Jamal Crawford vs. Anderson Varejao: Sixth Man Tale of the Tape

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Jamal Crawford vs. Anderson Varejao: Sixth Man Tale of the Tape

The NBA awards season has become an epic farce and a joke without a suitable punchline.

Does winning Most Improved Player mean you sucked last year? Congratulations on no longer being a crappy player!

In the Rookie of the Year race, high-scoring youngsters on putrid lottery teams usually beat out those filling lesser roles on playoff-bound units.

Humor and frustration aside, one award still piques my interest. Each year, the NBA honors the best bench player with a trophy.

The league first bestowed the accolade on Bobby Jones in 1982. Since that inaugural handout, Kevin McHale and Detlef Schrempf remain the only back-to-back winners.

The tiny statue recognizes a player willing to accept a reserve role on bona fide playoff squad. It rewards selflessness and winning.

I decided to examine two of the top candidates for the award this season. Jason Terry and Manu Ginobili would rank as the front-runners under normal circumstances. Terry has missed several weeks with a facial-bone fracture, and an injury to Tony Parker forced San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to start Ginobili.

That leaves Atlanta Hawks guard Jamal Crawford and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao as the top contenders in this discussion.

Both players are carrying out marked missions. Playoff virgin Crawford hopes to help the Hawks secure a top-four seed and advance past the second round. Varejao will play a significant role in the Cavs' title chase and convincing LeBron James to stay in Cleveland.

If it seems silly to compare ballers at different positions, humor me.

To determine a winner, I juxtaposed the players in five categories.

Season averages do not tell the story.

Anderson Varejao’s Numbers

Points Per Game: 8.9
Rebounds Per Game: 7.9
Assists Per Game: 1.1
Field Goal Percentage: .568
Blocks Per Game: .9
Minutes Per Game: 29.2
Games Started: Seven

Jamal Crawford’s Numbers

Points Per Game: 17.5
Rebounds Per Game: 2.5
Assists Per Game: 2.9
Field Goal Percentage: .451
Three-point Percentage: .382
Minutes Per Game: 30.6
Games Started: Zero

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