Player of the Week (Feb 13-20)
[player: Jaylen Brown] – California
While Brown had a fairly good week, this is a team award for me. With a huge road win against Washington, the Golden Bears are suddenly just a game back from Oregon and Arizona for first place in the Pac-12. With [player: Tyrone Wallace] still working himself back to full strength, Brown has been looked to for much of the California offense. Brown had a great game against the Huskies, scoring 23 points with five boards a block and two steals all with 7 of 13 shooting. This is the Brown that everyone expected coming out of High School. The freshman was efficient, got to the free throw line, and was even pretty good on defense. In California’s other win during the week, Brown had 15 points and also chipped in eight boards and three assists. Brown had seven turnovers this week, but it’s okay, especially when Brown is aggressive and attacking the rim. California is right back into this race, especially with a visit to Arizona looming late in the season.
[player: Allonzo Trier] – Arizona
Trier finally seems back to full speed. The freshman and the Wildcats had a great week, winning three games and gaining ground on Oregon. Trier didn’t necessarily shoot well, but shooting percentage isn’t always the story. The Wildcat guard attacked the rim with gusto, shooting 26 free throws in the three games, nailing 22 of them. Trier knows how to score and its refreshing to watch. When Trier doesn’t have it going from three-point land, he makes a consistent effort to get to the free throw line. Knowing how to get easy buckets as a freshman is so incredibly important and one of the big reasons why Trier is one of the Wildcat’s most consistent performers. Arizona now stands even with Oregon for the Pac-12 lead. Nobody outside of Tucson can be happy about that.
[player: Jakob Poeltl] – Utah
Okay guys here me out. I tried really hard to keep Poeltl off the list this week, trust me I really did! I’m sure everyone is tired of hearing how amazing the sophomore forward is but it will have to last one more week. Poeltl was a beast once again, dropping 25 and 10 against Washington St. all within 25 minutes. The freshman was okay against UCLA, racking up 15 and 11 while adding a block and a steal apiece. If there was one thing you could take from the performance of the freshman this week, it would be the lack of fouling. Poeltl only had two fouls both games, allowing him to play a whopping 37 minutes against UCLA. The NBA certainly beckons, and Poeltl seems to be improving with every single week.
[player: Bennie Boatwright] – USC
The Trojans had a rough week. With Oregon losing to Stanford, it was the perfect opportunity for USC to gain ground on the Ducks, yet they lost to Arizona St. To make matters worst, the Trojans couldn’t defeat Arizona and barely squeaked by Colorado. Boatwright struggled the most for the Trojans this week. The freshman forward only played 14 minutes against Arizona St. and was pretty much nonexistent. Boatwright scored zero points had only one rebound coupled with two turnovers. The freshman topped it all off by fouling every time he was on the court, he eventually fouled out. Boatwright was okay against Arizona, but he still struggled with foul trouble. The problem with Boatwright is the immense potential he can show night to night. The freshman can cross up a guard step-back and nail a three, astounding pretty much everyone in the gym. Yet, he terrible nights like the one against Arizona St. I think the freshman is trying to do too much. Clearly, USC is a very good team, but [player: Julian Jacobs] and [player:Jordan McLaughlin] dominate the ball night to night. Boatwright should run the floor, try to move his feet on defense and score when needed. If the freshman plays within himself, you will see more brilliant performances from him soon enough. The NBA trade deadline was a massive dud this year. Seriously, it was. Last year I shuffled some players around in the Pac-12 and had a blast so lets just do that again this year. Without further ado, here are my top 5 Pac-12 fake trades.
Top 5 Pac-12 Fake Trades that would benefit both teams
5. [player: Isaac Hamilton] – UCLA for [player: Gabe York] – Arizona
Okay hear me out, this might be a bit controversial, but I seriously think this makes Arizona better. The Wildcat are missing a guy that can play on the perimeter and cover somebody that is at least 6 foot 6. Hamilton is a great three point shooter, and would thrive in Arizona’s offense. While the Wildcats would have to lose York, they would have more than enough firepower to recover from it. In all honesty, York isn’t a true point guard, he’s and undersized shooting guard on a roster with Allonzo Trier. For UCLA, the sheer comedy of playing York and [player: Bryce Alford] at the same time makes this worth it. In all seriousness, this would be a move that could set the Wildcats apart and possible give the Bruins the best scoring backcourt in the Pac-12.
4. [player: Andrew Andrews] – Washington for [player: Tyler Dorsey] – Oregon
It’s no secret that Dorsey has struggled lately, but I think this is a deal that can help both teams once again. Sorry Huskie fans, but Washington isn’t winning the NCAA tournament this year. However, they are extremely young with an incredibly bright future in front of them. The one piece that doesn’t exactly fit? That would be Andrews. Oregon has been great, but I still don’t see them surprising people in the NCAA tournament. Andrews would give the Ducks some much needed backcourt experience and a three point shooter. I honestly think that if Andrews was on a team with more offensive firepower, he would shoot better shots and become more efficient. Andrews would give Oregon threats all over the court. In Dorsey for the Huskies, Washington as a backcourt with tremendous potential for the next two years. Both Dorsey and [player: Dejounte Murray] can run an offense and become long, annoying duo on defense as well. Washington builds for the future, Oregon goes all in this year.
3. [player: Gary Payton II] – Oregon St. for [player: Dominique Collier] and [player: George King] –
Simply put, Colorado goes all in, and Oregon St. reloads. This one is pretty quick for me. [player: Josh Scott] still needs a running mate, and Payton II would definitely be his guy. I can only imagine how devastating their pick and rolls would be. Not only would you have enough shooting around Scott and Payton II (Colorado has enough left) both could be driving to the rim with incredible force. Payton II will probably improve Colorado’s defense as well. While it does hurt the Buffaloes’ depth, I think the trade would be worth it. For the Beavers, it would allow Payton II to contend and both Collier and King are sophomores expected to return next year. If the Beavers find a point guard, that team would be dangerous next season, especially with some more three-point shooting.
2. Tony Parker – UCLA for [player: Jabari Bird] – California
This doesn’t make much sense on the outside, but you have to look closer into both team’s problems. Parker has clearly fallen out of the good graces of coach Steve Alford, but California desperately needs a backup for [player: Ivan Rabb]. The team straight up falls apart without him, and Parker, if focused, could definitely fill that void. Rabb and Parker could also play together, with Rabb cleaning up all of Parker’s mistakes on defense. While California gives up some scoring, they have enough left on the team to deal with Bird leaving on offense. For UCLA, Bird can immediately replace Hamilton (in my alternate universe) and Parker is barely playing anyway, so they do not miss much from him. Bird gives Alford another three point shooter and some flexibility to go small and play Bird at the four.
1. [player: Jakob Poeltl] – Utah for [player: Elijah Stewart] and [player: Nikola Jovanovic] – USC
This is by far my favorite fake trade. USC immediately improves this year and will finally be able to protect the rim. Utah gets some much needed depth and offensive firepower. While Jovanovic doesn’t come close to Poeltl defensively, his offense is polished enough where it wouldn’t be a colossal drop off. Utah would never make this trade as Poeltl is their anchor, but they would gain a solid center to replace him and a much needed three point threat in Stewart. The main problem in this trade is the depth that USC loses. Stewart has been incredible as a sixth man but I think Poeltl and his defense would be worth it. The sophomore will have even more room to work with on offense with both McLaughlin and Jacobs running the show and he will be able to run the floor with them as well. I seriously think USC would be able to contend for a final four spot with Poeltl in its starting lineup, but alas, one cannot make trades in college basketball.