The talk for Sixth Man of the Year is heating up, and this year there’s anything but a clear-cut favorite. Several players give their teams a big boost off the bench and are worthy of winning the award.
In order to narrow down the field, I looked at an objective list based on a relatively new statistic.
PIE measures a player's overall statistical contribution against the total statistics in games they play in. PIE yields results which are comparable to other advanced statistics (e.g. PER) using a simple formula. (PTS + FGM + FTM - FGA - FTA + DREB + (.5 * OREB) + AST + STL + (.5 * BLK) - PF - TO) / (GmPTS + GmFGM + GmFTM - GmFGA - GmFTA + GmDREB + (.5 * GmOREB) + GmAST + GmSTL + (.5 * GmBLK) - GmPF - GmTO)
The reason that PIE is beneficial is it eliminates certain biases, like pace. According to Sekou Smith of the Hangtime Blog,
PIE eliminates league- , season- or style-of-play bias, enabling comparison of a player (or team) across different eras. The PIE formula also includes the team's rate of success—which some see as the ultimate measure of a player's worth.
That’s why it’s expressed as a percentage, rather than just an accumulated number or average.
Using PIE as a reference, I looked at the top reserves who have played at least 30 games coming off the bench and averaged at least 20 minutes per game.
If players changed teams during the season, I only used the stats for their new teams.
While they are listed here in order of PIE, it should be taken as a starting point for consideration of the Sixth Man of the Year, not an iron-clad conclusion. The debate is wide-open.