J.R. Smith of the New York Knicks will be honored as the NBA’s sixth man of the year instead of the Clippers’ Jamal Crawford, according to a number of reports citing league sources.
Early in the season, it was apparent that the Clippers’ high-scoring acquisition was the front-runner for the award as he helped the team vault to the top of the NBA standings and eventually finish with a 56-26 record and their first Pacific Division title.
Crawford, a 13-year veteran known for his variety of crossover moves and instant offense, finished the regular season averaging 16.5 points, 2.5 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 29 minutes a game. He made 44% of his shots from the field, including 38% from three-point range, and 87% from the free-throw line.
Smith, though, became a focal point of the Knicks’ offense when injuries continued to take their toll on several teammates this season. New York finished the season 54-28 and won the Atlantic Division for the first time since the 1993-94 season.
The high-flying guard, in his eighth season, averaged 18.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 33.5 minutes a game. He shot 42% from the field, including 36% from three-point range, and 76% from the free-throw line.
The Knicks have reportedly scheduled an afternoon news conference to present Smith with the award.