I’m sure you’ve heard the news by now. The NBA has award the New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith with the Sixth Man of the Year award.
The Sixth Man race was honestly a two-man race between Smith and the guard Jamal Crawford with honorable mentions for Andre Miller, Kevin Martin, Matt Barnes and Jarrett Jack. And based on what I’ve seen during the regular season, I get the feeling that Crawford may have been snubbed by the voting committee.
So I decided to look at the numbers of the two players to see what may have lead the voters to select Smith instead of Crawford:
Crawford clearly shot better from the field, boasting the better FG%, 3P%, FT%, TS% and eFG%, while Smith averaged more points per game (more minutes, more shots) and posted the higher PER. These numbers don’t mean a whole lot without concrete context, but it gives a little direction on how their seasons went.
And while Smith’s last month and a half may be what won him the award due to recency bias, Crawford was more consistent as a player over the course of the entire season. Between the months of February and April, Jamal never shot less than 40 percent in an entire month. J.R. did it twice (39 percent in December, 36 percent in February).
At the end of the day, Crawford, who entered the season with hopes of winning the award, had a 6th man campaign just as good as the winner of the award.
Voters gave him 31 first-place votes behind Smith’s 72 first-place votes, so it’s clear who they thought was the better player in their role, Crawford should’ve been given more credit for his consistency over the course of an entire season.