Marcus Paige Named Team MVP, Undergoes Ankle Surgery


Marcus Paige has had a big week so far. First he was named the most valuable player of the team during awards last Thursday. He becomes part of a small list of North Carolina players who have won the award twice in their sophomore and junior seasons.

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Yesterday, Paige underwent ankle surgery to remove bone spurs in his right ankle. This will slow Paige now for now, but he will be all right by the summer.

Paige dealt with plantar fasciitis throughout the season last year and never really got back to a hundred percent. Yet he was still considered to be the MVP of the team even at less than one hundred percent.

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Paige led the team in scoring by the end of the season with an average of fourteen points per game. He also had his first career double-double this year.

The case for someone other than Paige to be the MVP is a limited one. The only two Tar Heels who consistently were healthy and in the starting lineup were Brice Johnson and Justin Jackson. Then there is the departed JP Tokoto. Could the Impact formula (divided per minute) tell us anything about Paige’s true claim to the MVP title? Let’s work it out.

Impact formula = Points + 2(Assists + DReb + Steals + Blocks) – 2(Turnovers)

Let’s start with Brice Johnson
Johnson = 492 + 2(35 + 206 + 26 + 42) – 2(58)
Johnson = 994 Season Impact / 940 Minutes
Johnson = 1.057

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  • Compare to Justin Jackson
    Jackson = 408 + 2(88 + 87 + 20 + 19) – 2(52)
    Jackson = 732 Season Impact / 1014 Minutes
    Jackson = .722

    We can see that Jackson’s impact per minute is not really that close to Johnson’s. So now let’s check Tokoto before bringing in Paige.
    Tokoto = 316 + 2(163 + 152 + 56 + 13) – 2(85)
    Tokoto = 914 Season Impact / 1106 Minutes
    Tokoto = .826

    So we can see that Tokoto’s versatility make him a superior statistical player to Jackson, but he also cannot match Johnson’s impact the court over the last season. So there is only one thing to check. Will Paige deserve the title he currently holds?
    Paige = 534 + 2(170 + 96 + 65 + 8) – 2(73)
    Paige = 1066 Season Impact / 1263 Minutes
    Paige = .844

    Surprise. Surprise. According to our impact formula, it is Brice Johnson and not Paige who should be the team MVP. Why did we get these results? First Paige’s greater minutes played are the biggest factor to why his impact/min were reduced. You’ll notice that Paige’s season impact totals were higher by themselves.

    So would you rather have Brice Johnson or Marcus Paige on a pickup basketball court somewhere in the cosmos?