Aaron Craft’s defensive abilities are highly regarded throughout college hoops. Ohio State’s sophomore is a great on-ball defender with great hands and is tenacious in his approach. Heck, Luke Winn watched every one of his possessions this season to track how often he creates turnovers (7.54 percent of opponents’ possessions)!
It’s no coincidence that the 6-foot Craft was named Big Ten defensive player of the year.
But was he really the best?
Forgetting for a moment that one’s defensive reputation is largely earned on effort and general perception – Craft earned his rep last season and it only seemed to grow this year – let’s turn to Josh Reed from the Big Ten Geeks, who compared Craft to other Big Ten standouts using a couple of different standards.
Craft’s Stops/40 minutes not only trailed the league’s best players (Draymond Green, Robbie Hummel and Jared Sullinger), but was behind other guards such as Victor Oladipo, William Buford and Brandon Paul. (Reed notes that Stops doesn’t measure charges drawn, shutting down drives with help defense, and causing turnovers that don’t materialize as a steal, all things Winn tries to account.)
Also, Craft’s foul rate is pretty high. Now, is he often guarding the best players? Probably. And he’s trying to create turnovers, not simply play defense.
No wonder there’s always a debate about the best defensive players.
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.