Thursday, March 1, 2007


With only 8 games left in the ACC's regular season, it's time to start seriously talking about All-ACC teams. There's general consensus out there that the ACC Player of the Year is going to be one of six players: Zabian Dowdell, Jared Dudley, Tyler Hansbrough, J.R. Reynolds, Al Thornton, or Sean Singletary. PAPER agrees with five of those six, but sees Josh McRoberts as more valuable than Hansbrough.

How can that be, though? Hansbrough is the 5th-leading scorer and 3rd-leading rebounder in ACC play, and has been just about exactly what everybody thought he would be in his sophomore season. McRoberts, on the other hand, has been labeled a disappointment after being a preseason All-ACC choice. Is the conventional wisdom--gasp!--wrong?

Well, yeah. Offensively, neither player has actually been all that impressive. Yeah, Hansbrough pours in the points, but he's barely above average on the boards, he turns the ball over more often than he ought to, and he's a lousy passer, even for a big man. McRoberts' advantages in range, field goal percentage, and setup rate are offset by an even greater tendency to turn the ball over and his below-average offensive rebounding.

But offense isn't the difference between these two. The fact is, Hansbrough, on paper at least, is only a slightly above-average defensive player, while McRoberts has been the best defensive player in the league by a huge margin. Most of that difference is due to the fact that Hansbrough is the worst net shot blocker in the league (net blocks being the difference between expected block rate and actual block rate). When you're 6'9" and 245 pounds, you've got to have more than 8 blocks in the season. Throw in that Tyler's also worse than average at forcing turnovers, and the only thing that's keeping him from being below league average is his high rebound rate.

None of this is to say that Tyler Hansbrough isn't a good player. He is. This year, though, he hasn't been an elite player.

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