"This guy could start for any team in the Big Ten"

Last evening I had a long trip home from a basketball game (and shout out to the Jay County Patriot Pep Band: you guys rocked). To kill time, I listened to the Purdue post-game on the radio. Their announcers, in discussing DeShaun Thomas and Aaron Craft, stated: "These guys could start for any team in the Big Ten". At first blush, it's not an outlandish statement. Still, it got me thinking. And I am not addressing this from a statistical standpoint. But here are two questions:

  1. Would you take Thomas and/or Craft over any of our starters?
  2. If you could raid a Big Ten team for one player to plug into our team, who would it be?

As to the first question, let me begin by saying that Thomas and Craft are great players. From my standpoint, that's beyond dispute. Thomas is a 3. I would not take him over Oladipo. Thomas will score more, but he's a volume scorer, not an efficient scorer. And Oladipo brings so much more to the table. If Watford is the 3, it's an interesting discussion. But Watford's not the 3; he's the 4, which is another reason that I'd probably not take Thomas over Watford. Watford also boards more and defends better, and can be a 4. Thomas is a 3, and that's it. He's a great 3, but he's only a 3.
As for Craft, I might think about him over Yogi at this point in their respective careers. Over the long haul, I'd prefer Yogi. Yogi's a better passer, and will ultimately be a better player. At the moment, Craft is bigger, and a better defender. He's not as good of a passer, but the difference is not as significant as it would be with other players.
Second question: I'd take Mbakwe, based solely on talent and ignoring his off-court issues. I love Watford, but think if you replace him at the 4 with a Mbakwe's defense and rebounding. And the offensive drop off would not be that significant. I feel dirty, like I am cheating on Watford in saying this. But that's who I'd take.
What do you guys think? Would you start either Thomas or Craft on our team? And who else would you "raid" to replace one of our starters?

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