Once again, Jamal Crawford has taken home Sixth Man of the Year honors, the NBA announced today. It's the third time Jamal has won this award, more than any other player in NBA history. It's his second time being honored as a Clipper; he previously won the award in the 2013-14 NBA season. He also won in 2009-10 with the Atlanta Hawks. According to the NBA, at 36 he's also the oldest player to ever win this award, breaking his own record from two years ago.
Not too long ago, Crawford's candidacy seemed like a longshot. But a strong finish to the season provided narrative thrust, aided by the lack of standout alternatives. Andre Iguodala finished second in the voting, while Enes Kanter came in third. The full voting breakdown and list of ballots can be found here.
It wasn't Jamal's strongest year as a Clipper. He's only averaging 14.2 points per game, along with 2.3 assists on 40.4% shooting from the floor. He shot 34% from beyond the arc, and 90.4% from the free throw line (finishing second to Steph Curry after going just 4-7 in his last game against Dallas). These numbers are all down from his stats the last few years with the Clippers, and from a numbers perspective other candidates had a much stronger claim to the title than he did.
However, Crawford's numbers all rose following Blake Griffin's injury, after a slow start to the year. Until Christmas, he was only averaging 11.4 points on 37% shooting; since then, he's averaged 15.9 PPG on 42% shooting. Fairly or not, voters rewarded him for being a key cog in the Clippers' success without Griffin. It helps that he's also one of the most well-liked players in the league, both among his fellow players and among the media. His teammates had been openly campaigning on his behalf the last few weeks.
Chris Paul (@CP3) April 9, 2016
As much as they value the award, the Clippers probably appreciate more that Jamal is healthy and in rhythm heading into the playoffs for the first time in three years. His 13 points on 6-12 shooting in Sunday night's victory was a solid start to what's hopefully a deep postseason run.