2004. Shelden Williams was a defensive juggernaut.
For what it's worth, I think next year's Duke team is better on paper. More depth, more experience. Hopefully that means we finally get back to the final four.
PG C. Duhon - Sr.
SG J.J. Redick - So.
SF D. Ewing - Jr.
PF L. Deng - Fr.
C S. Williams - So.
S. Dockery - So.
S. Randolph - So.
L. Melchionni - So.
N. Horvath - Sr.
PG G. Paulus - Sr.
SG J. Scheyer - Jr.
SF G. Henderson - Jr.
PF K. Singler - So.
C L. Thomas - Jr.
N. Smith - So.
B. Zoubek - Jr.
E. Williams - Fr.
D. McClure - Sr.
M. Pocious - Jr.
O. Czyz - Fr.
Mi. Plumnee - Fr.
2004. Shelden Williams was a defensive juggernaut.
08-09 gives up a lot at point guard and down low (especially defensively). however, i think 08-09 is actually a bit better at the wing. more importantly, college basketball pretty much gets progressively weaker every year so if a lot of things go right we could end up even with 03-04 next year.
03-04, with NO QUESTION. Any paper with JJ and Williams on it will almost always look better. Then add Chris Duhon, one of the best points in Duke history, and Luol, an NBA all-Star, and Ewing, one of the better guards around? Come on; no competition. There is not a single player on the current roster on the level of JJ or Shelden, and I don't think there is one on the level of Luol either. Maybe there is one CLOSE to CDuhon, but I don't think so... maybe Hendo and Singler will be there eventually, but I don't think they are there yet.
SG: Scheyer- I know Redick was a great scorer, but IMO Scheyer is a better player overall.
SF: Henderson- Ewing was good but Henderson is already better and possibly on his way to great.
PF: Deng- I think Singler has a chance to be just as good at the college level if not better, but I would still take Deng. Ask me in about 7 months and I more then likely will choose Singler. They both have special written all over them!
C: Williams- Thomas isn't in the same league.
Bench: Current Duke team. Smith and McClure are proven ACC players. Elliot Williams has a chance to be special. The two big FR have a chance to contribute more then Horvath. Pocious has proved he has alot of offensive skill. I BELIEVE Zoubek has a chance to contribute more then Randolph.
Just cuz I see them being better on Paper, Doesn't mean they will perform better. I would be happy if they reached the Final Four.
03-04 with the better starting five (each with at least 2 years in the NBA), but 08-09 with the better bench. Probably the nod goes to 03-04, but we really need to see the progress this season before answering definitely.
An interesting intellectual exercise and something to keep the mind occupied in July.
But-it is simply impossible to make a valid comparison here. We know how the 2004 season turned out, we don't know how the 2009 season will turn out.
How did the 2003-'04 season look in July 2003? Shelden Williams was coming off a freshman season in which he averaged 8 points and 6 rebounds per game. We hoped he would do better as a soph, thought he would, but we didn't know. Shelden was most likely better in '04 than any Duke post player in '09 but he wasn't the A-A Shelden. Not yet.
Duhon was coming off a disappointing junior year, in which he made third-team All-ACC (same as Palus, fwiw). Who knew he would be second-team All-America as a senior?
J.J.? Remember, we talking about the sophomore J.J. here, 15.9 ppg, second-team All-ACC, not the icon he later became. Is it unrealistic to expect Scheyer to duplicate that this season?
Deng? Great freshman season. Second-team All-ACC, 15.1 ppg, 6.9 . Anybody think those numbers are beyond Singler's reach? I certainly don't. I expect Singler to be better but I can't guarantee it. BTW, I'm pretty sure Deng has never been an NBA All-Star.
Ewing? Nice player but hardly one of the best guards around. Better in '04 than Henderson or Scheyer in '09? We don't know but I suspect not.
Randolph and Dockery were the only reserves to get major minutes in '04; Horvath and Melchionni combined for less than 10 mpg and much of that was mop-up minutes. I suspect Duke will have a deeper bench this season but that remains to be seen. Many people, btw, expected Shav to make a big jump that season. Didn't happen. Nor did it happen with Thompson, who played sparingly and bailed at Christmas. Dock averaged 3 points and less than 2 assists per game. Think Smith or Williams will be happy with that?
I can see Singler > Deng and Henderson >Ewing, Scheyer =Redick, Paulus < Duhon, bigs < Williams and '09 bench > '04 bench but until we know who make the big Duhon and Williams jumps and who stagnates like Shav or Dock, it's just guesses.
This thread doesn't make sense to me. 03-04 is in the past, 08-09 hasn't happened yet. Basically what this is doing is comparing 03-04 with the 07-08 team along with each persons assumption of how good Williams, Plumlee, Czyz will be. The future is never certain, so while a freshman Deng is a better than a freshman Singler, which is what we all think of when we think of Kyle because that's what we know, a sophomore Singler may be as good or better. Same thing could be said for the point guard spot, Paulus or Smith could emerge next year to be as good or at least close to Duhon, as well as other positions.
It's fun to compare different Duke teams but a little unfair to compare a Final Four team to a team that hasn't played a single game yet. We also know now that J.J. and Shelden were two Duke legends while the players on this team are still in the process of becoming good/great players. Bring this up again in March/April.
It's still interesting even if it's only speculation. 90% of posts on DBR are just speculation anyway, at least during the off-season. This comparison affirms what I already thought, that our team should have a good shot at the Final Four next year and a chance for a National Championship.
The point is to hopefully make you realize that we have a team returning next year that had a lot more going for them than the 2003-2004 team.
Remember, the great names on that 2003-2004 team were also very young: Redick and Shelden were only sophomores, and Deng was only a freshmen. They still had a lot of room for improvement.
Scheyer as a junior can easily match Redick's numbers as a sophomore (and could be even better). Deng and Ewing were great, but I think I'll take Henderson the junior and Singler the sophomore.
Plus, the bench comparison is not even close. I'll take next year's Nolan Smith over Sean Dockery the senior, much less Dockery the sophomore (no slight against Dockery but Nolan could be special). Zoubek, McClure, Czyz, and Plumnee are better than Randolph and Horvath. And Lee Melchionni barely played his sophomore year, but Elliot Williams will contribute immediately.
For my money the greatest difference between a nice/good team and a great/championship team is that mental toughness and ability to perform in clutch situations when the chips are down. Each grat team needs one supreme competitor who just refuses to allow his team to lose and is willing to put his team on his back and will it to victory. It's an intangible but the great ones have it. Laettner was, of course, the epitomy of this. Had it in spades like perhaps no one else in the modern era of college ball. Do we have someone like that on the 08-09 squad? Remains to be seen, but that will be the difference between which of these two teams is better.
For my money the greatest difference between a nice/good team and a great/championship team is that mental toughness and ability to perform in clutch situations when the chips are down. Each great team needs one supreme competitor who just refuses to allow his team to lose and is willing to put his team on his back and will it to victory. It's an intangible but the great ones have it. Laettner was, of course, the epitomy of this. Had it in spades like perhaps no one else in the modern era of college ball. Do we have someone like that on the 08-09 squad? Remains to be seen, but that will be the difference between which of these two teams is better.
PG G. Paulus - Fr.
PG S. Dockery - Sr.
SG J.J. Redick - Sr.
PF J. McRoberts - Fr.
C S. Williams - Sr.
D. Nelson - So.
L. Melchionni - Sr.
Although Deng + Duhon are clearly superior to Paulus/Dockery + McRoberts, I'd take the team with two senior All-Americans who later had their jerseys retired. Sometimes the "best team on paper" doesn't do the best in March. It's quite unpredictable. Everybody would say '04 was a more successful season than '06, though, b/c we made a FF...even though the '06 team was arguably better - they just couldn't deal with the physical LSU in that painful game...
IMHO (remember, with the 'grouse' that the 'h' is always silent).
The proper exercise, as others have noted, is to consider the prospects "going into" 2003-2004 vs. what we think of the 2008-2009 team in July 2008.
Duhon is a better PG than anyone on today's team. He was the PG on an NCAA championship as a freshman. Advantage 2004.
JJ was already the best player on the Duke team, coming off of a season in which he led Duke to an upset win in the ACC tournament (altho' D. Ewing was MVP). No one on the 2007-2008 team is as good an offensive player as JJ (and he was a heckuva lot better as a soph than as a freshman). Big advantage 2004.
Luol Deng looked to be really good as an incoming freshman, but not as good as Singler looks to be coming off an ACC ROY as a freshman. Advantage 2009.
Gerald Henderson is better than a really good Daniel Ewing, mostly because of size and athleticism. Advantage 2009.
Shelden Williams, who was a bit of a question mark going into 2004, still compares favorably with the "all-question-mark" front court of 2009 (Thomas, Czyz, Zoubek, Plumlee). Advantage 2004.
I would agree that the depth looks better in 2009. I expect E. Williams and N. Smith to make real contributions to the team. Also, there are just more scholarship players on the team, which will be important if injuries occur. Advantage 2009.
Intangibles: The 2004 team was really good and played exceptionally well throughout the season. But even befoer the season, you had a team coming off of five straight ACC championships. The 2009 team has proven nothing except the ability to play well until the middle of February. Big advantage for 2004.
I give the edge to the 2003-2004 team, although I would absolutely loved to be proven wrong.
I think the earlier team had by far the better starters, but the current team has by far the better bench. I am optimistic about this years team. In fact, if we had Williams in place of Thomas, we would be world beaters. Then again, if pigs had wings ...... Bottom line? I thin we progress much further into the tournament than we have recently. Final four? Quite possible. National chanpionship -- possible.
As for Scheyer and Redick, I would take Scheyer even knowing how great JJ became as well as the rest of his career, though it's a close call. JJ's improvement from freshman to sophomore year was not staggering by any means - he made an enormous jump from sophomore to junior year and a considerable one from junior to senior. I think many were pleasantly surprised by JJ's freshman season, meaning IMO his sophomore year might have been the most "disappointing" in that it was the year in which he exceeded expectations the least. I realize I am really parsing words here, but I think it's relevant.
In reality both 09 Scheyer and 04 Redick were/are what their team needed. Next year's team won't really be lacking for offense, but a mediocre (04 Redick) rather than solid (09 Scheyer) defender would kill them. We would be too susceptible to athletic teams. Scheyer is just a fabulously well-rounded player.
Duhon over Paulus, hands down. Sure, we don't "know" that he's going to be a 2nd-team AA, but our inflated expectations - which existed/exist for both 04 Duhon and 09 Paulus - for Duhon were based on performance on the college level, as opposed to Paulus. Not to be a dead horse, but we also knew at the very least that Duhon could be a lock-down defender and provide athleticism, unlike Paulus.
Singler and Deng are even, though obviously Singler is more of a proven commodity than 04 Deng. Singler had a great freshman year, but Deng was even high-regarded out of high school.
Shelden over ZOUBEK and post-by-committee. First of all, I don't know why the original question put Shelden versus Lance. To me it seems obvious that K prefers Zoubek if healthy. I realize that's a big if, but in all likelihood Z will be healthy in November. Still, Zoubek is the only true 5 and he is a question mark because of his health, even though I think he will be a very solid player this year. Shelden was a space-eater with good rebounding and defense, though he fouled (both his freshman and sophomore year) WAY too much. At the very least, we didn't question (as much as we do with Lance and anybody else other than Z) whether he was out of position.
This year's bench is better in the backcourt, but 04's was better in the frontcourt. Our frontcourt reserves this year include two freshman who are not projected by most analysts to be impact players their freshman (and possibly sophomore) years.
That said, at this point I would probably go with the 09 team as this point. The 04 team benefited from having a player at a crucial position (PG) make a huge improvement, and getting solid improvements elsewhere. If we can get a huge improvement out of PG (only possibility for a huge improvement here is Nolan, though I do expect improvement from Paulus) or C (Zoubek), we could match the 04 team's postseason accomplishments.
I hate to be so simplistic, but by position, all five starters on the 2003-04 team are superior. The 2003-04 team was VERY VERY VERY close to winning the national championship and was ranked #1 or #2 pretty much all year. The leader on that team already had a National Championship under his belt. The leader on this year's team has only been as far as the Sweet 16 one time in three tries.