Jamal Crawford: A deserved winner of the 2016 Kia NBA Sixth Man of the Year

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Tuesday afternoon saw L.A. Clippers man Jamal Crawford make history as the first ever player to be named Kia NBA Six Man of the Year for a third time. 

After winning the award in 2009 and 2014, Crawford produced another stellar year with the Los Angeles franchise to fend off competition from the likes of Andre Iguodala, Will Barton, and Enes Kanter to claim the award. 

The winner is decided by a panel of 130 sportswriters based in the United States of America and Canada, and Crawford amassed more points and first-placed votes than any other player. 

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But, based on the cold, hard statistics, was the 36-year-old guard really the most deserving player? 

The three aforementioned players all had stellar seasons as reserves for their respective franchises and there was some talk on social media that there were players more deserving of the award than the now three-time winner. 

Crawford played 79 times for the Clippers during the regular season - starting five of those games - and averaged 14.2 points per 26.9 minutes of action. 

He attempted 939 shots from the field, including 344 tries from behind the three-point arc, and had a 40.4 percent success rate (34 percent from downtown).

Along with that, the two guard posted 2.3 assists, 0.7 steals, and 1.8 rebounds a night for L.A. Clippers as they finished fourth in the Western Conference with a 53-29 record. 

On average, he played fewer minutes than Denver Nuggets shooting guard Barton but more than Iguodala and Kanter posted for the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder. 

In Barton's 28.7 minutes of action per night, he produced 14.4 points, 2.5 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 0.9 steals a game. 'The Thrill' as he is known, shot 43.2 percent from the field including 34.5 percent from range on his 325 attempts from three. 

The 25-year-old also produced six double-doubles throughout the campaign and scored at least 20 points on 20 separate occasions for the Nuggets, who failed to make the playoffs.

2015 Finals MVP Iguodala played 65 times for the Warriors as they eclipsed the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' regular season record. He missed 12 games with an ankle injury but returned for the final five outings of the campaign. 

He played an average of 26.6 minutes a night, dropping seven points, pulling down four rebounds, providing 3.4 assists and stealing the ball on 1.1 occasions a night. Shooting the ball at 47.8 percent.

What Iggy brings to the Warriors is the experience of a seasoned veteran, a quality that can not be taken for granted and a major reason behind the Dubs being the current NBA champions. 

But Crawford also brings experience, at 36 he has been around the league long enough and knows what it takes to remain competitive having spent the last seven years of his career as an impact player career. 

Barton is still relatively young at 25, as is Kanter. The 23-year-old Turk had a strong campaign off the bench for the Thunder and played in every regular season game. 

He averaged 12.7 points and 8.1 rebounds from the five spot in his 21.1 minutes per night. Kanter produced 25 double-doubles, but playing in the center position, they are easier to come by.

In terms of statistical benefits for a team, there is an argument that Barton had an equally impressive season as a reserve. However, his team failed in their pursuit of a top eight finish. In terms of overall influence for a franchise on and off the court, there is no doubting Crawford was the deserving winner. 

His experience and know-how have come in handy on numerous occasions for the Clippers and he provides an option off the bench that any franchise in the NBA would like to possess.

Will Barton
Denver Nuggets
Northwest Division
Western Conference
L.A. Clippers
Pacific Division
Enes Kanter
Oklahoma City Thunder
Andre Iguodala
Golden State Warriors
Jamal Crawford
Southwest Division

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