Pac-12 Burning Questions: Who’s the Best Point Guard?

Posted by Andrew Murawa on January 6th, 2016

While watching guys like Jordan McLaughlin, Andrew Andrews, Tra Holder, Kadeem Allen and more shine from the lead guard spot over the weekend, we got the brilliant idea to ask our contributors: Who’s the best point guard in the Pac? Truthfully, there’s only one right answer — a certain Player of the Year candidate in Corvallis who tore up the league last season and has only gotten better as a senior. So, the real question we put forth to our writers is, aside from Gary Payton II, who’s the best point guard in the league? Our answers below.

Gary Payton II Is Not Only The Best Point In The Pac, He's One Of It's Best Players (Oregon State Athletics)

Gary Payton II Is Not Only The Best Point In The Pac, He’s One Of It’s Best Players, Period. (Oregon State Athletics)

Mike Lemaire: This honor is for Gary Payton II to claim, but if the phrasing instead became “most valuable point guard,” then a strong case could be made for Washington senior Andrew Andrews. It can often feel like Andrews is babysitting four wild teenagers when the Huskies play, and considering he is the only upperclassman on the roster, that simile isn’t far from the truth. While his teammates have struggled with fouls, defensive positioning, effort and shot selection, Andrews is quietly scoring more than 20 points per game, leading his team in rebounding (6.3 RPG) and drawing more fouls than anyone else in the Pac. Despite a meaningful uptick in his responsibilities, Andrews is still shooting better than 40 percent from downtown, better than 80 percent from the free throw line and has nearly doubled his assist rate without any corresponding increase in his turnover rate. What makes this even more impressive is that he isn’t even a true point guard; rather, he has just been forced into the role. Still, the pick for best point guard in the league is Gary Payton II, with a notable hat tip to Andrews.

Adam Butler: I’m quickly jumping on the Jordan McLaughlin bandwagon. He went from a 95.0 ORtg last season to a 113.0 ORtg this year and the Trojans are threatening to make an NCAA Tournament appearance. I made a list of returnees whose offensive rating has improved the most in the conference since last season and there were four Trojans on it. Some of that can be be attributed to natural development, but for a system that is so point guard-centric, McLaughlin has been a monster part of this improvement (his own included).

Tra Holder's Ability To Wreak Havoc Off The Bounce Make Him One Of The Pac's Best (Tony Avelar, AP)

Tra Holder’s Ability To Wreak Havoc Off The Bounce Make Him One Of The Pac’s Best. (Tony Avelar, AP)

Andrew Murawa: I focused on the Grand Canyon State for my answer, where Kadeem Allen’s athleticism, attacking mentality and superb vision make him a surprisingly strong answer at the one. The problem is that he struggles to make jumpers and generally we’d prefer a point guard who converts free throws at a higher rate than 69.2 percent. Instead, Bobby Hurley’s apprentice Tra Holder is the choice. He’s nearly impossible to keep out of the lane and ridiculously efficient for just a 6’1″ player when he gets there; he runs the pick-and-roll to great effectiveness; he’s got a floater that gets better by the game; he’s added a passable three-point shot to her repertoire; and he gets to the foul line at a high rate where he knocks in nearly 80 percent. He’s still got some work left to do in terms of letting the game come to him, playing outstanding defense, and he could certainly improve in setting up his teammates. But he’s shown great improvement this season and there’s every reason to believe that his best basketball is ahead of him.

AMurawa (999 Posts)

Andrew Murawa Likes Basketball.

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