Oh you know it’s wildly early in the season and so we should judge every book by its cover, anoint a champion yesterday and fire all of the coaches. We can call this an egregious or just a Watch List. Semantics aside, here’s a little check-in on some of the conference’s best.
New-ish and very seriously in the conversation
Joseph Young – We knew that he was talented but the junior has been scintillating. I mean, his worst game has been a 12 point effort in which he still managed to piece together a 115 ORtg. Joe Young has been terrific and the Ducks are just five games away from getting better following Shoe-gate.
Jordan Loveridge – I mean no offense to Evergreen State but the Utah Utes have played absolutely no one. But SOS aside, Loveridge has been stat stuffing monster: 18 points, 12 boards, 3 assists, and a 129 ORtg. Sustainability will become the name of the game – along with whether he can do it against school’s not named after foliage.
Roberto Nelson – This Beaver has the third highest usage percentage in the nation at 39.1%. That means he’s putting up a shot four out of every ten Beaver possessions. That alone doesn’t say much beyond, perhaps, BALL HOG or duh-the-Beavers-needed-someone-to-jack-up-all-the-shots-after-Ahmad-Starks-transferred. But let’s note here what he’s doing with all those shots. His ORtg is 127.2 and his EFg is 55%. His turnover rate is sub-10% and he’s dishing assists at a top-40 clip (36.2%). The ball is in his hands and he’s doing nothing but good things. And he torched the Terps in College Park.
Chasson Randle – Long been a fan of this kid’s talent and was a little disappointed by his sophomore season. He cooled off in the shooting department, coming back down 44% shooting to 40%. He took more shots, however, and maintained his scoring average. This year, however, he’s shooting a blistering 52% and dropping 22 a game. The identity of this Cardinal team is still yet to be determined, but Randle seems to have his groove back.
The Usual Suspects
Jahii Carson – I’m not going to effuse here about how damn good this guy has been. He scored 40 points by making 14 layups. He’s 5’10”.
Kyle Anderson – Dude dropped a triple-double and is just thriving as a point guard. Slow-mo is every bit the unique talent we thought he was. His shot still hasn’t quite come around (20% from distance, 63% from the line) but that doesn’t always matter when you’re doing everything else on the basketball floor.
Jordan Adams – I think he might be my favorite player in the Pac-12. He’s just so smooth out there and he hasn’t missed a beat since last season when he unglamorously played thrived in the shadow of Shabazz. And when I say smooth, I mean he’s getting everything done. He’s the owner (producer?) of a top-100 ORtg, eFG%, and TS%. And because I just love the traditional stats, there’s this: 22ppg, 5rpg, 2apg, 3spg, 56% FG, 46% 3FG, 87% FT. Oh Jordan.
CJ Wilcox –
Great players who won’t win the POY award
Aaron Gordon – He very well could be the best player in the conference but by way of the system he’s in and the talent around him, I don’t think he’s going to shine the way a POY tends to shine. Or needs to shine. He’ll get oodles of hoopla to be sure, but he might be out produced on his own team by Nick Johnson. Or Brandon Ashley.
Justin Cobbs – Fantastic player. Love his talents. But Monty has put together some additional skills around him that are allowing Justin to be a facilitator as opposed to threat and while this bodes well for the Bears’ ceiling, it isn’t doing him and POY favors. But who cares so long as you’re filling up the left column. His usage is down to just 17% compared to 23.1% last year. But his ARate has jumped to an outstanding 39%, translating to 6.3 dimes a night.
Time will tell
Spencer Dinwiddie – Few are going to question his talents. He’s great, but thus far he’s pretty much mimicked his output from last year. This is by no stretch a BAD thing but if he didn’t win POY last year, then having the same year would suggest he ain’t winning it this year.
– Similarly to Dinwiddie, Powell is producing the same numbers from last season. In this year of thinking differently
Dwight is playing the same aside from one key stat: Free throws. He’s shooting and making fewer of them (down to 57% FT from 80% last year) and the Cardinal have looked…mediocre?