Better PG: Burke or Carter-Williams?

April, 4, 2013
4/04/13
2:39
PM ET
It's rare that we get to see an elite point guard matchup in the Final Four like we'll see when Michigan's Trey Burke and Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams meet on Saturday.

This will be just the second time since assists became an official stat in 1983-84 that two players who averaged at least 12 points and six assists per game for the season will meet in the Final Four.

The other meeting was North Carolina's Raymond Felton against Illinois' Deron Williams in the 2005 national championship.

Offense

Carter-Williams ranks third in the country in assists per game this season, while Burke is 12th. Both account for about 40 percent of their teammates’ field goals while they’re on the court.

Although Carter-Williams averages more assists, Burke has the edge in most other offensive categories. Burke averages more points per game, shoots a higher field-goal and 3-point percentage and turns the ball over less often.

Burke also has the higher offensive rating (an estimate of points produced per 100 possessions) this season. Burke produces about 124 points per 100 possessions, while Carter-Williams produces 106.

Pick-and-Roll

Burke excels in the pick-and-roll. He averages more than one point per play on pick-and-roll plays including passes. More than a third (237 of 696) of his points are from pick-and-roll plays and he's shooting 44 percent on those plays.

Plus, Burke has created 251 points for teammates on pick-and-roll plays. Fifty-five percent of his pick-and-roll passes go to spot-up shooters (his teammates shoot 43 percent on those attempts), 35 percent go to players rolling to the basket, and 10 percent go to cutters.

What's more, Burke's teammates are shooting 49 percent and averaging 1.1 points per play when he passes them the ball on pick-and-roll plays.

Contrary to Burke, only 15 percent of Carter-Williams' points (70 of 472) come from pick-and-roll plays. Carter-Williams averages just 0.6 points per play when he creates plays for himself on pick-and-rolls, and he shoots 37 percent on those plays.

Defense

Carter-Williams has the edge defensively. He averages nearly three steals per game and has a better defensive rating. He also allows just 87 points per 100 possessions, the second-best defensive rating among Power 6 point guards (only Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart is better).

Burke and Carter-Williams are both solid on-ball defenders. Burke holds opponents to 36 percent shooting and 0.75 points per play in on the ball situations, while Carter-Williams holds opponents to 32 percent shooting and 0.79 points per play.

So who is the more valuable point guard overall? For that we turn to win shares and player efficiency rating. Win shares are an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player due to his offense and defense. Player efficiency rating is the overall rating of a player's per-minute statistical production.

The answer is Burke. He has the edge in win shares and player efficiency rating this season.

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