Now that we have the perspective of 6 games, what assessment can we reach about the teams potential going forward? Clearly we have group that plays well as a team, and is capable of rising to the challenge against big and athletic teams. We really haven't faced a team with great outside shooters as yet so the verdict is out on how good we can be, but I feel comfortable seeing us as a top ten club, barring injury to a key player, and here's why.
Jumbo has reminded us about how good a player Jon Scheyer is and he has been correct about that. He is smart, composed and makes sound plays virtually every time. He defends well and can provide a scoring lift. Add his very good defense to that and the coach on the floor mentality and you have a very key player for us.
Singler has played well despite his lack of offense in the last couple of games. He is adapting to a new role and at the same time perhaps trying too hard. His offense will return as he settles down and takes good shots. What an asset to have a 6'8" player who can do all things well.
Smith has shown a big improvement and his scoring will also come. He can pressure the ball, handle well and he is a scoring threat against any team. With the so called big three we are extemely solid in the back court area.
Dawkins is much better than I expected, with a great scoring stroke, a willingness and ability to score in other ways and solid and smart defensive presence. With him spelling the big three, we have another strong scorer to cause problems for our adversaries.
Kelly is also a smart player and we know he can shoot. He is smart with the ball and is unlikely to turn the ball over frequently. His size gives him the ability to make the pass into the post as well. I see him getting in to relieve Singler on occassion.
Thomas is a guy who was an enigma. Coach K talked him up but his on court performance didn't match the expectations. Lots of folks were surprised and happy by the outstanding game he played against UCONN. He was virtually everywhere and fought for the ball and then made his free throws. If he gains confidence from that game and comes back at all close to his fine performance, we become much stronger defensively and teams cannot ignore his offensive threat.
Miles Plumlee has shown outstanding athletic ability and determination during the first 6 games and is also gaining confidence. He is becoming a legitimate starting front court man, who we can use at center.
Zoubek has the size and experience to give us a defensive presence and can make good passes off of rebounds. He will not put up a lot of points but he is nevertheless a valuable contributor on the team. It is a luxury to have multiple bigs inside.
We haven't seen a lot of Mason Plumlee but he is billed as being very good inside with offensive skills that are superior and he like his brother is a fine athlete. I would expect his contribution to grow and mature during the season. We really have numerous options in the front court and foul problems should not be an issue this year.
Czyz is a bit of an unknown so far as his PT has been minimum. What we have seen is that he too has shown improvement and may get a chance to get into games with the better players. At 6'7" and 240 # and a very good athlete, he could easily help us throughout the season.
We are deep and talented and have reasonable experience at 4 all positions and have solid if young backup players. This team is good now and is likely to develop well during the season and be a force going into the NCAAs
The good news is that Miles broke out this year, so Czyz doing that next year is certainly possible.
<devildeac> anyone playing drinking games by now?
7:49:36<Wander> drink every qb run?
7:49:38<loran16> umm, drink every time asack rushes?
7:49:38<wolfybeard> @devildeac: drink when Asack runs a keeper
7:49:39 PM<CB&B> any time zack runs, drink
Carolina Delenda Est
Strengths: Starting backcourt (including Singler), halfcourt defense, offensive rebounding, shooting, coaching, effort
Weaknesses: Backcourt depth, drawing fouls, ability to run on offense
I've been very pleased with our team so far. Several things have stood out to me:
(1) Miles has made a HUGE improvement since last year. When he learns to avoid silly fouls, I think he'll be a 10ppg / 8reb / 1.5blk kind of guy.
(2) Love Nolan's newfound sense of aggression. My only concern is that he'll get fatigued (playing 40min/game) or hurt towards the end of the season. Stay safe and healthy Ndot!
(3) Andre is a pleasant surprise. He has a swagger about him that I haven't seen in a long time. I don't think he can stay at 50% 3pt shooting for the rest of the season, but his stroke is flawless. I'd really like to see him dunk some more (a la his youtube highlights), as it'd be a shame for him to devolve into a pure jumpshooter. He can add a lot of athleticism to this team. Don't forget that you're a stud athlete Dre!
(4) We're still lacking an elite penetrator. I think that when we lose in the tournament (be it in the S16, E8, F4, Championship), it will be because we don't have great options to penetrate.
Especially once Mason comes back, we have Nolan, Kyle, Lance, Andre, Miles, and Mason, all of whom can fill a lane and get down the floor in a hurry (Jon is not a slouch in this regard, either, but I suspect he'll often be the one who is making the first pass from the backcourt to get the break going). Against a lot of teams we'll have opportunities to run off defensive rebounds.
In short, I don't think this is a weakness at all, but rather a sneaky strength.
1. We do not get many steals at all, so that limits our fast break opportunities. A lot.
2. In general, we don't really want to play fast because of our thin backcourt.
3. We don't seem to be very good at dunking in games. I don't know why.
However, this weakness is less important then the other two I listed. A thin backcourt and an inability to draw a lot of fouls are by far our biggest weaknesses so far. But overall I'm extremely pleased with how we've looked.
Weaknesses: can't stop dribble penetration; can't dribble penetrate
Strengths: everything else
Problem is, those two weaknesses are what will keep us from a chance at a championship
I'm not saying teams are never going to drive by our perimeter defense and score above the rim, I just believe we have the size inside to play good help defense and prevent dribble penetration from becoming a lethal problem.
United States Navy (Retired)
Our bigs foul too much. Yes, Duke is deep up front, but MP1 and Zoubs both make way too many fouls. Miles needs to play solid position defense and not reach. Not sure what Zoubs can do. Fouling too much gives your opponent easy points. Lance also fouls too much.
I wouldn't be to concerned about the tendency of our bigs to get fouls. Once Mason gets back that will give us 4 legit bigs and 20 fouls to play with.
I think the key so far to our 6-0 start has been the play of "Baby Face" Dawkins. It's a godsend to have a player capable of coming off the bench and provide us with instant offense.
Anyway, I agree that backcourt depth is a potential problem if we get an injury or foul trouble in a big game, and you're right that our offense won't draw as many fouls as some Duke teams in the past, but as primary weaknesses go those aren't so bad at all.
I'm nowhere near ready to talk about a championship for this team (and I don't expect I will be ready anytime soon), but I think we have the potential to have an excellent season, and if the chips fall right we have as good a chance at the Final Four as anyone (except maybe Kansas). Doesn't mean it will happen, but I like where we are right now.
1. Andre can play
2. Mason has improved quite a bit
3. We have gobs of inside depth, and it comes in handy
4. We can win without Kyle (if necessary)
5. Jon Scheyer is one of the best PGs in the country right now
I will add a few team strengths:
1. Communication on defense
2. Being coachable
One of the players from UConn called Duke a "smart team". That is what will win games for us. The four strengths above are part of being a "smart team".
Duke kept UConn from getting easy penertration layups because everyone was talking. Someone may have gotten beaten on the perimeter but everyone knew where to be to help out.
In both the ASU and UConn games Coach K made adjustments to counter what ASU and UConn were doing on offense. It is one thing to identify the adjustments to be made and another thing to make these adjustments. The team did not have to be told twice and made the adjustments.
Finally, movement and passing on offense is why this team is getting good shots and offensive rebounds. I have rarely seen anyone just stand around. What is interesting to me in watching teams with players that can create their own shots (UConn and Ky this year are teams that come to mind) is that sometimes the rest of the team just stands around. Last year with Gerald and several years ago with JJ, Duke often got into the "standing around and wait for someone else to shoot" mode. This year's team knows that they all need to move and pass the ball to get good shots.
Let's not rush Andre into anything right now-- JJ started as a pure jump shooter and showed little else his first year, and he developed/displayed his other skills later. Although I'm never one for opening up an offense from the outside in, with truly great shooters, as Andre seems to be, it can really work for him and the team. If Andre can keep up his sweet shooting, the more important thing for him to develop, IMO, is his defense. I'm very happy with this kid and confident he will develop/display the rest of his game in good time.
BTW, I love Ryan Kelly and hope he gets some solid minutes this year, the earlier the better.
we already knew several things...
thomas is inconsistent but can be very helpful
zoubek is nerve-wracking and needs to limit his TO/Fouls
singler is multi-talented and can help us win in several ways
scheyer is a smart player who knows what the right move is
we have learned....
plumlee has taken a big step forward
dawkins is more ready than what should be expected
nolan is ready to take over a co-leadership role
kelly is taking a bit to get in the flow
coach k is still going to gameplan correctly
coack k is still going to run the clock with a lead
simple but honest i believe