Pac-12 Basketball Fantasy League Voting: Round One, Game ThreePosted by Connor Pelton on July 7th, 2012
Our third matchup of the summer pits the third seed, myself, Connor Pelton, up against sixth seeded Ben Knibbe (UW Dawg Pound). The winner of this one is off to the semifinals, where it will meet the winner of our matchup to be revealed on Tuesday. Below are the rosters, followed by some commentary:
- Head Coach – Slats Gill, Oregon State
- Guard – Reggie Miller, UCLA
- Guard – Isaiah Thomas, Washington
- Guard – Chauncey Billups, Colorado
- Guard – Baron Davis, UCLA
- Forward – Kiki Vandeweghe, UCLA
- Forward – Klay Thompson, Washington State
- Forward – Richard Jefferson, Arizona
- Forward – Jon Brockman, Washington
- Center – Steve Johnson, Oregon State
- Center – Robin Lopez, Stanford
Before I tell you why my team is so much better than Ben’s, let’s first take a look at my seven-man rotation; which is undoubtedly the best in this entire fantasy league. We start in the backcourt, where I was able to pick up two of the clutchest players in not only Pac-12 history, but the NBA as well. Chauncey Billups is our designated starting point guard, if only because Reggie Miller needs to be available at any time to knock down the three. In late-game situations, however, Lute Olson’s famed zone defenses won’t be able to match up and prevent both of these clutch guards from knocking down the winning jumper. You surely already know of Miller’s exploits in the waning minutes of a game (eight points in 11 seconds, anyone?), but Billups hasn’t gotten the nickname “Mr. Big Shot” for no reason. In one of Billups’ best NBA seasons’ (2007-08 with Detroit), he averaged 38.5 points per 48 minutes of clutch time (defined as fourth quarter or overtime, less than five minutes left, and neither team ahead by more than five points).
The most exciting part of basketball is scoring, so I decided to focus my frontcourt on that as well. Kiki Vandeweghe is the definition of triple threat, as his vaunted jab step created opportunities to score from mid-range, three-point land, or a drive to the hoop. My other starter in this spread-you-out offense is Richard Jefferson. The 6’7″ small forward’s game is similar to Vandeweghe’s in that he can knock down the mid-to-long range jumper, but he can do so much more. He is agile and versatile, which brings great slashing ability and some much-needed defense to round out this squad. His quickness and ability to move without the ball also gives him a ton of opportunities at the rim, leading to some thunderous dunks. Eventually, Olson will have to abandon his zone and play some man to negate all of our shooters, which is where the monstrous center, Steve Johnson, comes in. Johnson’s strength in the low-post will get some easy buckets for us in the paint.
Waiting in the wings is some defense in the form of Baron Davis. He will also provide an explosive spark when his name is called. Klay Thompson, one of the most deadly three-point shooters from a Pac-12 school in recent memory, gives us even more options when we need a late game bucket.
Ever heard of Gill Coliseum, the home of the Oregon State Beavers? That’s named after legendary Slats Gill, the all-time winningest coach at Oregon State. Gill spent 36 seasons as the head man in Corvallis, and two before that as the head coach of the Beavers freshman team. He racked up five conference championships, two final four appearances, and 599 wins before retiring to become the athletic director at Oregon State. Gill was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1968 and paved the way for Oregon State’s rise to prominence, as names like Paul Valenti and Ralph Miller would follow in his footsteps.
You’ve heard why my team is great, but the real question here is, why is it better than Ben’s? Miller and Gary Payton pretty much cancel each other out (in fact, they went back-to-back at #3 and #4 overall in the draft), so next up is the Washington guards. Ben is going to tell you how Brandon Roy and Nate Robinson have had better NBA careers and all of that fluff, but when you want to get right down to it, you need to look at the stats. And the stats will tell you that Isaiah Thomas averaged more points at Washington (16.4 PPG) and assists (4.0 APG) than both Roy and Robinson (14.3 and 14.4 PPG and 3.0 and 3.3 APG, respectively).
A vote for my team is a vote for diversity and achievements. I spanned eight different schools while making my selections, including picking the only players from Colorado and Washington State. Ben only selected from five schools, heck, his entire backcourt is from the city of Los Angeles. There’s something for everyone on my team, while Ben mainly committed to just Arizona, Washington, and UCLA. My coach and players have racked up so many accolades that it would be impossible to name them all, but here’s a quick rundown of the highlights:
- A Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee
- A five-time NBA All-Star
- Three, two-time All-Pac-10 First Team players
- An NBA Finals MVP
- Two, two-time NBA All-Stars
- An NBA All-Rookie Second Team player
- A Pac-10 Player of the Year
- A McDonald’s and Parade All-American
- A Pac-12 Hall of Honor Inductee
That’s all I’ve got. Just remember, defense wins games, clutch shooting wins championships. That’s the saying, right?
- Head Coach – Lute Olson, Arizona
- Guard – Gary Payton, Oregon State
- Guard – Brandon Roy, Washington
- Guard - Nate Robinson, Washington
- Guard – Steve Kerr, Arizona
- Forward – Don MacLean, UCLA
- Forward – Sam Clancy, USC
- Forward – Jason Kapono, UCLA
- Forward – Jamaal Wilkes, UCLA
- Center – Christian Welp, Washington
- Center – Bob Elliott, Arizona
Ben’s Take: Coming Soon
Voting begins now and will close at 1:00 PM PT on Monday. The winner is off to the semifinals, where it will face the winner of the next matchup, to be revealed next week.
Good luck to all, and happy voting.