Today I’ve decided to answer some of the many questions I receive via email and twitter in a series of posts that I’ll publish over the next 48 hours. The first topic comes from Scott in Arizona who asks who is the better point guard this season for North Carolina, Dexter Strickland or Marcus Paige?
In my eyes this is both a statistical and philosophical debate that just happen to contradict one another completely in my eyes. Strickland the senior has outperformed the freshman Paige and it’s really not that close. He shoots a higher percentage (43-28), he’s more dangerous in the open floor, he has more assists and less turnovers a staple for quality PGs is a good assist to turnover ratio.
Strickland is also vastly superior as a defender and you don’t have to worry about his skinny frame breaking down as the season goes on. I also firmly believe that UNC needs it’s other perimeter players namely PJ Hairston, Leslie McDonald and Reggie Bullock on the floor as much as possible in order to put up enough points to compete with the elite teams in the country.
All of those arguments say that Strickland should be the Heels PG while Paige grows as the future at the position in a redefined role as the backup. But my gut tells me that Roy Williams made the right decision when he decided to start the freshman and I think he should and will start him the rest of the season.
Paige is the only true PG on this roster (I’m not counting Luke Davis who might prove to be a decent backup but will never be capable of leading the Tar Heels) Strickland will not be around next season and Nate Britt isn’t having the type of season that inspires one to think he will be able to come in and be a viable candidate for the position as a freshman.
People point to Bobby Frasor over Ty Lawson or Larry Drew over Kendall Marshall but those situations aren’t the same as this one in both those cases the elder PG was an actual PG, something Roy has stated Strickland is not. College sports are about now and the future and Roy must develop his best option at the point now for the stretch run of this season and the future.
I trust what Roy sees in Paige, he called him a leader before he ever hit the floor at the college level. Strickland may be out playing Paige at the moment but I trust Roy’s vision and my vote goes to Marcus Paige.