james harden

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s James Harden is the winner of the 2011-12 NBA Sixth Man Award as the league’s best player in a reserve role, the NBA announced today. Harden, who led all NBA reserves in scoring (16.8 ppg), came off the bench in 60 of 62 games he appeared in, helping Oklahoma City finish with the NBA’s third-best record (47-19).

Harden received 584 of a possible 595 points, including 115 of a possible 119 first-place votes, from a panel of 119 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Louis Williams, who led the Philadelphia 76ers in scoring (14.9 ppg) despite not starting a single game, finished second with 231 points.  Jason Terry of the Dallas Mavericks, who won the award in 2008-09, finished third with 81 points.

In order to be eligible for this award, players had to have come off the bench in more games than they started. 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, the third overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, was a model of consistency, scoring in double figures in 58 of 62 contests, while averaging 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 31.4 minutes per game. He 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.