Awards Predictions Links:
2011-2012 Sixth Man of the Year Candidates:
- James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder
Currently having a break-out season, Harden might even be a candidate for Most Improved. Player His superstar teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook might get all the attention, but Harden is a hugereason why OKC is on pace to earn the league’s best record this season. He might even be the team’s best playmaker and wing defender, often drawing the tougher assignments (e.g. guarding Kobe Bryant in their Sunday game vs. LA).
- O.J. Mayo, Memphis Grizzlies
Here’s a guy who has been openly shopped by the Grizz for the last two seasons – and nearly traded to the Pacers last season (which wasnixed only because the trade occurred shortly after the trade deadline). Yes, his production has slipped considerably since his first two seasons, where he averaged 18 PPG. But this year, Mayo has accepted a lesser role, and his on-court performance suggests he holds no grudge against his team despite being in trade rumors and losing his starting role. With Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph missing a lot of time this season, Mayo is a big reason why Memphis has stayed afloat in the loaded Western Conference.
- Jason Terry, Dallas Mavericks
Terry is a perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate, consistently providing a spark off the Mavericks bench. With the team acquiring several players adding to their bench, Terry was not expected to carry as much of a load this year. However, with various injuries to several players and with Lamar Odom struggling mightily, the Mavs have had to rely on Terry’s scoring just as much as before. We’re all grown accustomed to Terry’s consistent production and effort on a nightly basis. But with the Mavericks still in position to make a playoff push, you still have to appreciate Terry for his off-the-bench contributions.
- Mo Williams, Los Angeles Clippers
With Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups coming on board, many questioned Mo Williams’ fit to this much-improved Clippers squad. But Mo has fulfilled his lessened role extremely well, averaging a very efficient 13.6 PPG and 3.1 APG in 28.8 MPG. With three current/former All-Stars on their roster – Paul, Billups, and Williams – the Clippers have one of the better guard rotations of the league, before an unfortunate season-ending Achilles injury to Billups. Now out with a sprained toe, it remains to be seen whether Mo-Will can finish the season strong upon his return. And now, with Billups out for the season, the Clippers will need Williams at his best if they are to make any noise in the playoffs.
Who Should Win: James Harden, OKC
Who Will Win: James Harden, OKC
I don’t think voters will be able to ignore Harden’s indispensible presence on the league’s best regular season team. And rightfully so.
*Coming Soon: Most Improved Player Prediction