NBA awards: Sixth-man award the hardest to pick this year

SIXTH-MAN AWARD — Last year was a piece of cake. Oklahoma City's James Harden was the runaway winner of Sixth Man of the Year. This year, though, there are as many as 10 players that could lay a claim to the award.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: April 13, 2013
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photo - New York Knicks' J.R. Smith (8) drives past Cleveland Cavaliers' Wayne Ellington (21) in the third quarter of an NBA basketball game on Friday, April 12, 2013, in Cleveland. Smith scored 31 points in the Knicks' 101-91 win. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan) ORG XMIT: CDA110
New York Knicks' J.R. Smith (8) drives past Cleveland Cavaliers' Wayne Ellington (21) in the third quarter of an NBA basketball game on Friday, April 12, 2013, in Cleveland. Smith scored 31 points in the Knicks' 101-91 win. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan) ORG XMIT: CDA110

Hopefully those on the Heisman Trophy board won't mind if I share my vote for this season's NBA awards.

The voting deadline is Thursday at 2 p.m., the day after the regular season ends. I pressed “SEND” on my ballot Saturday and you will find the results on this page.

As is usually the case, some decisions were easy and others were not.

The toughest decision was for Sixth Man of the Year. What was a no-brainer last season with the Thunder's James Harden, could have a half-dozen players receive first-place votes this year.

My top three were New York's J.R. Smith, Jamal Crawford of the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver's Andre Miller.

My trio just as easily could have been Golden State's Jarrett Jack, the Thunder's Kevin Martin and Milwaukee's J.J. Redick … or Miami's Ray Allen … or Dallas' Vince Carter … or Sacramento's Marcus Thornton … or San Antonio's Manu Ginobili.

The Nuggets have three Sixth Man candidates in Miller, Wilson Chandler and Corey Brewer.

The second-most difficult decision came with Coach of the Year. My ballot listed Denver's George Karl, New York's Mike Woodson and Golden State's Mark Jackson.

Can't remember the last time I didn't vote for San Antonio's Gregg Popovich. Indiana's Frank Vogel also is worthy, as is Chicago's Tom Thibodeau. Houston's Kevin McHale has the Rockets in the playoffs and got a helping hand from assistant Kelvin Sampson after McHale's 23-year-old daughter, Sasha, died of complications from lupus on Nov. 24.

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