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  1. #1

    What have we learned after 6 games?

    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

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Saratoga2 View Post
    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
    I'd expect little from Czyz going forward....remember, Miles Plumlee started the first two games last year and then disappeared entirely from the rotation...i expect the same thing out of Czyz this year.

    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Cambridge, MA
    Strengths: Starting backcourt (including Singler), halfcourt defense, offensive rebounding, shooting, coaching, effort

    Weaknesses: Backcourt depth, drawing fouls, ability to run on offense

  4. #4
    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.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Quote Originally Posted by Wander View Post
    Weaknesses: Backcourt depth, drawing fouls, ability to run on offense
    I think against UConn we showed plenty ability to run on offense. We didn't do it much because it doesn't necessarily play to our strengths as much as other options. But we did run some early in the game and also in the middle of the 2nd half (when UConn tried to press us) and I thought we looked really good doing it.

    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by devilboomer View Post
    (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.
    Penetration is good because it often leads to easy scores and you always need easy scores. But this year's team has other ways to get easy scores, so I'm not so worried about dribble penetration. Quite frankly, so long as we're able to defend quicker players on the perimeter, I'm not much worried about anything. If we lose it will be because the other team outplayed us -- hopefully that won't happen too often.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Nashville
    Quote Originally Posted by devilboomer View Post

    (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!
    I wouldn't worry about Andre forgetting he can run and jump. He's already made great use of his shot fake. The fact is, we don't need him making many crazy forays to the rim right now. I think he's picked his spots exceptionally well. His three point play against UCONN was great. Pump fake at the three point line. Gets defender in the air. Drives with a quick first step with one or two dribbles. Then, instead of over penetrating, he pulls up and uses his jumping ability and strength to get off a nice floater and absorb the contact. If he drains threes and makes a few plays like that for the rest of the season, we will be in wonderful shape.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Cambridge, MA
    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    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.
    It's not that I think our guys are slow in sprinting down the floor. Rather it's a combination of:
    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.

  8. #8
    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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Quote Originally Posted by rotogod00 View Post
    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
    We are going to stop dribble penetration the old fashion way by blocking shots. The team is averaging 5.5 blocks per game without Mason Plumlee who has a reputation as a shot blocker.

    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.
    Bob Green
    United States Navy (Retired)
    @JBobGreen

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Washington, D.C.

    Another Weakness

    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.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Fayetteville, NC
    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.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Quote Originally Posted by rotogod00 View Post
    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
    Well, if we can't stop dribble penetration, I agree we may be in trouble somewhere down the line. However, I think Bob Green is right in that we don't necessarily have to stop it at the source. I'm also hopeful that we can stop it at the source -- so far we haven't been victimized too much by dribble penetration. Against Arizona State, we got bitten by the pick and roll, but not really by dribble penetration. Against UConn, where I expected to see a lot of dribble penetration, I didn't think it hurt us too much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Green View Post
    We are going to stop dribble penetration the old fashion way by blocking shots. The team is averaging 5.5 blocks per game without Mason Plumlee who has a reputation as a shot blocker.

    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.
    It's not just blocking the shots, either. Our big guys will also alter shots. There was one play against UConn where (I think) Walker got past his man but when he went up for the score, big Z was in his way and he ended up trying a floater which turned out to be an air ball. As long as the rotation is there, dribble penetration should not be as big a problem as some believe it will be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wander View Post
    It's not that I think our guys are slow in sprinting down the floor. Rather it's a combination of:
    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.
    I think your #2 reason is the biggest reason why we haven't run all that much, but I don't consider it a weakness because I know we can do it if we want/need to. Your #1 reason is correct in that we don't get many steals, but in the old days teams used to run off of defensive rebounds, and we certainly should get plenty of those. As far as dunking, every single player on our team can make an uncontested dunk. They may not do the windmill like Stanley Robinson, but there's also no reason for them to try.

    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.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    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.
    I always expect a championship but am not overly disappointed if we do not get one. Very few teams to each year.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    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

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Richmond, VA

    Team strenghths

    I will add a few team strengths:

    1. Communication on defense
    2. Being coachable
    3. Movement
    4. Passing

    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.

  16. #16

    More on Dre

    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.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Quote Originally Posted by feldspar View Post
    2. Mason has improved quite a bit
    I assume you mean Miles?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Lincoln Ne

    Spot on!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Green View Post
    We are going to stop dribble penetration the old fashion way by blocking shots. The team is averaging 5.5 blocks per game without Mason Plumlee who has a reputation as a shot blocker.

    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.
    The big difference between teams this year and last years is the ability to defend the rim. Dribble penetration before ended up with a layup or dumb off for a dunk or layup! If mason protects the rim like his big brother things are looking good!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Boston

    what have i learned....

    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

  20. #20

    Smile Layups Are Worth 2 Pts

    Quote Originally Posted by Wander View Post

    3. We don't seem to be very good at dunking in games. I don't know why.
    Call me a dinosaur but layups count the same 2 pts as a dunk. I recall a very good player who almost always made his layups and rarely dunked. Bill Russell.
    Last edited by Bob Green; 11-30-2009 at 04:02 PM. Reason: Fix quote tag

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