Plenty to come on football this week with the monster tilt at the pizza palace, but wanted to flip to one brief statistical basketball analysis. Ever since I spotted this Top 50 point guards list put out by CBSSports, I can't stop thinking about the absurdity of it.
For the record, these folks decided to leave Cashmere Wright out of the top 50. I have no explanation outside of complete disbelief. Our guy, HOFer Mike Decourcy stated via Twitter that Wright would be in question for the Top 25 PGs, but Top 50 is not debatable.
My point I want to make here, is my disbelief isn't some sort of homer bias. Sure, I've seen more of Wright than any PG in the country, but the numbers don't add up. And my bias has nothing to do with those.
How are PGs judged? Points, assists. Good starting point. Assist to turnover ratio is about as big as it gets in the point guard analysis realm. Toss in steals and the value of a player like Aaron Craft is truly exposed. Also, point guards are the quarterbacks of their teams. Plenty of good QBs lose games because of poor play around them, but for the most part you can also judge a point guard by wins. How far did they advance in the tournament, where the point guard is the most important player on the floor?
Let's take a look at those stats and see where Cash compares. I selected eight players from the top 35 without even bothering with the bottom 15 just to prove the point.
CBS rank, Player: PPG/APG/A:TO/Steal%/2011Success
N/A, Cashmere Wright, UC: 10.9/4.6/2.01/4.0/Sweet16
4. Aaron Craft, OSU: 8.8/4.6/2.25/4.7%/Final4
--- Two fewer points than Cash, but that's not Craft's game. He was slightly ahead in A:TO and steal percentage, but both rank among the best in the NCAA. And, of course, OSU beat UC head to head. Craft deserves his spot, but Cash is similar in style with more offensive punch.
9. Peyton Siva, Lou: 9.1/5.6/1.55/3.2%/Final4
--- This comparison I find interesting. Siva attacks more and dishes out an extra assist per game, but turns the ball over much more than Wright. He's also not near the defensive player of the UC PG. His game is flashy and the Louisville tournament run impressive, but Cash's numbers are superior looking at the bigger picture.
11. Mark Lyons, Arizona (formerly Xavier): 15.1/2.8/1.27/2.5%/Sweet16
--- Never mind the fact he almost single-handedly blew up an entire season before bolting for Arizona, Lyons can score and that's about it. Plus, he rarely even played PG last year at X with Holloway running the show. He scored 15.1 points, but turned it over nearly as much as he assisted and did little on defense. Oh, and did I mention he almost blew the team up from the inside-out? Who would you rather have as your leader?
18. Myck Kabongo, Texas: 9.6/5.2/1.74/2.5%/LostR1
--- Kabongo and the Longhorns lost to UC in the first round of the tournament last year. Kabongo didn't score as much as Cash, but did dish out an extra half assist more per game. Of course, when you turn it over 100 times in a season as he did (1.74 A/TO) assists don't mean as much. So, he turns it over more, doesn't score as much, has far less defensive impact and lost to UC in the first round. Your choice.
21. Joe Jackson, Memphis: 11.0/3.9/1.63/2.7%/LostR1
--- Jackson scored almost exactly the same amount as Wright, only dished out fewer assists, turned it over at a higher rate, played less effective defense and lost in the first round of the tournament. But, you know, whatever.
28. Keith Appling, Michigan State: 11.4/3.9/1.70/2.3%/Sweet16
--- Appling averaged a half-point more than Wright, dished out fewer assists, turned it over at a higher rate, didn't have the same defensive effect and lost in the Sweet 16. Oh, and a stat not listed above, Wright his 37.5 percent from 3-point range and Appling hit 25 percent (24 of 96).
34. Erick Green, VT: 15.6/2.8/1.86/2.4%/NoNCAAs
--- Depending on how you like your point guards, Green might be your choice. He led VT in scoring at 15.6 per game, but he's much more a score-first PG than Wright. Outside of the point differential he dished out almost two fewer assists per game, turned it over more and didn't have near the defensive impact. Oh, and VT lost five of their last 19 games and didn't make any postseason play.
35. Kwamain Mitchell, St. Louis: 12.4/3.7/2.06/2.6%/LostR2
--- Mitchell scored a point and a half more than Wright, but had one fewer assist per game with about the same assist to turnover rate. Again, not the same defensive force and lost a round earlier than the Bearcats.
--- Now, I suppose somebody could offer a more brutal deconstruction of how Wright could be left off such a list, but it would be unnecessary. This merely shows the latest trend of how overlooked the Bearcats have been as a whole. Great news is, none of those opinions mean squat in this sport where the talent is decided on the court.
I only wish a player of Wright's ability would be recognized for how good he has been here.