Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon has been named the 2016-17 Sixth Man of the Year, as revealed at the first-ever NBA Awards Show on Monday. Gordon reached new heights in his ninth season as a pro after joining the Rockets in free agency and became one of the NBA’s top three-point shooters. He finished ahead of fellow finalists Lou Williams (a Rockets teammate with similar talents) and Golden State Warriors wing Andre Iguodala, although voting results were not immediately made available.
Gordon emerged as a leading contender early in the season. After several injury plagued years in which he never rose to the level of a star, he excelled in head coach Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced offense and helped the Rockets break the single-season record for three-point field goals. Gordon converted 246 threes on the year to finish fourth in the league, behind only Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and teammate James Harden. He also averaged 16.2 ppg in 31.0 mpg.
There was some belief that Gordon and Williams, the league’s leading bench scorer, would split votes and allow Iguodala to become the rare defense-minded reserve to take home this trophy. However, Gordon won 46 first-place votes and saw his teammate Williams pick up just five. Iguodala showed well to win 43 first-place votes and make this awards race the closest of the year, but Gordon’s prolific shooting appears to have pushed him over the top.
Sixth Man of the Year was voted on by a panel of 100 independent media members. The post-draft, TNT-televised NBA Awards replaced the league’s previous team-organized press conferences for major awards, which typically took place during the first few rounds of the postseason.
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