Sometimes, the most productive overall reserve wins Sixth Man of the Year. Usually, though, the award goes to the highest-scoring reserve.
When both those players are the same, it’s easy.
Lou Williams – who averaged 22.6 points per game, third-most ever for a Sixth Man of the Year-eligible player* – is deserves to and will likely win the honor when it’s presented June 25. For now, we just know the finalists:
*Ricky Pierce averaged 23.0 points per game for the 1989-90 Bucks. Michael Jordan averaged 22.7 points per game for the 1985-86 Bulls, though he played just 18 games, including seven starts.
Williams (2015) and Gordon (2017) have both previously won this award.
Gordon had a nice season, but he fits the high-scoring model that attracts voters more than he fits the best overall reserve.
VanVleet was a key piece of a deep and dominant Toronto bench.