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Should Tyler Hansbrough Be Player of the Year?

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John Gasaway makes the case that he shouldn't, boiling it down to:

The Player of the Year award rightly belongs to the player who's as good as Hansbrough on offense, but vastly superior to Hansbrough on defense. It rightly belongs to Kevin Love.

based on the fact that Love gets more defensive rebounds per possession, and that Hansbrough doesn't block as many shots. Some of that is refutable - Gasaway leaves out Hansbrough's twice as many steals, or his increased facility in getting to the line, for instance - so thaat pretty much leaves defensive rebounding as the deciding factor between the two players vying for a whole bunch of trophies.

A month or so ago, my similarly-acronymed fellow blogger T.B. at Bring on the Cats e-mailed me suggesting we write point-counterpoint articles on whether Hansbrough or Michael Beasley should be Player of the Year. I had to decline, becuase when it came right down to it, I didn't have much to write. Hansbrough puts up great numbers, and is the leader of a championship-contendin team; Beasley puts up better numbers for a quickly fading team. Anything i wrote would boil down to "Hansbrough is just better. Q.E.D." This would not make for a particulary insightful post.

The same thing goes for Hansbrough v. Love. Is Love's defensive rebounding a product of superior abilities or the fact only one of the other five UCLA players starting can pull down more rebounds than Wayne Ellington? How do you quantify opponent's defensive focus, your own team's offensive strategy, or the effect of tempo on play? (You can control for tempo after all, but not for the type of play that tempo dictates, after all.)

It's situations like these when I'm willing to default to the various voters of the entirely too many awards. Let's be honest, if there's one thing Kevin Love has not suffered this season, it's the burden of anonymity. I can't throw a rock without hearing a talking head rave about the guy, and as a result I throw a lot of rocks. If we're lucky, we'll see Hansbrough and Love go head-to-head some time in March. Until then I'm more than happy to see an excellent player get recognized.