Comparing Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor to Other College BasketballDuos

Last week Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn discussed the balance of the respective contending teams in his weekly power rankings. He found, as you can imagine, that Kansas had the least balance of any team in the country when taking into account both the starting five as well as the top six players. That group is obviously dominated by the play of Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor, who might have been the best duo in the country thus far.

But are they the best? Let's take a look at some other duos from other good teams. First, a couple ground rules:

1. I only looked at teams in the top 20 in the KenPom rankings here, under the assumption that if the duo isn't good enough to get a team into the top 20 in KenPom they probably aren't the best duo in the country.

2. With an exception, this mainly looks only at recognizable (or semi-recognizable) duos.

The Duos are:

1. Kansas (Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor)

2. Ohio State (Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft)

3. Kentucky (MKG, Anthony Davis)

4. North Carolina (Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller)

5. Baylor (Pierre Jackson, PJ3)

The chart: (possessions used, or in layman's terms how involved in the offense a player is, is the x-axis, and offensive rating, basically how effective a player is on offense, is the y-axis):

Duochart_medium

A couple notes:

  • Kentucky's main strength is definitely their depth, as MKG and Davis have been really good this year, but what makes it even better is that they have Terrence Jones, Marquis Teague, etc. to make up for it.
  • This obviously doesn't take defense into account. Overall MKG and Davis are the best defensive duo, with MKG being a great perimeter defender and Davis the third best shot blocker in the country. Tyshawn is a very good perimeter defender as well, and Robinson is the best defensive rebounder in the country. And Craft has been his usual self on the perimeter and Sullinger is a great defensive rebounder as well.
  • Because the usage rates are so varied, it's unclear who the "best" duo is, but there's no doubt that the duo in Lawrence are most important to their team's success. And there's probably no duo I'd take over them either.
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