I read here a lot of talk about offense in the post and who is going to step up. I'm more concerned about who is going to guard Ed Davis.
Ryan only has to do that for a few minutes as Kyle will not get a lot of rest, perhaps a minute or two around a TV timeout a few times a game, unles he is in foul trouble or injured.
So, first of all, get rid of Arthur and Baxter, who were by nobody's definition "great." So how many of the remaining guys you name above were back-to-the-basket players? You can certainly knock out Wilcox and Horford, and maybe Noah, who was really more of a garbage collector than a back-to-the-basket force.
That leaves Hansbrough, May, Okafur, and Boozer, and I would argue that if you're down to 4 of 9 you've already disproved the premise. Furthermore, I'd say that other than Okafur, the big man wasn't anywhere close to the most important player on any of those teams. Especially UNC 2009, UNC 2005, and Duke 2001 -- the most important player on all those teams was the point guard (I'm counting Jason Williams as the PG, although I understand that could be up for debate). And with a great PG, almost any competent big will look like an "offensive presence." My guess is if Ty Lawson played on last year's Duke team, you'd be putting Brian Zoubek and MP1 on your list above.
I understand what the original quesiton was. I agree guard play is more important in college. What I said was you needed "some kind of offensive post presence," and I guess what I meant was, you need one other teams had to respect that is consistent. Duke hasn't had that since Shelden left.
Unless your swingmen/guards are named "Anthony" or "Rose" you better have one or 2 players you can count on for 15 points a game down low. Without a consistent low post scorer to keep the defense honest, when our 3s haven't been falling against good teams we have been toast.
So I guess I am changing the premise --- we need to have some SEMBLANCE of a low post game in order to get better this year, and we haven't had that in 4 years.
But to respond to your concern, I think Mason matches up perfectly with him when you look at their respective size, length and ups.
But G_N is correct here that his O is much more of an unknown. Still, as a strong rebounder, he's bound [ouch] to be trouble on O-boards, too; but the key, I think, is not so much guarding his so-far-undeveloped-O-moves, but..... blocking him out. And that has been a Duke weakness in recent years.
Last edited by gumbomoop; 08-20-2009 at 05:12 PM. Reason: typo
We've only had three seasons since Shelden left and in two of them our primary inside player scored more than Arthur in Kansas' championship season (McBob, 13.0 in 2007 and Kyle, 13.3 in 2008, when he was playing primarily inside). Only last year did we fail to have that sort of scorer inside, and frankly that was the best team of the three.
I'm not going to dissect every championship team, but I don't think 2008 Kansas and 2003 Syracuse were the only championship contenders this decade who didn't have a massive post presence (Noah, for example, averaged only 12 ppg his last year at Florida).
So I hear what you're saying, and obviously the more weapons you have the better you're going to be, but I still don't think a beast in the post is a requirement to be a championship contender.
Davis already played 18.8 MPG last year and only scored 6.7 PPG and 6.6 Rebounds on average. I am not sure he gets much more than 20 MPG this year sharing the 4/5 spot with Deon, Zeller and Henson unless the latter can play a significant amount of time at SF on both ends of the floor which is debateable.
If for example Henson averages 10 MPG at SF, those may be split in garbage time by the Wear twins at 5 MPG each. leaving only 70 to be split by Deon, Davis and Zeller plus the balance of Henson's PT.
So I just don't see how the math works out for all these UNC studs to each play 25-30 MPG. Even at 25 MPG each, that mean Henson plays half the game at SF and Wears don't play at all.
At 30 MPG each, Graves plays none @ SF and one of Deon, Zeller or Davis has to play 10 MPG at SF.
Then Drew II, Ginyard, Strikcland and McDonald have to split 80 minutes at combo slots. So if Marcus's 30 MPG, Drew II and the two frosh share 50 MPG minus whatever time Graves gets at SG.
This is just an analysis based on MPG not even considering your other point that Tyler and Ty demanded attention as did Wayne and Danny which got him open for the dunk in the first place, as 5th guy not guarded.
Same analysis applies to Deon who already played 24.8 MPG, scored 10.6 PPG and grabbed 5.7 boards. Having better defenders and not having any more MPG this year does not lead to him being a game changer.
I guess it could be argued that instead of ball going to Tyler it goes to Ed and Deon.
Tyler's 30,3 MPG go to Henson and Zeller (plus his 3 MPG last year which is 117 minutes played in 15 games spread over 38 games where he was out of action for 23 of them).
Tyler's 20.7 PPG and 8.1 boards get spread to all 4.
Collectively UNC bigs scored 39.2 PPG last year and perhaps that gets spread across 4 bigs this year or they take up more of the scoring slack vacated by Ty, Wayne and Danny.
My lasting impression from the Kansas-Mempis championship a couple of years ago was that Kansas was beating Memphis at their own game (speed) and doing it with bigger players who could handle and passed over the top of the Memphis players. I don't recall a lot of banging in that game, but I do recall several beautiful fast breaks from Kansas wherein a bunch of big guys passed their way down the court along with one of the guards. I remember thinking that it was extremely effective and incredibly efficient. If that's what we can get out of MP1/Mp2 and Kelly (and please dear God Harrison Barnes and/or Kyle if he stays), then I would imagine we do not need the second coming of Elton or Boozer as much as I loved those guys.
"I am not sure he [Davis] gets much more than 20 MPG this year sharing the 4/5 spot with Deon, Zeller and Henson unless the latter can play a significant amount of time at SF on both ends of the floor which is debateable."
This definitely is a minority opinion. Davis is being mentioned on all the pre-season watch lists and projects as a top-five pick in the 2010 NBA draft. I think he'll be a monster and a legit threat to be ACC POY. I'll be astonished if he isn't first team All-ACC.
1) I have to disagree with your assessment of Sean May - he was easily the most important player on the 2005 Heels in my view. May was the MOP of the Final Four, and arguably the most dominant player in the ACC, and if not the country, from the mid-point of the conference schedule to the Championship Game. He received more votes than Felton in the 2005 All-ACC ballotting and IIRC, also clearly outplayed Shelden in their last 3 or 4 head-to-head matchups.
2) I would consider Horford a back-to-the-basket post player, one whose game complemented that of the more frenetic Noah perfectly. I would also say he was the important player on Florida's 2007 champion (I believe Donovan said as much during the year), though that team was as balanced as any in recent memory.
And I didn't see too much of Florida in those years, except in the NCAA tourney both years but my recollection (which could be faulty) is that Horford played facing the basket, at least in the Final Fours (both of which I attended). I'm pretty sure he didn't play center on defense.
But your viewpoint is certainly as valid as mine.
29.6 Drew II
25.9 Davis (minus some time for Wear twins)
24.8 Deon only same as last year - find more time from somewhere
23.1 Zeller (minus some time for Wear twins)
22.2 Henson (minus some time for Wear twins)
00.0 Wear twins (shave some time from the bigs)
00.0 walk-ons will get some time in blow outs
200.1 Total MPG
Thompson, Davis and Zeller sub-total 73.8 of the 80 MG at C/PF though some of their individual MPG would go down to give PT to Wears when games are out of hand.
Of course to do this I had to assume Henson's 22.2 MPG is only 6.2 MPG (80 minutes 73.8) at PF/C and 16 MPG at SF, and that SF was formerly played by Frasor and all others (Copeland and walk ons).
Graves 15.9 plus Henson's 16 @ SF and Watts 2.2 subtotal 34.1 of the 40 MPG at SF implying Ginyard only plays about 6 MPG at SF and 22.4 MPG at SG which is not all bad to steady Drew II and the freshmen combos.
If Henson cannot play SF 16 of his 22.2 MPG, all bets are off on PT for the bigs, but the good news is more time for Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald.
I guess you didn't watch Carolina much in '03 and '04. May being healthy for the whole year was the biggest difference between the '05 Championship teams and the up and down squads of those years.
As for Horford, while he could score facing, he was generally more effective in the paint and was a beast on the glass at both ends. I recall he and Noah both defending the center spot depending on the matchup. I'm pretty sure it was Horford who defended Oden in the '07 title game, albeit not very effectively.
And you mention Noah only scoring 12 a game. Do you understand how balanced the Kansas and Florida teams were? Florida had Noah and Horford down low. They had Brewer too. 12 (in Noah's case) and 13 (in Arthur's) is a ton of points to put up on teams like those. And Florida and Kansas put an emphasis on getting the ball inside, either pitching it in low, lobbing it in for dunks or off of penetration by guards. To try and compare Duke's one top interior player to the bigs of these national title teams is missing the point. Duke's got great players, but until this infusion of bigs, you haven't had enough of them. And it still remains to be seen what you'll actually do with them.
You can win, hell, you can win it all, without the commitment to the interior shown by recent tourney winners, but it will be hard. You take a look at the shot chart for the Kansas-Memphis game in 2008. Kansas had 6 dunks and 13 layups. Arthur posted continually and hit turnarounds and hooks and stepped out. He had 20 and 10 on the night. Kansas also had three guys off that team start the following year for their NBA teams, including Arthur. And Kaun (Russia) and Jackson (Cavs) are both playing for serious dough (Kaun moreso, but Jackson at least in the NBA).
To compare that or Florida with Horford, Noah and Brewer to Duke's interior since Shelden Williams is a pretty massive reach. Not because Duke hasn't had a singular player who could compare, but because it's largely been one guy and the commitment to the interior hasn't been there.
The original premise of this thread was a team can't win without a dominant, back-to-the-basket beast who scores at least 15ppg and I think the balance of the Florida and Kansas teams is a strong argument to the contrary. I think there are many ways to get layups and dunks without a traditional center (so I'm not sure of the relevance of your shot chart). I don't think Jackson and Brewer (neither of whom were anything close to back-to-the-basket players) have any place in this discussion. I think Kaun and Aldrich being back-to-the-basket players doesn't advance the argument because they didn't start and were by no means dominant forces for their teams (although Aldrich had some dominant moments in that Final Four, but it appeared to surprise everyone in the arena, including Kansas fans).
You're talking about frontcourt depth and overall talent and I'm trying to respond to what I believe to be an inaccurate premise underlying the thread. It may not be "something of importance," but it's what the thread's about.
I think if anyone is going to make a difference down low this year, it will be the Plumlees. The Zoubster has shown that he doesn't have the right head (or feet) to be a dominant 7 footer, and Lance has never shown any consistency down low. In fact, I think they may play Lance more at 3 this year behind Singler and use him to guard some of the quicker shooting forwards, playing more away from the basket. Which leaves MPs 1 and 2. I don't think we need a lot from them; Scheyer, Singler, and maybe Smith can give decent scoring. They just need them to be able to clean up some garbage, catch the ball and not throw it away, and shoot a layup or tipin here and there. That would be enough, assuming they also rebound and play some D