The NBPA today announced that Jamal Crawford was the winner of the 2016 "Best Off The Bench" award, which mirrors the NBA's "Sixth Man of the Year" award.
This is the NBPA's second season issuing awards that are voted on by the players themselves. It's the first time that "Best Off The Bench" was on the ballot.
In the video accompanying the announcement, several of Crawford's peers praised his game, including Kevin Durant, C.J. McCollum, Andre Iguodala, and Karl Anthony-Towns, among others.
Crawford also took home the "Sixth Man of the Year" award this season, his third such award. This new honor simply continues to build his legacy as the most decorated sixth man in NBA history. Crawford also won the NBA's award in 2010 and 2014.
During the season, Crawford played in 79 games and started just 5, averaging 26.9 minutes a night. He scored 14.2 points per game and averaged 2.3 assists and 1.8 rebounds. He also shot 40.4% from the field and 34% from deep--somewhat inefficient overall numbers but an uptick from the season before. Jamal also carried an increased load offensively for a Clippers team that missed Blake Griffin for more than half of the season.
Many fans around the league were critical of Crawford's Sixth Man of the Year award in April due to his efficiency numbers, but I maintain that there was more to his contributions this season than his box score stats. While I've been a critic over the past four seasons of Jamal's shot selection and efficiency, he carried a much heavier load this season. Without Crawford's ability to create offense, the Clippers would have faced a far more serious struggle to overcome Griffin's absence and secure good playoff positioning.
Crawford re-signed with the Clippers early last month on a three-year, $42 million deal. He cannot be traded until January 15th due to this new contract, meaning that he is guaranteed to start the season as a Clipper. That will make 5 years, tying Los Angeles with New York as his longest-running home. Jamal has already appeared in more games as a Clipper than he has with any other team (including playoff games). It makes sense given that he has repeatedly said that the Clippers feel like his home.
Jamal has also made noteworthy off-court contributions, as one of the most well-liked players in the league. He's a true professional, and, by all accounts, a great guy. The Clippers' youngest rotation player, Austin Rivers, cited Crawford as being one of the only people who believed in him and gave him confidence.
Other awards: Last season, the NBPA recognized DeAndre Jordan as the league's best defender. This year, Kawhi Leonard won the award. Chris Paul was honored with the Oscar Robertson Visionary award. It is unclear if this award is being given again this season.