by Kris Sager
Tyler Kane’s career has always been surrounded with controversy. Kane was selected as the top pick in 2009 draft, and critics started to line up. They saw him as a non dominant player, a characteristic needed to be selected as high. To add insult to injury, Kane was not an scorer, how Albacete dared to select him? Some talked about Pedro Alcaraz ties with Siberia University, some questioned Alcaraz mental health…they all missed that the consensus top pick, Juwan Bixby fell to Albacete at number 4. Since that day, most of WBA journalists have pointed that Kane has not lived up to expectations.
This year, Tyler Kane has lived the worst moments of his career, he tore a ligament in his ankle in the last week of preseason, and he was projected to miss 22 games. Albacete had expected to rely heavily on Kane’s leadership and had little depth behind him. As a result, Albacete struggled to be around 0.500 and be a borderline playoff team. with that perspective, Tyler Kane asked to come back after 18 games, and management told him he would play in a limited role for a pair of weeks. Results did not improve and Albacete fell to 13-16, so critic’s fingers started to point at Kane one more time.
“Tyler Kane has played in 10 games out of 28. And he is averaging 4 points, and 3 assists a game. In fact, Pete Nelson and Geoffrey Caldwell are playing significantly better, one wonders why Kane is even getting playing time. This team needs to find a point guard that can pass”. Zagrieb Zano
There are some well-respected basketball journalists, average journalists, and some of them that are a category by themselves like Zagrieb Zano and Skip Bayless. This last group don’t need to watch games, the stat sheet is enough for them to analyze a game. They could make a great job in baseball, an individual sport played for a team, where the addition of stats is really easy.
But basketball happens to be a team game and you need every player to fit with his teammates and fill his role. Put together 5 scorers in a team and they will have problems sharing the ball and defense. You can’t use five centers and dominate the boards, balance is the priority, and you always need a pair of team oriented players eager to sacrifice their stats for the team. Kane is one of these players. He leads his teammates setting them up, making the ball to move constantly and he plays suffocating defense.
But, hey, his stats are really bad, he should not play at all, Albacete plays better when he’s in the bench…oh wait, it looks like Kane leads Albacete in plus-minus with +3.3, while Caldwell and Nelson are in the negative side. Given that Kane has started to play around 40 minutes a game, you can see his influence in Albacete’s schemes. And then you have defense, an area where Kane excels. He averages 2,4 steals in 25 minutes and committing less than 1 foul, and most important, he leads the league in defensive rating with 89.7.
So, I think it is safe to say that if a team plays better when you are on the court, if advanced stats show that you are an elite defender, maybe, and just maybe we could agree that Tyler Kane is a great player who transcends classic stats, do you agree Mr Zano?