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.
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.
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).