If you pay a lot of attention to the Big East, you may have noticed this article when it came out yesterday. To correct the glaring error in it, no, Trevon Bluiett isn't a two guard, no, he never has been, and no, you didn't miss something last season. Hey, it can't all be good copy, right? What that unfortunate error caused Big East Coast Bias to miss was that there may be a very good argument regarding who the best shooting guard in the conference is.
The other challenger for the crown would be Kellen Dunham of the Butler Bulldogs. Dunham unarguably posted the better standard numbers with a 16.5/2.6/.9 line. That came on .429/.410/.850 shooting in 34 minutes per game. Myles supporters have his 10.6/2.4/2.1 and a .394/.384/.872 shooting line to counter with. That came in 27 minutes per game. Those are the raw numbers on the two.
As galling as this is to admit to anyone who doesn't enjoy watching butter soft basketball, Dunham is a slightly better shooter than Myles is. Dunham edged Davis in both eFG% and TS%, both by between one and two percent. That makes Dunham a better shooter, but not by a massive margin. In the raw numbers, Dunham was a measurably better shooter from the field and Davis was about the same margin better from the line. Edge: Dunham
Here is where Dunham gets the big boost in his numbers and where Xavier fans can anchor their argument that their player is better. Dunham had a usage rate of 22.3% to the 20% that Myles posted. Had Myles played the same number of minutes as Dunham at that usage rate, he'd have posted a line of 14.9/3.0/2.9. Dunham also had a shots percentage of near as makes no difference 25% to Myles 21%. Had Myles fired away like Dunham did, his points per game would be a very similar 15.9. Butler relied on Dunham because they had no other recourse. When he shot 1-6 from deep against Xavier, the Bulldogs lost. When he cratered to 2-13 from the floor against Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament, they lost again. Xavier didn't have similar reliance on Myles, because they didn't need to. Edge: Dunham
This category isn't vital in a shooting guard, and neither player particularly excels in it. Their offensive rebounding rates are essentially identical (neither really enjoy it). Myles holds a 9.5% to 7.4% edge in defensive rebounding rate. There's an edge here, but it isn't a huge one. Edge: Davis
While Myles Davis is a choice for Xavier at point guard this year, Dunham would rather not ever pass the ball at all. Myles assist rate of 15.2% is more than twice that of Dunham's 6.1%. When the ball went to Kellen, he shot it. I'm assuming some of his assists were actually airballs he claimed were passes, he seems like that kind of guy. When it comes to TORate, Dunham does a good job of taking care of the ball for someone who has it so much. His rate of 12.4% is better than Myles very solid 15.4%. Edge: Davis
That leaves us with a two up draw in the categories, but even the most diehard of Xavier fans can't claim that the categories Davis wins are as significant. Dunham carries his team, because he has to. There's an excellent argument to be that if Myles had to shoot the ball and play as much as Dunham does, his numbers would be very nearly the same in terms of points and far superior in rebounding and assists. Is that enough to say that Davis is the better player? Maybe, maybe not, but it certainly raises a very interesting question: is Myles Davis actually the best shoot guard in the Big East?