We are officially halfway through the Big East Season and like all near-sighted fans, we have decided to award a mid-season MVP to one deserving player. I know there will be uproar from the masses about this being too soon and that it doesn't mean anything, all of which I whole-heartedly agree with, but in reality this just serves as a reminder of how far this team has come to date, and how the Big Three of Greg Monroe, Chris Wright and Austin Freeman are defying everyone's expectations.
Georgetown is ranked #7 in the country, looking at a possible 2-seed and went 3-2 in a three-week span in games vs. UConn, @Pitt, @Nova, @Cuse and vs. Duke. In my book, they are all winners. And so are you.
This is also our first collaborative effort with the wizards over at Hoya Prospectus, Those guys do stuff with numbers that I'm pretty sure is illegal in a couple of states. Here is how they answered the question.
"This Big 3 is really a Big 3. There's no clear cut MVP. You could pick any and I'd be okay with it.
So I'm going to have to go all subjective on you. Each has their own "intangible" -- Greg is the player you game plan for and the center of the defense; Austin is the efficient killer who may have saved the season with his incredible second half against Connecticut.
Wright has created our fast break out of nothing; he is a one man press break; and he can most often be seen directing traffic on offense and defense.
He's also my mid-season MVP."
(More thoughts after "The Jump")
Every fan, analyst, boss and Cuse Delinquent knows that the key player for Georgetown is Greg Monroe. He is the center (literally) of the offense and the defensive stalwart in the middle. He is also the most highly rated player on the team, which really means nothing to me after seeing Vernon Macklin play. Without Greg Monroe, this team cannot win, which we see every time he gets in foul trouble. The problem that plagues Monroe, as Chad Ford pointed out, is consistency. He can score 8 points one game and then 29 points the next. He can swish a free throw and then AIR BALL the next one. He can go two games without attempting a three and then take and miss two the next game - that has nothing to do with consistency but I felt the need to state it anyway. Greg is the key to the Georgetown team, but he is not the mid-season MVP.
Chris is the most explosive player on the court. He can change the momentum of a game in a matter of seconds. His production is the most telling to our success as we are 15-0 when he scores in double figures, and 1-4 when he doesn't. In our 4 losses, he's shot less than 30% from the field and averaged 3 fouls. Chris can be erratic, however, thus receiving the nickname "The Wrecking Ball". Sometimes he is too fast for his own good and ends up hitting the bottom of the rim on athletic but disruptive layup attempts. He also often tries to take over the game in the closing seconds, like the ill-advised three pointer in the final minutes of the game at Nova. When Chris has a good game, Georgetown has a good game. Chris is the bell-weather of the team but he is not the mid-season MVP.
Austin has been consistent in every game we have played. He is our leading scorer, our best free throw shooter, our best three point shooter, and the de facto leader of the team. Since the Butler game, when our season kicked into high gear, he is averaging 18.3 points per game, shooting over 50% from the field and 3 point line, and shooting over 85% from the free throw line. His marked improvement and work over the summer is evident and set the tone for the team's drastic improvement this year. Austin also saved our season with his 33 point performance in the UConn game, which put to bed last year's issues, gave this team confidence, and jumpstarted our strong Big East performance. If the team did not have Austin, they could probably managed some victories. But Austin's consistent performances allows the rest of the team to have off days. It allows Greg to get in foul trouble and have a poor shooting night. It allows Chris to take those layups he often doesn't convert, because he knows Austin can carry the team on his back when push comes to shove. Austin is the mid-season MVP.
If you look at current "Big Three" teams in the NBA, you can better understand how we decided Austin has been Georgetown's MVP. The best comparable is the Los Angeles Lakers. If Georgetown were the Lakers, Chris is Pau Gasol. Any Laker fan will tell you, with Pau's performance so go the Lakers. Greg is Lamar Odom, the primary distributor and guy who sets up the triangle offense. Austin is Kobe Bryant, he is the most consistent performer, night in and night out you know you are getting 100% from him. Kobe is also the MVP of the Lakers, even though it is harder to tell if the Lakers win or lose based on his performance. He consistently performs at such a high level, just like Austin does for Georgetown. Things can certainly change in the next nine games of the season, but the consistent performance of all three players is required for this team to make a dent come March.