Forecast: J.R. Smith for Sixth Man

New York's J.R. Smith is making a strong argument that he deserves Sixth Man honors this season. Debby Wong/USA TODAY Sports

Best spark plug of the year? How about New York's fiery shooting guard?

With the Knicks hobbled by injuries during the second half of the season, J.R. Smith made his presence felt off the pine. After the All-Star break, the nine-year veteran averaged 21.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists, and shot 45.5 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from 3. His production helped the Knicks reach 50 wins for the first time in 13 seasons and snag the No. 2 seed in the East.

Not only do our voters tend to think that Smith should win the Sixth Man of the Year award -- they also predict he will win.

Smith's stiffest competition comes from California, where Jamal Crawford shined as a sixth man in his first season with the L.A. Clippers, even drawing raves from Kobe Bryant in early January. Meanwhile, Jarrett Jack was a big reason the Golden State Warriors ended their long playoff drought, providing leadership at point guard and often closing out games alongside Stephen Curry in the backcourt.

Here is the voting breakdown by our ESPN Forecast panel.

ESPN Forecast: Who should win the Sixth Man of the Year award?

Voters ranked their top three picks, with a 5-3-1 scoring system.

ESPN Forecast: Who will win the Sixth Man of the Year award?

Voters selected one name each