Grant, Okafor, Kaminsky Top Offensive Players, But Defense Rules All-American List

If you could choose the most unstoppable offensive line-up from any of the 4,163 current players in the www.valueaddbasketball.com database, you would want Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant dishing the ball inside to Duke’s Jahlil Okafor and Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky. However, none of the current “All-Offense” team would make the “All-American” team when you compare the top five offensive, defensive and overall players below:

Offense Defense Overall
PG Jerian Grant, ND, 8.33 Briante Weber, VCU, -5.18 Delon Wright, Ut, 12.19
SG Tyler Harvey, E Wash, 8.35 Gary Payton, Or St., -5.47 Gary Payton, Or St., 10.03
SF Tyler Haws, BYU, 7.07 Wesley Saunders, Har, -4.2 Wesley Saunders, Har, 8.91
PF Jahlil Okafor, Duke, 6.18 Karl-Anthony Towns, Ky, -5.19 Karl-Anthony Towns, Ky, 8.76
C Frank Kaminsky, Wi, 6.52 Willie Cauley-Stein, Ky, -7.26 Willie Cauley-Stein, Ky, 11.25

Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET I will be on the podcast with Reid Forgrave, senior basketball writer at www.foxsports.com, to discuss the updated ratings.

Fans tend to focus on offense, and many would probably agree with Grant (the Irish score 8.33 more points per game with him than they would with a replacement), Okafor, and Kaminsky as All-Americans. While the other two “All-Offensive” players are not in Power Conferences, both have averaged even more points against opponents in the top 60 at www.kenpom.com.

Tyler Harvey is worth 8.35 additional points per game to Eastern Washington’s offense, nudging Grant for tops in the country even adjusted for opponents. He has actually averaged more points per game (23.3) against his three top-60 opponents (SMU, Washington, and the upset of Indiana). Haws has done the same with 23.6 points per game against San Diego State, Utah, Stanford, Gonzaga, and St. Mary’s. Overall, the two trail only Incarnate Word’s Denzell Livingston, who has taken about one more shot (16) and committed almost one more turnover (3) per game than Harvey and Hawes to rate just inside the top-300 offensive players overall.

Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein has been the top defensive player in the country, holding opponents 7.26 points per game below what they would likely score if he were replaced by an average backup (not that anyone at Kentucky is actually replaced by an average backup). Gary Payton Jr. is following in his father’s footsteps as the best backcourt defender in the land–erasing 5.47 points a game away from opponents. If VCU’s Briante Weber keeps up his ridiculous 4-steal a game pace, he would shatter all-time career steals record this season (see wiki leaders here) on February 11 against La Salle, with seven regular season games left on the schedule. The two top defensive forwards–Wesley Saunders of Harvard and Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky–join Payton and Cauley-Stein as both the best defensive players and the best overall players at their positions–so defense rules.

The only All-American who is not quite on the All-Defensive team is the Value Add Player of the Year to date, Delon Wright of Utah. Wright’s +7.42 Offensive Value Add is within a point a game of Grant, and his -4.22 Defensive Value Add is within a point of Weber. Put them together and make the adjustment for position (+0.55 for all point guards) and Wright is the top overall player in the country at 12.19– meaning a game that Utah would likely lose 59-60 without him would be turned into a 66-56 win with Wright on the floor.

 


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