Top-5 Wings in the Country and Recapping the Providence/Xavier Game


A lot of people wanted to chime in on the top-5 point guards list, so why not extend it. It’s a somewhat slow night of games in terms of ‘must-watch TV’ so let’s look what’s been going on so far around the country.

This time we’ll take a look at the top five wings in the country. With the way basketball has progressed recently, there’s no such thing as five positions on the court anymore. The difference between a shooting guard and small forward is negligible and frankly the same thing now. There are three true positions in hoops these days – point guard, wing and post. You can convince me of a fourth position being the stretch four/five guys – ones like Ben Simmons, Georges Niang, Kyle Wiltjer type.

So, we’ll take a look at the guys who play those wing spots, often the most versatile on the floor. This is also by far the deepest and most talented group in the country. Just like yesterday, feel free to let me know your top-5 on Twitter @barstoolreags.

Just missed the cut: Danuel House, DeAndre Bembry, Kyle Collinsworth, Gary Payton II, Grayson Allen

  1. Malcolm Brogdon – Virginia, 17.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 23.3 PER

There’s no doubt Malcolm Brogdon would put up bigger numbers if he played in a faster tempo offense, but he’s still a dominant player for Virginia. He can beat people off the dribble and finish at the rim with authority. He’s absolutely the go-to guy for the Cavaliers as he’s scored 20 or more in four of the last five games. On top of that he’s a helluva defender, that uses his longer arms to annoy ball handlers. His 3-point shooting could see a bump as he’s just at 38 percent on over 5 attempts a game.

  1. Josh Hart – Villanova, 15.6 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 24.6 PER

If Kris Dunn wasn’t Kris Dunn, you’d be looking at the Big East Player of the Year. Moving from the 6th man to a starting spot has only made Hart that much better of a player. Averaging five more minutes per game this year he’s upped his scoring by 5 points, rebounds by 3 and is shooting 52 percent from the floor. This is the beauty with Nova’s lineup, going small and spreading people out, a player like Hart can take advantage of a mismatch. While Ryan Arcidiacono will get a lot of talk because of the point guard spot, it’s Hart that makes this team go.

  1. Denzel Valentine – Michigan State, 18.4 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 28.8 PER

You could argue that Denzel Valentine should win Most Improved Player in the country this year, much like with Steph Curry in the NBA. Valentine went from being somewhat inconsistent to being a top-5 nominee for National Player of the Year. He’s a walking triple-double, as we saw earlier this year. He’s showing his ability to shoot, at 40 percent from deep on over 7 attempts per game. Personally, I’d like to see him attack the rim more as he’s only getting to the free throw line 3 times a game, but it’s hard to argue 40 percent from deep with the way hoops is played now. The big improvement for Valentine though has been keeping his turnovers at the same from last year despite having a much higher usage rate.

  1. Jarrod Uthoff – Iowa, 18.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 30.3 PER

Just a goofy looking guy that’s top-20 in ho, hum 34 different categories in the Big 10. Oh, not to mention he leads the conference in scoring and blocks per game. Just your average guy playing for Iowa. Probably makes sense why Bo Ryan tried to block his transfer, considering this is the player Uthoff has turned into. This was a guy who didn’t even make the Wooden Award Watch List in the preseason (50 other names did though). Whether you just use the eye test and see how he takes advantage of a mismatch and kills you anywhere on the floor – shooting 49 percent from both the field and behind the arc. Or if you like advanced stats and see +12.7/100 possessions in the box score, he’s a guy that is going to be an All-American.

  1. Buddy Hield – Oklahoma, 25.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 31.8 PER

Come on. You really thought someone else could be No. 1 on this list? The dude is putting together one of the best single seasons we’ve seen. He’s shooting 52 percent from the 3-point line and has gone full Steph Curry on us when he gets cooking – see Kansas game and Texas Tech game. On top of that he’s one of the best two-way players in the game with his ability to guard multiple positions on the defensive side of the ball and do it well. He’s also a terrific rebounder from the guard spot, grabbing nearly six a game. As James Fraschilla told me he’s the second best shooter he’s ever seen in person behind Curry.

Providence/Xavier Thoughts

Last night we saw two of the top three Big East teams go at it. Just a couple thoughts on that game and the two teams in general. First off, Xavier. Damn, that team is a ton of fun to watch. They can beat you in a handful of different ways and Chris Mack is a fucking genius the way he uses his deep rotation. The smartest thing Xavier did though was go to the 1-3-1 defense and shadow Dunn as much as possible. Offensively? How about the balls on JP Macura, who decided to say fuck it, ignore Mack trying to call a timeout and chuck a deep 3 with 1:05 on the clock and a 3-point lead. It was the backbreaker.

Providence is currently struggling on the offensive side of the ball. The Friars desperately need someone to help out Dunn and Bentil – who are one of the best duos in the country. But, the way Jalen Lindsey and Rodney Bullock have disappeared lately has made this offense looks downright ugly. The offense is ranked 126th in the country and 320th in 3-point percentage. The defense though has been the best in the conference and that along with Dunn and Bentil will keep them in the top-3 in the conference.