Jamal Crawford accepting his trophy from Kia Vice President Tim Chaney. (Krystyn Bristol/Living Out Loud LA)
PLAYA VISTA, Calif. — In a season full of firsts for the Los Angeles Clippers, Jamal Crawford became the first player in franchise history to win the Kia NBA Sixth Man Award as the league’s best reserve player.
This is Crawford’s second time winning the award, after being named the best sixth man in 2009-2010 as member of the Atlanta Hawks.
The 34-year-old guard became the oldest recipient of the award; a fact that did not go unnoticed by starting center DeAndre Jordan, who teased him about it during the conference.
After being introduced by Clippers commentator Ralph Lawler, head coach Doc Rivers shared his perspective at the podium. Rivers compared Crawford to Boston Celtics legend John Havlicek, considered by many the greatest sixth man ever.
“[Crawford] is one of the great sixth men of all time,” Rivers said. “The fact that they could both start on any team that they play on, yet, they choose to come off the bench because they think that’s the right thing for the team, I think it speaks volumes about both.”
Doc continued, “[Crawford] can score in his sleep. I’ve never seen a guy who can sit for 15 minutes and literally be on the floor for half a second, and he’s ready to shoot. And he makes the shot.”
After accepting his trophy from Kia Vice President Tim Chaney, Crawford began by thanking team trainers and assistant coaches before reflecting on his time with the Clippers.
“I didn’t know what a family was—on the court— until I got with these guys,” said Crawford. “I’ve been on a lot of teams and usually, guys, they go their own way. But with us, everybody’s included, everybody’s a part.”
Crawford also talked about his future plans with the Clippers when he forwardly stated, “I know my agent probably wouldn’t want me to say this, but I want to be a Clipper forever.”
He led all NBA reserves with 18.6 points-per-game and helped the Clippers to a 57-25 record—their best in franchise history.
Crawford came off the bench in 45 of the 69 games he appeared in, but had a string of starts in the middle of the season in place of Chris Paul, who was sidelined for five weeks with a right shoulder injury he suffered on January 3.
Crawford had his best game off the bench in a 126-118 win over the Toronto Raptors, where he contributed 37 points and 11 assists. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no player other than Crawford has had at least 31 points and 11 assists as a reserve.
Crawford was asked if the Donald Sterling controversy would have any bearing on his future with the Clippers. “I think as long as I’m with this group of guys, with Doc leading us, everything else will work itself,” said Crawford.
“You can’t worry about what you can’t control. The feeling I have with these guys, with this group, it’s nothing like I’ve ever experienced.”