MAY 8TH: The league has officially announced Crawford as the award winner, with Gibson a close second. Crawford had 421 points to Gibson’s 395 in the balloting system in which each voter picks a first-, second- and third-place finisher. Gibson outpaced Crawford in first-place votes 57-49. Ginobili finished third, followed by Morris. Jackson and Carter were fifth and sixth, respectively. No other player received first-place votes.
APRIL 30TH: Clippers shooting guard Jamal Crawford has won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. It’s the second such honor for the 34-year-old, who also won in 2009/10 as a member of the Hawks. The NBA has postponed the official announcements of many of its awards until next week because of the Donald Sterling scandal, as Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe noted Tuesday (Twitter link), so it appears it’ll be awhile before Crawford can clutch the trophy.
Still, the news adds another layer to the Clippers-Warriors series, one that’s been at the heart of continued controversy surrounding Warriors coach Mark Jackson and his staff in addition to the Sterling saga. Crawford has shown why he’s deserving of the award with his postseason performance, averaging 15.2 points per game. Still, the honor is based on regular season achievement, and Crawford was even better then, notching 18.6 PPG, his most since he became a sixth man five seasons ago. Crawford also started 24 games this year as the Clippers dealt with widespread injuries, but he still came off the bench for 45 contests, enough to qualify for the award.
The voting won’t become public until the NBA’s official announcement, but Taj Gibson of the Bulls, Vince Carter of the Mavs, Manu Ginobili of the Spurs, Reggie Jackson of the Thunder and Markieff Morris of the Suns were among other strong contenders. None were as prolific in scoring as Crawford was, and that seems to have weighed heavily on the minds of the writers who voted.