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If Nate Robinson Becomes a Starter, Does That Disqualify Him From Sixth Man of the Year?

Hot on the heels of my award-winning "WTF is MIP" column, a story came across my virtual desk that's got me deconstructing the Sixth Man award. Turns out that Nate Robinson, who as of late has finally made peace with his inner maniac, may soon steal the starting spot from Chris Duhon. According to the The New York Post, D'Antoni would rather Nate come off the bench, but Duhon's just too banged-up to carry on: ↵
↵⇥With the Knicks 1 1/2 games out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference and only 18 games left, D'Antoni doesn't seem to want to take Robinson out of the roles in which he has thrived. But he does want Duhon to be honest with him before tonight's game against the Timberwolves, which could be a critical swing game in this five-game road trip, which ends Sunday against the East-leading Cavaliers. D'Antoni suggested after Wednesday's overtime win in Detroit that Duhon shouldn't have played. ↵⇥
↵⇥"Chris is really struggling physically," D'Antoni said of Duhon, who winced through 22:41 of playing time. "You can see his back and his ankle [are hurting] ... He probably should have told me he wasn't feeling well. You could see he had no pop and ... talking to him, it didn't seem like it would be a problem." ↵
↵I know that, to win the Sixth Man award, a player has to have come off the bench for a certain number of games. It doesn't take into account an overall narrative of earning the starting spot, or maturing enough that by season's end, no one finds it weird that you're starting. On the other hand, if Nate's forced to start because of injuries to Duhon, but is still understood as most effective off the bench, it's strange that he could be disqualified. All I'm saying is, if they're going to iron out some wrinkles in the travel rules, would it kill them to define these awards with more than just a single, ambiguous phrase?↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.