Why Drew Timme will be the 2020-21 National Player Of The Year.
Let me start this off by saying that I’m not a Gonzaga fan so let’s get those 2 things out of the way first. I think Timme could have been an All-American with or without Petrusev, even more so now. Timme is far more skilled than Petrusev and I don’t think that’s crazy to say. They both were top-100 recruits but I don’t even really care about rankings but it’s worth mentioning. Just watching the two play to me it’s clear that he is better, just athletically. Petrusev is one of the least athletic, great college players I’ve seen in a while, he’s very slow. Timme has some great post moves to be able to get around guys to create separation. Timme isn’t really a stretch big man, he can expand a bit past the paint, not a ton but he can hit a bit outside of the paint. If he can add a three-point shot, he’s going to be on another level more so than he already is. He can definitely get beat defensively and then foul when he gets beat which is an issue, at some point in non-crucial situations you just have to realize that giving up points is more valuable to the team than giving fouls. While that’s tough to do for a guy that prides himself on playing hard, to keep yourself out of foul trouble it’s something you have to do occasionally. He just plays with a different tempo and energy than most guys and that’s something that benefits him greatly.
Timme’s minutes really varied throughout the entire season, he had some games in the 10-15 minute range and then four in the ’30s. In the game, he played the most minutes in a game against Loyola Marymount, he played 35 minutes in that game and he had 17 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and he went 8-9 from the field. He shot 62% from the field as a whole, he’s super-efficient at the rim which is something that is super important. I think Timme can definitely average 18-11-3, then add a block, steal a game. That’s better than Petrusev did last season and I think if you give Timme an extra 10-15 minutes per game from his last season stats, it’s right around what Petrusev did if not better.
Petrusev also had a far higher usage rate than Timme did. According to Bart Torvik’s metrics Petrusev had a 30% usage rate, compared to Timme’s 21%. Drew Timme being more efficient in less opportunities also. I do think there’s a chance for Timme to develop some sort of serviceable three-point shot. He has the body to be a stretch big definitely, I think that would make him just so much better than he already is. I also think defensively, he’ll come along and be better with the fouls. I think that’s an experience thing, he’s not a bad defender, he’s a decent defender for sure, that’s not the main prize of his game.
With other big men in the WCC, like BYU’s Matt Haarms, Pacific’s Nigel Shadd, Loyola Marymount’s Mattias Markusson, USF’s Josh Kunen, San Diego’s Yauhen Masaulski, Pepperdine’s Kessler Edwards, Saint Mary’s Mattias Tass, Portland’s Tahirou Diabate. All those guys are quality players, but most have similar skill-sets to that of Timme. Haarms can stretch it out and hit some three’s but not very consistent, Edwards is the only consistent three-point shooter on this list. You have a lot of 6’10+ guys in Tass, Haarms, Masaulski, and Diabate. As long as Timme can be able to play consistent defense on the block. While a lot of those guys aren’t stretch bigs, they are talented. Timme’s ORTG (Offensive Rating) according to BartTorvik.com, was tied for third among all Gonzaga players behind Killian Tillie who has graduated, and Corey Kispert. His 121.2 rating tied him with Ayayi. Petrusev’s ORTG was 114.6. So based on advanced offense metrics, Timme was the better offensively player than Petrusev by a solid margin, obviously a far lower usage rate for Timme but still.
To me, Gonzaga is by far the best team in the league. That helps Timme’s case I’m sure there’s plenty of guys that’ll have better stats than Timme, but if the team isn’t good they are really empty stats, maybe super high usage rate, equals high stats. When you’re on the best team in the country while having the best stats that also bodes well for a Player of the year case.
Obi Toppin vs Luka Garza 2019-20
Toppin: 20.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.2 APG ORTG 123.2 26.2 USG Rate
Garza: 23.9 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 1.8 BPG, 116.1 ORTG, 33.1 USG Rate.
While Iowa was good, they were up-and-down, Likely a 5-6 seed in the tournament. Dayton lost twice and was a Top-5 team, clearly team success is valued super highly.
Now let’s look at each of the last 10 NPOTY’s
2010: Evan Turner Ohio State, #2 Seed, lost in Sweet Sixteen.
2011: Jimmer Fredette BYU 3 Seed, lost in Sweet Sixteen
2012: Anthony Davis Kentucky 1 Seed, National Championship.
2013: Trey Burke Michigan 4 Seed, lost in National Championship.
2014: Doug McDermott Creighton 3 Seed, lost in Round of 32
2015: Frank Kaminsky Wisconsin 1 Seed, Lost in National Championship
2016: Buddy Hield Oklahoma 2 Seed, lost in Final Four.
2017: Frank Mason III Kansas 1 Seed, lost in Elite Eight.
2018: Jalen Brunson Villanova 1 Seed, National Champions.
2019: Zion Williamson Duke 1 Seed, lost in Elite Eight.
2020: Obi Toppin Dayton, finished season Top-5 in the AP Poll
Notice a trend? Successful teams even if you have slightly worse stats will help you get the National Player of the Year award, it’s just how it is. I think we can all agree that Gonzaga is at the very least a top-3 team.
Then another argument people use for Timme not being a candidate is “Gonzaga has so much” very true, that only helps Timme. When you have a guy on the wing, such as Kispert, two elite guards like Suggs and Ayayi, it’s impossible to double-team Timme. You can’t double someone if you can leave an elite shooter wide-open. I also think Timme is a good passer, not Przemek Karnowski level, but maybe eventually.
Gonzaga will be led by the 6-10 Sophomore, who’s a legitimate Player of the Year candidate and is my prediction to win the award.