Now that the insanity that was called Pac-12 conference play has commenced, it is time to take a look at which player deserves to win the Pac-12 Player of the Year Award. Below are the candidates.
G Devoe Joseph
F Andre Roberson
F Brock Motum
G Terrence Ross
G Jorge Gutierrez
Conference Player of the Year: Andre Roberson
Yeah, that was the hammer. Andre Roberson is easily the best defensive player in the Pac-12, and he blocks nearly everything in sight . He was worth the most defensive win shares in the conference and was third in overall win shares and in PER. Without him, the Colorado Buffaloes would have been a 14-16 team instead of 19-11 and would have never been in the discussion for an NCAA Tournament bid at any part in the season. In fact, it is safe to say that the Buffaloes would have been a below-average team stuck in the bottom half of the conference without their defensive star.
On to the raw numbers. Roberson led the Pac-12 conference with 1.9 blocks per game and 11.2 rebounds per game, and he was easily the leader in defensive and total rebounding rate. Andre Roberson is a menacing interior presence who can intimidate anyone driving or posting up on him. Nobody wants to get packed, but that’s exactly what Roberson does with a 7.1 block percentage.
The forward is also apt at stealing the ball, and he has a 2.3 steal percentage to go with his 1.9 blocks per game. He allows just .855 points per possession, which is tops in the league, and he is the reason for his defense’s success. The Buffaloes have some decent defensive players, but it is Roberson who makes this squad one of the better defensive teams in the country.
It goes beyond defense, because Andre Roberson has a 54.1 TS% and averages 1.10 points per possession, which means that he outscores his opponent by about 24 points during every 100 possessions. Roberson is one of the top 20 players in the nation on defense, and he checks in at 19th in terms of points allowed per possession.
Moreover, Andre Roberson is the man who keeps his team ticking. With a 24.8 PER that is one of the highest totals in the conference, Roberson is more than a defensive machine who has some nice advanced statistics; he is the reason why this team was getting some tournament discussion. Without the shutdown forward, Colorado would have had a losing conference record and would be at the Oregon State Beavers level. They won’t make the NCAA Tournament, but they have Andre Roberson, his stifling defense, and his solid offensive production to thank for getting this far. For what he does for this team, Roberson is the Pac-12 Player of the Year.
It is extremely difficult to pick one candidate with guys like Terrence Ross, and especially, Devoe Joseph on the ballot. However, it is all about helping your team win, and Roberson accounted for about 26.3% of the team’s wins. Joseph? If we adjust for 30 games, it is still only 20.9%. Motum? 32.7%, but those numbers are skewed because his team was poor. That may seem like a crutch argument, but Win% only works for players on good teams. Motum and Joseph had great seasons and are right up there, but Roberson is the Player of the Year for his D and importance to the team. It is almost a matter of choice, because all the candidates are so close. However, Andre Roberson provided the most value and should be rewarded accordingly.
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