so… still he would make a fantastic Sixth Man of the Year.

Lakers Lamar Odom to win Sixth Man of Year award

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers

It’s all but official — Lamar Odom will be named Sixth Man of the Year today.

He was expected to be the clear winner (Dallas’ Jason Terry was the only other serious candidate mentioned by voters). The Lakers have called a press conference for a hotel in Los Angeles for 3 p.m. Pacific time. Since the standard operating procedure is for a player to be announced the winner of an award a day before a home playoff game (which the Lakers have Wednesday) it’s pretty easy to guess what is going on here.

Odom had the best year of his career, coming out of playing for Team USA in Turkey and carrying that momentum over to the league, doing away with the slow starts he is known for and averaging 14.4 points per game. Odom shot a career best 53 percent this season and 38.3 percent from three (also a career best 59.8 true shooting percentage).

Odom was asked to play a number of roles for the team and fit into them seamlessly. He also had the highest PER of any non starter this season (19.4, borderline All-Star level). Basically any way you wanted to break it down he was the best sixth man in the league this season.

The only knock was that Odom started 35 games for the Lakers due to injuries to bigs in front of him. Which seems a misplaced argument to me — isn’t what you want out of a sixth man is someone who can step into the starter’s role and have the team not miss a beat? (The league rule is that as long as you came off the bench more games than you started, you are eligible, and Odom came off the bench for 47.)

We’ll update this when it becomes official, but you can start raising your glasses in a toast to Odom now. You know all those reality show producers at E! were excited (once they looked up what the award was).

Sixth man of the year, Lamar Odom or Jason Terry?

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers

With a month to go, it looks like the sixth man of the year is a two-man race: Jason Terry and Lamar Odom.

Glen “Big Baby” Davis, George Hill and the often over looked Thaddeus Young of the Sixers deserve some votes, some consideration. But they are all a step behind your two leaders.

So who is it?

Terry is averaging 16.4 points per game, the most of any sixth man in the league. He is the third (or fourth) best player on one of the elite teams in the West. He’s sixth in the league in fourth quarter scoring, he’s a guy his team counts on at the end of games.

But really, this should be Lamar Odom’s year. That in spite of his new scent.

If you really like stats, John Schuhmann at NBA.com has a mountain of them. But at the end of the day this is his conclusion.

In fact, the Mavs have been outscored by 3.7 points per 100 possessions in Terry’s first five minutes over the course of the season. Odom, on the other hand, consistently affects the scoreboard in a positive manner for the Lakers. And while Terry has the edge when it comes to putting the ball in the basket, Odom, with superior overall numbers and a bigger defensive impact, should be the clear choice for the Sixth Man Award this season.

As you know by now (especially if you read the MVP posts at PBT) I like efficiency in players. This season Odom is shooting 54.3 percent to Terry’s 45.4 percent. Account for three pointers made and trips to the free throw line, using true shooting percentage, and Odom still leads 59.4 to 54.4. Odom has scored 1.07 points per possession used, compared to 0.97 for Terry (via Synergy Sports).

Odom, like Terry in Dallas, is also a key part of what the Lakers do. Los Angeles has the two-pronged approach of Kobe Bryant and being taller/longer than you. Odom, a point-forward coming off the bench at 6’10” to be a match up nightmare.

This has been Odom’s year. There is a month to go but this should be his award to lose.

Media members need not be protected, accountability in award voting is a must

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As in most things related to the NBA, the ultimate goal should be transparency. Transparency in the officiating, especially in a post-Donaghy era. Transparency from the league office in how they deal with specific rulings, punishments, and edicts. Transparency from coaches and general managers, who optimally wouldn’t pretend to be vying for a playoff spot if it was well out of reach, and who are well capable of imparting knowledge if they abandon the convenient cliché.

It’s about damn time the same applies to the media as well.

Media members write all kinds of things about the NBA on the daily basis, and their work is available for public scrutiny. If facts aren’t checked, if stories are unfair, or if something is misrepresented, the writer will hear about it. That’s how the wonderful world of feedback works, and that ability to respond not only makes for better writing, but a better understanding from consumers concerning what an NBA scribe hopes to accomplish. It is, in a word, good.

So why then does it make sense that on the occasion that such scribes have the ability to significantly impact NBA lore — in award voting — they’re completely removed from the results in a way that makes them completely unaccountable? They’re not revealing their party preferences or voting on controversial legislation, but casting a ballot for MVP or Defensive Player of the Year; the sanctity and security of the democratic process should be far removed from this particular arena, because well, it’s not democratic. Certain writers are privileged with a vote, and those with a vote should be able to defend their selections.

Choosing an MVP or Rookie of the Year may be a matter of opinion, but that doesn’t mean there are not wrong answers. There are also interesting answers, worthy of further explanation and clarification. There are toss-ups that fans would want to hear about, there are snubs that they would want explained, and there are surprise vote-getters that may even earn voters a pat on the back.

Howard Beck of the New York Times has been throwing this idea around ever since David Lee stumbled into a Defensive Player of the Year vote, and collected his thoughts in a post for the NYT Off the Dribble blog:

Removing anonymity from the process could have some drawbacks. Beat writers, who see the same team every day, may feel pressure to vote for the players they cover if they know the results will become public. Voting for a rival could conceivably cause tension with the home team’s star player or coach, or the media-relations staff.

But these concerns do not seem to have adversely affected the balloting in baseball or the N.F.L. And many N.B.A. writers already make their choices and rationale public, in blogs and in newspaper columns. No one seems overly worried about potential backlash from teams or fans.

Transparency creates more accountability because voters have to be prepared to explain their choices publicly. That is a routine part of baseball’s award process, and it helps promote discussion of the results, which benefits the game.

Beck could be correct in how beat writers could be swayed, but isn’t that what journalistic integrity is all about? These writers are supposed to be trusted to write what’s actually going on in the games and in the locker room rather than rosy pieces loaded with team-sponsored propaganda, so why can’t we trust them to do the same with the awards voting?

If someone is voting for an award with actual implications, they should be prepared to defend their choices. They should be able to tell us why there are three better defenders than Dwight Howard, how Ben Wallace or Ersan Ilyasova could possibly be the Most Improved Player, or why Jonny Flynn deserves a second-place vote for Rookie of the Year. That’s the responsibility that should come with the privilege of voting, and it’s honestly a wonder to me that secret balloting has lasted this long.