According to USA Today, James Harden will be named the 2011-12 Sixth Man of the Year. Other than two games this year, Harden came off the bench 60 times for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The 22-year-old Harden posted career highs in minutes, FG%, 3P%, FT%, asssists, rebounds, points and PER. Harden’s 66.0 true shooting percentage was second to Tyson Chandler despite the obvious disparity in shot proximity.
While the sixth man role has waned I significance over time, Harden is the prototypical sixth man that makes an immense impact on the team. The Thunder outscore their opponents by 9.8 points per 100 possessions with Harden on the court, according to NBA Stats Cube. That number actually bests Durant and Westbrook’s on court numbers.
Harden also posted a elite one-year adjusted plus/minus (+13.22), according to Basktball Value. That puts him fifth in the entire NBA.