Your question wasn't directed toward me, but I'm going to pipe up and offer my opinion anyway. Nolan Smith will average double digit minutes as a Freshman because of two factors: first, we need his on-the-ball defense to prevent dribble penetration by our opponents point guard, and second we need another offensive player who can penetrate and create offense. In regard to defense, last year against Carolina, DeMarcus Nelson defended Ty Lawson. I see Nolan Smith filling that role in 2007. On offense, Nolan can create offense with penetration. At least that is what he did in the all-star games. Coach K will experiment with a variety of line ups and I am excited about the prospect of seeing D. Nelson, G. Henderson, L. Thomas, K. Singler and N. Smith on the court at the same time.
1) We don't have a point guard like Steve Nash. I think this is a huge part of why things work for Phoenix.
2) We don't have nearly the depth of athletes surrounding said fantastic point guard like Barbosa, Bell, Jones, and Marion.
3) It was one game that they eventually lost due to fatigue. And if they'd tried it again, I suspect San Antonio would have further exploited their matchup advantages. Doing it for one game is one thing, but repeating it over and over will not be successful.
4) With regard to the "we won't face a Tim Duncan," my response is that the difference between the better NCAA big men and Duncan is less drastic than the difference between our team and the Suns.
5) Small ball will be sufficient to beat weaker teams, but we'd probably win those games with Thomas/Zoubek on the floor anyway. It's against the more elite teams that we'll need some size.
Devil's advocacy aside, I don't think we're going to HAVE to play extended small ball minutes. I think that Thomas and Zoubek are going to make solid improvement this year. And if they can give us 35-40 minutes of solid post play, we'll be fine. I think small ball is best suited for limited use, as with any quirky strategy. Overuse will result in the strategy being exploited by better teams. But in short spurts, it can be a very effective weapon for us. And if Zoubek and Thomas can give us 35-40 minutes, that could leave us with about 10 minutes or so of small ball to wreak havoc on the opposition.
Last edited by CDu; 05-21-2007 at 03:04 PM.
Great counter points listed above. We don't have the bench or athletes for the last couple of years to play like that. Coach K has to pick up recruiting athletes and quality post players.
Remember that we went 4-6 winding down the ACC, out in the first round in ACC tournament, and out in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Yet people tout Paulus-Scheyer-Henderson-Nelson-Singler as being an optimal lineup. Small ball. Excuse me, but whats different from the team that went 4-8 at the end of last year? At either end of the court?
Well, they are older and more experienced. True, but is that enough? Roberts out and Singler in. I've gotta defer judgment here because Singler hasn't played a single game yet. I'm hopeful but . . .
I worry about small ball.
This is I'm hoping for:
1) BZ and/or LT make significant strides offensively. They don't have to be world-beaters but opponents have to respect their inside game.
2) SOMEONE needs to be willing to step forward and be the man. When its crunch time, someone has to be able to and be willing to demand the damned ball and get it done. We didn't have that last year. Next year, I'm hoping that Henderson steps up. He's certainly got the talent but does he have the desire. I hope so and I think so. And if Singler comes in and shows that he's got the competitive fire to do it, all the better.
3) B'ball is a team sport and I agree completely with Jumbo's central point that a team that plays well together is going to be hard to beat irrespective of the make-up of the individual parts. But this is a funny deal here. How does that happen? Last year's team didn't have it . . . I have some guesses as to why but they are irrelevant. How do we regain it? I personally have no clue but I am hopeful, and confident, that Coach K does.
So for me, I nay say small ball. I want balance . . . a respectable (not great) interior game, I want a go-to guy, and I want teamwork.
Thank you Bob!!! I think Nolan Smith has to see time as a freshman, and I really think he can bring a lot which has been missing to this team. With a hobbled Paulus and a sometimes tentative Scheyer, I don't think Duke had the necessary athleticism at the guard spots to compete against the Carolinas, the UVAs with Reynolds and Singletary, and the Eric Maynors of VCU. Many times, this inevitably fell on Demarcus, who would be justifiably gassed at the end of games.
I think Smith's arrival will take a huge burden off of Nelson and help spread some of the defensive responsibilities. On offense, he's someone who is able to create and get to the rim with consistency, something Paulus and Scheyer cannot do, and something even Demarcus struggles with from time to time.
The lineup Bob mentioned with Smith, Nelson, Henderson, Singler, and Thomas/Zoubek is a very exciting prospect. Though I imagine Paulus will probably start (though not guaranteed), this is the lineup I personally think Duke should go with. The athleticism of this personnel, the ablility to create offensively combined with the ability to deny dribble pentration make this a lineup I think Duke has to take a look at. This would be as athletic a lineup as Duke has had in a few years. Plus, bringing Paulus, Scheyer, King, McClure, and Zoubek or Thomas off the bench is a luxury any coach in the ACC would take in a second. I know this is different from what most people have, but a lineup like this would make Duke about as tough an out as they can be, IMHO.
I am, by no means, suggesting Duke play small-ball for extended minutes (although, to be honest, any lineup without Zoubek will be pretty small by some standards). I believe Zoubek will get a legit chance to play at least half the game. But, I am saying that Duke has the option to go small, and can do so effectively. Butler was tiny, and had a great season. If you look around the country, plenty of other teams succeeded without traditional size.
The other argument, about depth, again was not to suggest that Duke should play six or seven guys, just that NBA teams somehow seem to do it, and do it well, in a game that's eight minutes longer (and a season that's 50 games longer). I posted something during the tournament showing how many of the Sweet 16 teams played seven guys or fewer (I believe it was 11 of the 16).
The point? That people continue to have Duke tunnel vision, and they don't realize what's working elsewhere in the basketball world.
Second, no one is touting that as the optimal lineup. I mentioned it as an alternative that shouldn't be dismissed, and which could be very effective in spurts.
Third, how will those guys be different than next year? Let's see, Paulus won't have a broken foot. Scheyer and Henderson will have a year of experience under their belts. Scheyer should be a lot physically stronger. Four of them will have had a ton of experience playing together. So, they'll be a year older, stronger, better and more mature, and half the guys who sent them on that 4-8 streak won't even be playing college hoops anymore. So, that's just a little of what will be different.
Fourth, Singler is a totally different animal offensively than McRoberts. He can shoot. He has real post moves. He has great footwork. In fact, they really don't have much in common at all.
Duke almost always got a lead, just had trouble maintaining it to the end.
Nolan could be a big plus on both defense and Offense. even if Greg starts,when Nolan subs in you have the combination in place.
And you can also add in Marty to the ten you listed as a player coach K could potentially use more in areas Nelson sometimes struggles in (though I am not predicting it, and defense would suffer though Marty has improved in this area) in certain situations to make Duke tough to defend its speed and athleticism.
Lots of possibilities as long as Duke hits free throws, limits turnovers, secures a fair share of the defensive rebounds, and rests its top 5 occasionally, (not all at once unless K wants to throw in a wrinkle for a minute or two, or send a message to team about effort, which is not usually a problem for Duke).
I also love the continued misperception that Scheyer is somehow not athletic -- it's really amazing.
I think you overestimate the gains these guys will make from one year to the next. I agree about Paulus' foot although how much did it bother him late in the year? I, for one, don't know. Singler? Hasn't played a single college game yet so I'll defer on the sweeping optimism you espouse. I hope you're right but I want to see it before I believe it.
As for the others, Henderson, Scheyer, Nelson, etc etc and the fact that they will be a year older, with another year of experience, and stronger, now faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound . . . well, thats great. I again think you are overstating reality. Yes, they will be better. But vastly better? Enough to turn around what was, in the end, a very very mediocre basketball team? I hope so.
Exploiting their PG and SG speed, and C weaknesses is clearly the way to beat Duke. I'm just not sure how many ACC teams besides UNC have enough returning talent to pull that off, or if their in-bound frosh are enough to make the differnece without
Atsur/Gordon/Dowdell/Strawberry/Singletary/ JR Reynolds/Crittenden/Sean Marshall experience and talent. GA Tech losing Mario West but getting Lewis Clinch back is a wash but they will miss Crittenden and Young and FSU has no Al Thornton, BC no Jared Dudley, MD also loses Ibekwe, Mike Jones and their 7 footer, but still has Gist and two freshmen PGs returning, Wake loses Visser and Drum, etc.
ACC in general is pretty weak in PGs where Duke is not that strong overall but has heck of a shooting guard in that position, but neither are very many ACC teams besides UNC. Lawson should run away with first team ACC PG though voting is not necessarily by position.
Ditto for Tyler . Duke is weakest at his position, but after NC State McCauley/Costner and GA Tech Ra'Sean Dickey who burned them last year (but won't have Crittenden to get him the ball and play away where GA Tech usually loses), not that many high impact post guys in ACC. If May returns combined with Booker, Clemson could be tough for Duke.
One good post player can be double and triple teamed. It's the combos that can also hit from mid-range that are hard to defend, but not many of those tandems. Similarly it is not the one fast guard but the pair of them that is most problematic.
Let's not turn this into a UNC vs Duke player by player analysis. That is Duke's last ACC game in early February more than eight months from now, and there will be plenty of those threads. Let's at least wait until some of these guys have played a few college basketball games which thankfully is in November. Duke actually matches up pretty well with Ellington/Frasor; Green/Ginyard, and Thompson/Stevenson just need to find a way to neutralize Tyler and Lawson, and anything can happen in rivalry games.
Maui field will be an early test, and maybe Wisconsin but they lost a lot too and game is not @ Wisc,
but then a lot of home games and a lot of mostly weaker ACC teams pretty well assure talk of Duke demise are opposing fan base's hopes and exaggerations, not reality.
Let the games begin.
And to be honest, none of the examples of teams succeeding with small ball have succeeded at an elite level. The only team that did was UCLA, and I'd argue we aren't in their category defensively or at guard. I'd also say they really didn't play small ball (just had shorter big men).
And there aren't really any NBA success stories of teams playing only 6 players and succeeding. Phoenix was forced to do it, and they ran out of gas and lost. And that was only for one game. It can be argued that the 6-man lineup wore them out for the next game, when they were eliminated. Of course, this is topic is a largely irrelevant debate to me. I think it's clearly established that there's nothing wrong with a 7-8 man rotation in college basketball. UF won it with that approach.
Can we be a top-25 team playing small ball? Sure. Can we be a top-5 team playing small ball? I doubt it. I think we could sneak up and occasionally beat the elites, but wouldn't be able to win 4 in a row against elite competition (like the last 2 weeks of the tourney) that way. But luckily, I don't think we'll be doing that. It sounds like we agree that our bigs will get time and our small ball will be used in small doses.
good call. you know, because basketball is really a 2-man sport.
Its a team game, Jumbo.
And its really a shame that you have such difficulty with people disagreeing with you. Its makes you shrill and condescending. Very ugly.
I suggest pausing for a few minutes and thinking before posting. Give it a try.
"Just like you man. I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase." Omar Little