Harden Snags KIA Sixth Man Award

HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS — A career-best season is what earned Oklahoma City Thunder swingman James Harden the KIA Sixth Man of the Year Award, which was handed out officially this afternoon at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

And the bearded one snagged this honor in a landslide,  collecting 115 of a possible 119 first-place votes and 584 of a possible 595 points. Lou Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers finished second with 231 points and 2008-09 winner Jason Terry of the Dallas Mavericks finished third with 81 points.

Harden finished as the NBA’s top scoring reserve this season, averaging a career-best 16.8 points in just his third season in the league. He also averaged a career-highs with 4.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists field goal shooting (.491), 3-point shooting (.390), free throw shooting (.846) and minutes (31.4). Harden is the second youngest player to win the award and succeeds former Lakers’ swing man Lamar Odom in being recognized as the top reserve in the league.

Thunder general manager Sam Presti praised Harden’s maturity and sacrifice while making it clear that the award is as much about his statistics and contributions to the Thunder as it is about his character, determination and tireless work ethic.

Word spread in advance of this afternoon’s official announcement. The charismatic Harden even took to Twitter to thank his followers. “Thanks to everyone!! I appreciate all the love. 6th Man of the Year.”

Harden beat himself up a bit during the ceremony, admitting that he struggled with his reserve role after starring at Arizona State and being the third overall pick in the 2009 Draft.

But Thunder coach Scott Brooks disagreed.

“James is being hard on himself,” Brooks said. “He did get it as a rookie. He averaged 10 points a game as a rookie on a team that won 50 games. I had a chance to see him as a rookie at 19 years old and three years later he’s a man. He’s improved in every aspect. I had a conversation with hims last year a month after the season, we sat down for lunch and I wanted to get his thoughts going into the summer and asked him what his goals were, thinking he wanted to start. And all he said was,’ Coach, I just want to do whatever the team needs to help us get better.’ I knew right then he understood his role. And he’s really our sixth starter. Like Sam said, it’s not common to accept that role as such a young player.”

Harden had one of his best games of the season in Game 4 of the Thunder’s first round sweep of Terry and the defending champion Mavericks. He took over the game, scoring 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, including seven in a row and nine in the Thunder’s 12-0 run after they trailed by 13 points with 9:44 left.

Harden and the Thunder await the winner of the Lakers-Nuggets series in the Western Conference semifinals.


  1. Tony from Sydney says:

    He’s more valuable to the team than just someone who comes off the bench. In more recent years, more teams have introduced the super-sub roster system, which probably all started from Manu Ginobilli, and then Jason Terry. Those guys are more than capable being a starter and average 20 mins per game. It is a strategy to provide the team with more energy off the beach, while having someone who can carry the scoring load when the team’s star players are on the bench. OKC would not have had the success this season without the contribution of James Harden.

  2. vamos a la playa says:

    well deserved, dear harden!
    you can have a party and invite also the little man famous just for throwing an elbow …

  3. OKCKD35 says:

    im pretty sure we have james and serge for 1 more year following this season, the thunders goal will be to re-sign harden, then worry about ibaka next off season. With the contract on the thunder and the level of professionalism i would not be suprised to see Durant, Westbrook, Perkins, and Collison restructure to retain both Ibaka and Harden to win some larry o’brians

  4. Ray says:

    The only reason harden even came off the bench was because OKC Needed production off the bench if it wasn’t for that he would be a clear starter putting up career numbers this year, by boasting stats in all category’s from MPG (ironically) to PPG. No doubt he deserved every piece of the 6th man trophy. My runner up being Lou Williams yeah yeah criticize him all you want but he did lead the Sixers in scoring and was the first to that in over 50 years. But off that now the question roams around : Can OKC financially keep Harden on the team with Serge (who is also on his last year) ? If not who will go ? pretty hard choice being as tho Harden is a Scorcher off the bench and Serge is just improving as a player each yeah and is a BIG presence down in the paint. Thunder has a lot on their plate coming this off season.

  5. charles says:

    He’ll be the highest paid sixth man in the league. I don’t know how they’re going to keep him….hmmmm wait, the wolves need a STARTING shooting guard…a man can only wish :).

  6. ALICIA says:

    James, I am extremly proud of you “6th Man of the Year” You are a great player & role model that know how to keep this all in prospective. It’s not often you find a great atheletic with you level of maturity. I really commend you because not only did you accept this aware in good taste you also gave KUDOS to you team. JOB WELL DONE !!!!

  7. AnoNymouS~ says:

    with the way he contributed off the bench i wouldn’t be surprised

  8. Victor Manoel de Brito says:

    Huahuahuahua, Batez doesn’t know anything about the NBA 🙂 What are you doing here, good man?

  9. al says:

    he played 30 mins a game!! a lot of starters aint getting them minutes….

  10. batez says:

    Who cares, this just means he was the best guy who wasnt good enough to start.

    • Mint says:

      Serious? He could be a starter on at least 28 of the 30 teams. “not good enough to start” smh

    • Bob amepson says:

      HEs way better than thabo sefalosha

    • bagito says:

      actually he is good enough to be a starter for OKC.. its just that the team will be much stronger if he will be playing of the bench..

    • Geo says:

      You just said that cause you wanted to get some replys and comments back, probabaly thats the way you make yourself happy
      James Harden comes off the bench JUST for the sake of strategy.
      Its to keep the offensive power flowing and never stop.
      Your very stupid not to be able to see that or your like 12 yrs old.

  11. Well deserved!Harden is a great player congrats!

  12. Ledzepage says:

    Fear the beard!!!