It seemed a foregone conclusion by the end of the regular season, and today it will become so: J.R. Smith is the 2012-2013 Sixth Man of the Year. The Knicks just announced plans for an NBA press conference at their training facility at 2:30 this afternoon. My initial thought was something about the 2015 All-Star Game, but that's a patently dumb thought. Howard Beck confirms the event will be to announce J.R.'s preeminent hexandry.
Whether or not J.R. deserves the award relative to his peers is up to you-- I do not care and think the whole award is kind of silly-- but there's no questioning the multi-stage renaissance J.R.'s undergone this year. Much was made of J.R.'s maturation during his fine opening month of the season, but it wasn't until March and April (following some fairly rough months) that Smith really took over. Almost overnight, he morphed into a steadfast slasher, finally relying on his athletic gifts to relentlessly attack the rim, finish, and get to the line. For a month or two, J.R. was one of the best shooting guards in the NBA, and his play keyed New York's dominant closing stretch. His shooting numbers shot up starkly during that period, and he also finished the season with some of his best rebounding, turnover-limiting, and overall efficient-being marks of his career.
It was a fine season. It's funny, looking back, that it began with J.R. waving off the notion of this very award. Well, #STARER or not, you're an excellent Sixth Man, J.R. Congratulations. Keep it up. Pipe.