January 28, 2010
And after Evan Turner's brutal back injury, who would have thought the Ohio State forward/point-guard-out-of-dire-necessity (and a future Scottie Pippen?) could get back into the Player of the Year race?
But, like Jeff Goodman wrote today, it's looking like it's going to come down to a coin flip with who takes home PotY. Let's compare stats! Could I get into the beauty of tempo-free statistics? Yeah, absolutely. But the voting public will make the choice based on the eyeball tests and the traditional numbers that have led to the player-of-the-year awards in the past.
Wall: 17.1 PPG; 6.6 assists; 3.7 rebounds; 2.1 steals. Shooting 38 percent from 3-point range and averaging nearly 34 minutes per game, more than anyone else on Kentucky's roster.
Turner: 18.4 PPG; 9.9 rebounds; 5.5 assists; 1.7 steals. Shooting 55 percent from the field.
The biggest argument in Turner's favor: Ohio State was a .500 team without him. With him? It is 12-3 and has wins over Purdue, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Cal and Florida State.
Each player is capable of taking the team and putting it on their back. Turner has literally done that, you could argue. Last night, he and Ohio State struggled against Iowa, yet he managed 16 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. To be honest, it's a joy to see Turner really get the pub he deserves after he wasn't on anyone's radar at the beginning of the new year.
Kentucky is the bigger national team, so Wall has an advantage there. Kentucky's also the better team. Will Turner be hindered because a few voters may go with the best-player-on-the-best-team approach? (I HATE this way of voting.)
So, the point guard or the point forward — who is more valuable in your eyes?
There are fringe candidates — Wesley Johnson (Syracuse), Scottie Reynolds (Villanova), Damion James (Texas), Jon Scheyer (Duke) — but as of now, these two are a cut above. Perhaps February will bring in a dark horse.
Below, I've prepared some viewing pleasure: A John Wall highlight package and a Big Ten Network feature on Turner's injury/return. No one has put the time in to make an Evan Turner 2009-10 highlight mix. Then again, Turner's game is much more softspoken when compared to the megaphone that Wall brings to the court.