If, like me, you ignored the sage advice of Fox 71 and left the sound on during the UCLA - Utah basketball game broadcast, you heard the announcers prattle on about leading candidates for Pac-12 Player of the Year. It came as no surprise at all that they agreed that Nick Johnson is the guy to beat. Apparently, for reasons that have never been explained to my satisfaction, playing for the top team in the conference is a major qualification for the conference POY award. But if being on the "best" team in the conference is such an important consideration, why isn't Aaron Gordon's name mentioned in these conversations? In terms of Arizona's success, Gordon may be a more important player than Johnson, so what else could be driving the support for Johnson?
DCBruins has made a terrifically strong case for Kyle Anderson as Pac-12 Player of the Year. From my perspective, it's impossible to ignore the overwhelming statistical evidence in favor of Kyle. However, one of the difficulties in statistical comparisons of basketball players is that there is no consensus regarding which statistical categories to consider and how much weight should be given to one relative to another. Are rebounds more important than assists? What is the relative value of a blocked shot? Should statistics such as rebounds and assists be calculated per game or per 40 minutes? These questions aren't as troublesome when comparing similar players that play the same position, but what statistical categories do you use to compare a center to a point guard? Or in the case of Kyle Anderson, can he be compared to any other player while adequately accounting for the breadth of his contributions?
In my opinion, the case for Kyle Anderson as Pac-12 POY is rock solid. But for the sake of this post, I want to compare two Pac-12 guards with reasonably similar statistics. Not only are both players contributing in similar ways to their teams, the level of performance in each statistical category is fairly close. For now, I'm identifying the players as Guard A and Guard B. Here are their statistics for the current season:
|Guard A||Guard B|
|Minutes Per Game||30.6||32.2|
|Points Per 40 Minutes||22.4||19.7|
|Field Goal Pct.||45.9||44.6|
|Free Throw Pct||84.3||76.6|
|3pt Field Goal Pct.||36.7||33.3|
|Rebounds Per 40 Minutes||7.3||4.7|
|Assists Per 40 Minutes||2.9||3.2|
|Steals Per 40 Minutes||3.8||1.5|
On the basis of these statistics only, which of these players is having a stronger season? If these players were competing for Pac-12 Player of the Year, which player would you vote for based on the statistical evidence?
After completing the poll below, if you're curious about the identity of the two players, follow the links in the first comment.