If you’ve read my work before, you know that I can get fired up. Yeah, I write a lot of stupid stuff completely in jest, basically hoping to get other people going, but every now and then, I legitimately have to get some things off of my chest. This blog would be one of those times. I don’t know how I can get so worked up every year about the NBA screwing up the All-Star team selections, but it’s become an annual ritual, and it will continue to happen until Adam Silver finally comes to his senses and lets me fix everything about the NBA, including allowing me to pick the All Star teams each year. Continue Reading
My favorite time of year is upon us! March Madness began last weekend!
First things first, I have to give some props to my squad, the Golden Gophers, for showing up for 3 straight games at the Big Ten Tournament. I’m not sure the Gophers played well in 3 conference games in a row all season. It’s a bit frustrating to know that they could have played that well all season and been in contention for a 6 seed or above, and also that they thought that the Big Ten Championship is only played for one 20 minute period rather than two, but at least they were able to go on a run when it counted and salvaged the season by earning that NCAA berth and a Big Ten Tournament 2nd Place Finish. It gives me much more hope for next season, especially since Devoe Joseph and Colton Iverson were the ones that stepped up more than anyone, and they’re only sophomores. The showing in their first round game against Xavier was disappointing as well, but as evidenced by their second round defeat of Pittsuburgh, that Xavier squad is one good team.
As for the rest of the tournament, I, like most people out there, am the owner of a bracket that is full of crossed off picks. I’m in 14th place out of 16 in my pool. And yet, I feel as though I have the pool right where I want it. I’m the only person in the entire pool who didn’t have Kansas to the Final Four, and one of only 5 people who didn’t take Kansas to win it all. Only one other person was wise enough to choose Kentucky to win it all, and since he has Kansas in the championship game, and I have Ohio State, I’ll have plenty of points to overcome his lead on me when Evan Turner leads the Buckeyes to the National Championship game. Syracuse looked really tough against Gonzaga, and the only other two people in our pool that are alive took the Orange to win it all. I think that Ohio State is too good of an outside shooting team to lose to Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, and so I like the Buckeyes, but they still have to get there, and I’m also going to be rooting for Butler, K-State, or Xavier to knock off the Orange just so the Buckeyes don’t have to face them. I wouldn’t mind, however, if Syracuse and Baylor both made it to the Final Four, because I don’t think I’ve ever had then entire Final Four correct before, and I’d like to have that accomplishment.
So, why did I take Ohio State to beat Kansas (I’m not smart or lucky enough to predict a Northern Iowa over Kansas upset) and go to the Final Four when everyone else knew that Kansas was the best team in America? For one, I just wanted my bracket to be different from everyone else’s in my pool, but also, I just don’t want to believe Evan Turner can be stopped right now. I also dream to see a Turner versus Wall national championship game, where the winner could potentially lock up the #1 draft pick status by wowing the NBA scouts that would undoubtedly be in attendance. I don’t know the Kentucky team well enough to know how the matchups would work, but I do know that John Wall is a good defender, and even though Turner is 6’7″, he’s not exactly small at 6’4″, so we could even see them guard each other as they bring the ball up the court!
Since both of these guys are up for national player of the year in college basketball, and both are possible #1 overall picks in this year’s NBA draft, I thought I’d break down both arguments for you, with my opinions, of course.
National Player of the Year: Evan Turner
This award is not meant to gauge how anyone will do at the next level, nor is it meant to honor achievements over an entire career. It’s just to honor the best college basketball player in the country for that season. Turner is that player. Let’s compare Turner and Wall’s numbers from this season:
Wall: 16.8 ppg (4th in SEC), 6.5 apg (1st in SEC), 46.5% fg%, 34% 3pfg%, 76.3% ft%, 4.2 rpg(28th in SEC), 0.5 bpg, 1.8 spg (3rd in SEC), 4.0 TOpg
Turner: 20.3 ppg (1st in Big Ten), 5.9 apg (2nd in Big Ten), 52.3% fg%, 35.3% 3pfg%, 74.6% ft%, 9.2 rpg (1st in Big Ten), 0.9 bpg, 1.8 spg (3rd in Big Ten), 4.3 TOpg
Turner is better in almost every category. Wall clearly looks like the better true point guard with his better assist and turnover numbers, but Turner is so much more than a point guard for his team. An argument for Wall is that he is the best player on a superior team, and thus, more deserving. I do think Kentucky is a better team than Ohio State, but I don’t think that the margin is that great. Also, you have to look at Ohio State’s record when Turner was out versus when he came back from a BROKEN BACK! The Buckeye’s are 19-3 since Turner has returned from injury, and whenever they’ve been in close games, Turner has been the one to bail them out. John Wall has only lost twice all season, which is very impressive and a great argument for him, but like I said earlier, the team around him is superior to that of Turner’s, and I think that is actually a strike against Wall. Demarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson, and Eric Bledsoe all have made big plays this year in crunch time. Wall still leads that team in big time plays, but Turner seems like the only guy the Buckeyes would ever look to with the game on the line. Okay, so I’ve ranted with a Big Ten bias about Turner for long enough, time to change it up.
1st Overall Pick in the 2010 NBA Draft: John Wall
All of those stats I mentioned above are far from meaningless for this debate, but pure numbers aren’t going to determine who will be the better pro. Wall is 2 years younger than Turner, which is already a plus because whoever is picking 1st is building for the future, and you want a guy that will most likely play a couple more years in the league. The NBA has shown in recent years that really good point guard play can be dominant. Young point guards like Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, and now Tyreke Evans (kind of a point guard) are taking the league by storm. John Wall has the Derrick Rose size and athleticism (I still can’t decide who’s more athletic) but with possibly a better outside shot, and maybe even better point guard instincts. Also, look at the last two one and done point guards to play for John Calipari: Rose and Evans, and you have to think that Wall is another can’t miss prospect. I love Turner’s versatility, and since he plays point guard in college, who knows, maybe that’s how a team would use him at the next level, but he’s not going to be able to back down 6’2″, 195 pound college sophomores for easy buckets at the next level. Teams will put bigger, quicker perimeter players on him and give him trouble, so I don’t think his future in the NBA really is point guard. The only way I see Turner going #1 is if the team picking there is dumb enough to draft for need rather than best player available, or is convinced that Wall couldn’t play in their offensive system. (Timberwolves, I’m looking at you.)
So, now that I’ve put it out there that my bracket needs this matchup to happen, and since it’s what everyone else probably wants to see since the Jayhawks got knocked out, we know it’s probably destined not to happen. (I’ve never won an NCAA pool.)
So long for now.