There are a lot of pictures to choose from when you Google “Anthony Davis Player of the Year.”
You’d figure that pre-season anticipation, or even future draft stock, would guarantee Nerlens Noel a spot on any “Player of the Year” list, but you’d be wrong. Even though Noel is averaging 11.7 points, 8 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 3.3 steals, the staff at CBS didn’t think he merited a spot in their top ten for the 2012-13 season.
The list admittedly allows for certain… “stretches” in the selection process. For example, it says that Aaron Craft (#5) “can’t solely be judged by numbers. He’s relentless and changes the tone of the game on the defensive end.” Sounds a lot like Mr. Noel, but hey, surely it’s just an oversight. They even give Cody Zeller the benefit of the doubt because he’s “still not a finished product.”
At the top of the list is Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart, a freshman that’s making life easy for Travis Ford. He’s averaging nearly 15/8/5, and is the “consummate winner and intangibles guy.” We’ll assume they mean after Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
There’s little doubt that Nerlens has the ability to put himself on the list throughout the remainder of the season. Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin have a very solid chance as well. Heck, even Kyle Wiltjer and Willie Cauley-Stein can get some PoY attention if they keep improving the way they have been. Currently, though, the list is made up of the Mason Plumlees and James Michael McAdoos of the world. Which is just a shame.
Zeller is still likely the favorite to win, despite his relatively cold start to the season. Cody should probably hope that Noel doesn’t figure this whole college thing out (which he will), or he could end up being the next Thomas Robinson: would have been the best is not for the guy from Kentucky. There are still a lot of games to be played, and Lafayette notwithstanding, Kentucky’s played one of the tougher season-opening schedules. Pile on the cupcakes in the next few weeks, and Noel should be able to pad his stats, and improve his game, going into serious competition.
Also, Zeller still looks like this:
And his nickname is “Big Handsome.” Either Indiana fans finally learned sarcasm, or they really do celebrate mediocrity.