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NBA Offseason: 2013-14 Top 5 Sixth Man of the Year Candidates

By Bryson Jones
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 1. J.R. Smith

May 7, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith (8) drives to the net past Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George (24) during the second half in game two of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Knicks win 105-79. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

2012-13 stats: 18.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.7 APG, 42.2 FG%, 35.6 3P%, 17.67 PER

Last seasons 6th man of the year winner comes in at no. 1.  After catching absolute fire after the All-Star break, J.R. Smith helped lead the New York Knicks to a place that they have not been in over a decade: to the 2nd round of the playoffs.  Heading into the postseason, the Knicks were one of the favored teams that could not only challenge the Miami Heat, but also beat them, as New York owned the season series 3-1.  However, after a 1-game suspension in the 1st round against the Boston Celtics,  Smith seemed to lose “it”, and was never the same.  In the 2nd round against the Indiana Pacers, Smith seemed to miss every open shot available to him, which led to the Knicks losing in 6 games (despite Carmelo Anthony’s partially torn labrum).  

Going into the 2013-2014 season, I do not believe J.R. Smith will win the 6th man of the year award, but I do believe he will have a better grasp of the game.  His impact and IQ will go up because he now knows when to shoot or when to pass in certain situations.  Smith showed a lot of maturity last season, by saying he cost his team in the playoffs with his suspension and poor play.  Hopefully this season will be an even better one for Smith as he has came out and said, “Knicks will win the championship this year.”  A bold statement from the leagues reigning 6th man of the year.

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