Pac-12 Burning Questions: Best Point Guard?Posted by AMurawa on December 6th, 2012
No beating around the bush on this one, we’re going to get right to the point as we discuss who the league’s best floor general is.
Who is the best point guard in the Pac-12?
Adam Butler: This is an interesting question in and of itself. When it was first proposed to me, I responded with, “What makes a good point guard?” Traditionally we say assists defines a guard and to that point you might argue Larry Drew II. Well that’s not how I’m defining my best point guard. I’m taking Chasson Randle. I love his game as I can watch him do things the other kids can’t. He gets to the rim with an ease few possess. And look, I’m going to struggle to statistically make this argument. He’s ninth in the conference in assist rate (good) and top 15 in the conference in ORtg for players with a usage greater than 24%. To boot, he’s grabbing a handful of boards (3.2) and steals (1.8) per game while playing 30 minutes a night. He gets to the free throw line, too; shooting about six per contest. Maybe I’ve gotten ahead of myself calling him the league’s best PG a month deep, but he’s my guy when push comes to shove. Just you wait and see. I like how the team goes as he goes, to me dictating leadership and that he’s indeed the facilitator of this squad. Every team needs a tone setter and I appreciate that Stanford’s has the ball in his hands more often than not.
Andrew Murawa: It’s early in the year, and early in his career, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Jahii Carson is already the best point guard in the conference, for quite a few reasons. First and foremost, he has been put in a position to succeed by Arizona State head coach Herb Sendek. While there is some talent on this team, Sendek realized last year while Carson was sitting out as a partial qualifier that he needed to put the ball in Carson’s hands from day one. He is the one guy on this team who can not only create scoring opportunities for himself, but also get good looks for his teammates. With Carson putting pressure on the defense either in transition or as a threat off the bounce in the halfcourt or even knocking down jumpers from beyond the arc (though his jumper isn’t always a work of art, he’s hitting better than 40% of his attempts from deep), guys like Carrick Felix and Jordan Bachynski are having their best offensive seasons in part because Carson gets them the rock in position to make plays, and in part because the opposing defense needs to keep one eye on Carson when those guys have the ball. And, while he’s struggled plenty with turnovers in the early going (he’s turning it over on nearly a quarter of all used possessions), he’s bought into his role. After exploding for 30 (while still handing out seven assists) against Creighton’s dubious defense, Carson laid off looking for his own shot against teams like Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Sacramento State in an effort to get Evan Gordon going and to keep Felix going. While he’s still got plenty of room for improvement (you can bet Sendek is encouraging him to take better care of the ball), Carson is my pick for best point in the conference as well as the most valuable individual player to his team.
Connor Pelton: Sure, Larry Drew II may lead the league in assists. But he’s much more than just a one-trick pony, as Adam suggests. Drew has been the one sense of stability on a completely unstable team so far in the 2012-13 season. He may only average 5.3 points, but his 8.5 assists and 1.4 turnovers make him not only the best distributor but one of the cleanest players in the league in regards to ball-handling. It says something about his level of play when he’s playing nearly 35 MPG in front of arguably the top point guard in the nation from the Class of 2012. And he may not be the top thief on the defensive end of the court, but he can D up the opponents’ top one guard with ease. Bottom line, this Bruin team would be completely dead without a facilitator like Drew at the point.
Parker Baruh: The best point guard in the Pac-12 is Spencer Dinwiddie. His assist totals aren’t high and never have been as he’s only averaging 2.4 APG per game this year, and, yes, assists are important for a point guard. However, what is also important is having the ability to control the game and set up the offense, which is where Dinwiddie excels. He has never shied away from leading the team since day one at Colorado and he brings a certain calmness to his game, making sure everyone knows where to be on the floor. More importantly, Dinwiddie has an ability to know when to push the ball in transition like Tad Boyle likes to do so much in his offense, but he also knows when to slow it down and reset things. Right now, Dinwiddie is leading his team in scoring, and had a career high 29 points last night against Colorado State, which certainly doesn’t scream point guard. And more often than not, you’re not going to get typical point guard game from Dinwiddie. But what you are going to get is his ability to control the game on the offensive end and make smart decisions and that’s all I need from my leader at the position.