Bilas: Drew should be Pac-12 POY

Looks like ESPN College GameDay was memorable for Jay Bilas. The network’s analyst, who was in town last Saturday for UCLA’s win over Arizona, has pegged Bruin point guard Larry Drew II as his choice for Pac-12 Player of the Year.

His full comments, which start at 1:39 in the above video:

This may be a surprise, but UCLA has really come on late in the season. I think Larry Drew II, their point guard, who averaged close to eight assists per game, led the conference in assists, I think he’s the player of the year in that league. He really stabilized that team from the point guard position and led them all season long. Did a really good job on the defensive end, but with his assists, his steals and his leadership ability, go with Larry Drew as the Pac-12 Player of the Year.

As good as Drew has been over the past few weeks, it’s hard to forget his poor shooting through most of the season. He’s on his way to UCLA’s single-season assists record, but the league’s best point guard on the season is ASU freshman Jahii Carson — who averages 17.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game. Earlier this season. UCLA coach Ben Howland compared Carson to former Washington guard Isaiah Thomas.

Conference-leading scorer Allen Crabbe is likely still the favorite for Player of the Year. The Cal guard has cooled off lately with single figures in two of his last three games, but is the most important player on the league’s hottest team. ESPN’s Jason King has Crabbe as his Pac-12 POY, Shabazz Muhammad as his Freshman of the Year, and Drew as his most improved player.

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  • MCB

    “As good as Drew has been over the past few weeks, it’s hard to forget his poor shooting through most of the season.”

    LD II is shooting 44.4% on the season and 42.3% from 3 point range. That is not “poor shooting.” Perhaps you mean to say that he hasn’t been shooting often enough?

    • http://twitter.com/thejackwang Jack Wang

      Before February, he was 41.5% from the field and 30.3% from 3-point range. Not awful, but teams were consistently sagging off. Maybe “inconsistent” would have been a better word than “poor.”

      • MCB

        Every shooter is inconsistent because there is a great degree of chance involved in shooting. In Jahii Carson’s 9 worst games he shot the ball a total of 101 times (or 11.2 per game) and averaged 33.48%. In LD II’s 9 worst games he shot the ball a total of 39 times (or 4.3 per game) and averaged 26.35%. What stands out is how many fewer shots LDII in games where he shot poorly (his two worst games are games where he shot 5 times combined and made none).

        The difference in shooting percent isn’t that huge, particularly when you factor in that you would expect the shooting percentage to vary more from game to game for a player who shoots fewer shots. That’s because chance will have a greater impact on a smaller sample size. Indeed, LD II’s two highest percent shooting games are also both higher than Carson’s two highest. That is precisely what you would expect: more variance from the player shooting fewer shots.

        Incidentally “inconsistent” shooter appears to me to be likely to be as much of a bunk notion of sports writing mythology as the notion of the “hot hand.” When a player is–say–a 40% 3 point shooter, you expect them to have games and series of games where they shoot below that, and series where they shoot above that because of chance (again more so the smaller your sample size). People, desperate as always to find patterns in what is largely random, like to classify these things as “inconsistency” or “going cold” or “having a hot hand.” Generally actual statistical analysis does not confirm these cliches. Cornell did a study on the “hot hand” effect and found that a player is LESS likely to make their next 3 point shot after having made a 3 pointer.

        Teams have been sagging off LD II because he hasn’t been shooting the ball much at all. That’s the real statistical difference between him and Carson. Picking the data from “the beginning of the season” or the middle, or the end, or the five worst games, or games on days beginning with the letter T, or whatever is not really especially relevant when evaluating players because chance has a big impact on shooting, particularly for a low volume scorer.

        I think Carson probably does deserve Pac 10 POY honors over LD II, but not because LD II has been “inconsistent.” He deserves it because he has been a much better scorer overall.

    • Bigwoof1

      And, if I recall correctly, he hit the game winning shot 3 times, has been at or near the top of the country in assist/turnover ratio, and is about to set an all time UCLA single season assist record.
      I’ve been very pleasantly surprised and pleased with Drew’s play and leadership all year – Bilas’ position has considerable merit.