As expected, Oklahoma City Thunder’s James Harden is the winner of the 2011-12 Kia NBA Sixth Man Award, beating out the likes of Jason Terry (Mavs), O.J. Mayo (Grizzlies), and Manu Ginobili (Spurs), among others.
The awards goes to the league’s best player in a reserve role, and Harden has been just that for OKC this year.
Harden was named the season’s Sixth Man by the NBA on Thursday (May 10), following a season where he averaged 19.8 ppg coming off the the bench in 60 of 62 games he appeared in, and helping OKC finish with the NBA’s third-best record (47-19).
Each end-of-the-year award is chosen from a ppoint system, in which a panel of 119 sportswriters and broadcasters vote each player into first, second and third places. Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.
Harden received 584 of a possible 595 points, including 115 of a possible 119 first-place votes. He beat out Louis Williams, who led the Philadelphia 76ers in scoring (14.9 ppg) despite not starting a single game, and finished second with 231 points. And, Jason Terry of the Dallas Mavericks, who won the award in 2008-09, finished third with 81 points.
James Harden was the third overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, and has been a model of consistency since entering the league. This season, he scored in double figures in 58 of 62 contests, while averaging 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 31.4 minutes per game. He also topped the 20-point mark on 15 occasions, with the Thunder going 14-1 in those games. He shot .491 from the field, .846 from the free throw line, and .390 from three-point range.
As part of of the Sixth Man Award, Kia Motors America will donate a new Kia Sorento CUV on behalf of Chandler to Art for Life Foundation, which focuses on creating programs that help kids who are undergoing physical, emotional or mental crisis to use art as a way of helping them work through and with their illness.
Kia Motors will present a brand new Sorento to the charity of choice of each of five 2011-12 year-end award winners — including Most Improved Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Most Valuable Player of the Year Awards, and this year for the first time, Rookie of the Year.