Jan 2, 2014; Boulder, CO, USA; A general view of the Pac 12 logo before the start of the game between the Oregon State Beavers and the Colorado Buffaloes at Coors Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Who Is The Best Player In The West? Kyle Anderson Or Nick Johnson

Many argue that the MVP is the best player on the best team. Others would say it is the best overall player, regardless of team standing. Whatever your position is, the collective talking heads usually come to a general consensus about who the best players are. More often than not, a list of ten to fifteen player can usually be agreed upon.

That is the case in the latest list of finalists for the John R. Wooden Award in which both UCLA’s Kyle Anderson and Arizona’s Nick Johnson have made the list of 15 finalists for the prestigious award.

Both players are hands down, two of the best players in the Pac-12 Conference. What they each have done for their respective programs has been done dedication, leadership and a will to win. Both have helped to make their teams the best in one of the biggest conferences in the nation. But indeed, who is the best player? Let us take a look at each one individually.

Mar 2, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard Nick Johnson (13) shoots the ball over Stanford Cardinal forward Josh Huestis (24) during the second half at McKale Center. Arizona won 79-66. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Johnson

Guard, Junior, 6’0″, 200 lbs.

16.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.2 spg, 0.5 bpg, Shooting %: .443

This kid is a beast. He is not the biggest guy on the court, but he certainly does not play like it. This guy has MVP written all over him, especially with what he and his team had to endure after losing 6’8″ forward, Brandon Ashley, for the season with a foot injury. The game they lost him, was also Arizona’s first loss of the season.

But even without Ashley, Arizona is still the best team in the conference and Johnson is one of the main reasons why. All he knows is one thing: attack. He is a fierce competitor with a great team behind him that should go far into the Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments. If a team wants to beat Arizona, they have to beat Johnson, and that does not look to be happening anytime soon.

Mar 2, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins guard/forward Kyle Anderson (5) shoots as Oregon State Beavers guard Roberto Nelson (55) looks on during the game at Pauley Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Anderson

Guard/Forward, Sophomore, 6’9″, 230 lbs.

14.8 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 6.7 apg, 1.8 spg, 0.8 bpg, Shooting %: .485

He is “Slowmo”, but he is so effective. He is a point guard, but a forward as well, but what really matters is that he is a guy that makes his team better. There are even times when his team can not get anything going, yet he is the only one forging ahead.

He is second on the Bruins in scoring and first in assists, blocks and rebounds. He is a stat machine and one of the better players in the Pac-12. If UCLA is to do anything in the post-season, it will be because Anderson makes it happen.

So What Is The Verdict?

This is a tough one. Anderson appears to be the best player in the conference by stats alone, but then you have Johnson who is the best player on the best team. Who is the Most Valuable Player? Well, it is a good thing the experts are picking the winner, because it is a draw from our our stand point.

Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves in the comments below. And GO…

Mike W.R.

Twitter: @TheBigDisco

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