The votes for 6th man of the year were announced today. J.R. Smith of the New York Knicks won with 72 first place votes, 39 second place votes, and 7 third place votes. Almost every player that received a vote belonged on the list of nominees; save one. Luke Babbitt made an appearance at the bottom with one, solitary 3rd place vote. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Babbitt fans, but that is one too many.
Look at the single-vote-receiving company he keeps. Gordon Hayward, Vince Carter, and J.J. Redick have all been nothing short of instrumental in their team’s success. Well, ok, Redick wasn’t as key, but he had to deal with a mid-season move to Milwaukee at the trade deadline. Now look at Luke. He missed 20 games this season as a DNP-CD (Did not play – Coach’s decision). That should never happen for a 6th man of the year candidate. Not to mention the pitiful 12 minutes and 4 points per game he registered this season.
A year ago, I may have rated Babbitt as a poor man’s Kyle Korver at best, but come on. A streaky shooter that contributes almost as many fouls as field goals (82 and 86 this season) is not 6th man material. If he were, there would be no question about re-signing him this summer, but that is not the case. There is a good chance that #8 will be dawning new colors in the 2013-2014 season.
So take this minor honor with a grain of salt. Babbitt’s numbers are down this season and so is his stock. To put it bluntly, this nomination was a fluke. I’ve got a fair bit of respect for Luke, and I wish him all the success he can muster, but even he must know that today’s sliver of spotlight is undeserved. Now, I am aware that Babbitt has (somehow) managed to become a fan favorite, so please consider this before grabbing the tar and feathers: to rebuke his praise is not to deny his ability. Babbitt has shown potential to do great things, just not this year. Keep an eye on him next year, in Portland or otherwise, to see if he can bounce back stronger and become a legitimate contender.