While the No. 1 team keeps changing, Michigan’s Trey Burke remains easily the No. 1 Value Add Player. Otto Porter’s gritty defense that has helped hold opponents to 54 points a game during Georgetown’s 6-game winning streak moved up the fastest, and was only denied the Top 10 by Nate Wolters (pictured) scoring 53 points to take the No. 10 spot.
Small school fans my question how South Dakota’s Wolters is not further ahead of Porter when he puts up so many more points. Value Add adjusts for how hard it is to score points (Wolters faces much weaker defenses Porter does and the Jackrabbits play at a much faster pace to allow more shots).
Porter’s ability to grind out between 17 and 21 points in five of the last six games while holding opponents to 54 points means he is scoring one-third of the points needed to win against ranked teams like Louisville and Marquette and other Big East foes. When you ad in his 12 rebounds against Louisville and 14 against Rutgers, two steals a game and assists in every game he has had a more valuable stretch than even Wolters.
However, for fans who do not give any credit to lower D1 players, Wolters on the whole this year has been almost precisely as valuable as Porter. IUPU Fort Wayne and Oakland have much weaker defenses than Porter sees and play at a faster pace, but it is still ridiculous for Wolters to put up 53 points while missing only 11 shots and then come back with 36 points while missing only eight shots in those games. He also continues to be one of the top assist men in the country, and had no problem putting up very big numbers when visiting two very tough defenses in Alabama and New Mexico (30 points in a 67-70 loss and 28 points in a 70-65 upset).
While the top eight players are from power conferences, Bucknell’s Mike Muscala comes in at No. 9 to join Wolters and give low major schools two of the top 10 players in the country even after adjusting for level of competition.
Muscala, a 6-foot-11 center, actually dropped from No. 5 this week after a very poor 3 of 12 shooting game that almost cost Buckness a win against a weak Army team (60-58 win). However, over the course of the year, Muscala has shown he can dominate even tougher foes, including a 25 point, 14 rebound performance in a narrow 66-64 loss at Missouri.
Value Add puts Muscala and Wolters on par with players from Power Conferences to calculate how valuable they would be playing at that level – and so far they deserve to sneak onto the 2nd team All-American squad, but players like Porter are challenging to take their place.