Much has been said the past month (and again in the thread about today's GT game) about the third scorer. Duke needs to find another scoring threat to go along with Nolan and Kyle if they hope to win another NC.
I think part of this mentality comes from last years triple threat of John, Nolan and Kyle. They were all so good at going on a run in any game, that if one was off we always had two others picking up the slack. With John gone, the fear is that if either Nolan or Kyle are off, it may be too much to ask that just one of them pick up the slack for the other.
But all season, we have been seeing that the "Third Scorer" has been the rest of the team. We seem to have someone else stepping up every game to help out.
Call me old fashioned, but I don't think we need to look for a "Third Scorer." As long as everyone on the team contributes and every game, someone else steps up, what more can you ask for? This team has done well as a team and should go far in the tourney, even without a designated "Third Scorer."
1/2 Miami - Andre Dawkins 16 points
1/9 Maryland - Seth Curry 12 points
1/12 Florida State - Seth Curry 8 points, Andre Dawkins 8 points***
1/15 Virginia - Andre Dawkins 14 points
1/19 NC State - Ryan Kelly 11 points, Miles Plumlee 11 points
1/22 Wake Forest - Ryan Kelly 20 points
1/27 Boston College - Seth Curry 20 points, Ryan Kelly 14 points
2/2 Maryland - Mason Plumlee 12 points, Andre Dawkins 11 points
2/5 NC State - Mason Plumlee 16 points, Seth Curry 13 points
2/9 North Carolina - Seth Curry 22 points
2/13 Miami - Seth Curry 16 points, Mason Plumlee 12 points
2/16 Virginia - Ryan Kelly 11 points
We are averaging 76.1 points per game in ACC contests so scoring points has not been a problem. What I desire to see is good movement on offense with both players and the ball in motion. Sometimes we look a little stagnant with too much standing around. When players are moving and the extra pass is thrown the offense looks great.
*** So our only loss is the game where we didn't have a "Third Scorer" in double figures.
United States Navy (Retired)
I'm perfectly happy without a traditional 3rd scorer. I'd be perfectly happy with it mixing up game by game. Although I do think Mason is becoming as consistent a player we've seen outside of Nolan and Kyle.
I'm holding out hope that Kyrie comes back and solves that problem. I tend to agree that it's not much of a problem though. Seems like somebody always steps up every game. Right now I'm just hoping Singler catches fire much like he did last year.
I'm not sure having a different guy do it every game "counts" as having a 3rd scorer. I mean, it's not like Nolan and Kyle are getting 50 and 30 every game, and we play a pretty quick pace, so yeah, someone's going to end up getting double digit points most games. It doesn't necessarily mean we've found another consistent scoring threat. Most of the times when Kelly or a Plumlee has a good scoring game, I think it's largely because of intentional decisions by the opposing defense or great play by Smith or Singler (Curry's another story though). Even the 2006 team, which has to be one of the most 2-man-ish teams in Duke history, almost always had McRoberts or Melchioni or someone in double figures.
With all that said, last year made me lose a lot of my preconceptions about what is required to win a national title. I stand by saying that "the team" is the 3rd scorer is incredibly lame. But I agree we might be able to win the NC without one.
One benefit of the team as the 3rd scorer is that it doesn't allow the opposition to focus on shutting down 3 guys. It makes Duke more difficult to game-plan.
Scroll down to see the ACC Overall Statistics.
United States Navy (Retired)
So yes it is to Duke's advantage to have the possible 3rd option being 4 different guys. Just how do you prepare for that? I don't think there is a team who can shut down all of Duke option's, except for Duke and not being able to hit their shots.
Duke will win almost [and probably] all close games in which:
a. either Kyle or Nolan is superb, and
b. either Seth or Andre scores 12-15 points and plays good D, and
c. either Ryan or Mason or Miles gets near a double-double [or, as an alternate, collectively they produce, say, 18 and 18, with 3-4 blocks], and
d. Duke plays every play on D
I think Bob Green's summary above generally supports my hypothesis, though I'm not 100% certain, and might be gently corrected by more informed posters.
Let me push this a bit. First, Duke hasn't actually played many close games. For purposes of testing my hypothesis, it seems reasonable to focus on the wins over Miami (away) and UNC, and the loss at FSU. [I'm going to ignore my point (d) above, though it could probably be measured, with some detailed research.]
a. Nolan was superb - took over in the 2d half, 16 points, after 1st half injury
b. Seth - 16
c. Miles, Mason, Ryan combined - 27 pts, 12 rbds, 2 blocks - I will claim that 27/12/2 is the effective equivalent of 18/18/3
a. Nolan was, uh, superb - 34
b. Seth - 22
c. MM&R combined - 10/24/4, allowing me to claim this fits my hypothesis [I think....]
a. Kyle had 20, Nolan 19, but actually Derwin Kitchen was the superb player that night
b. Seth and Andre combined for 16, so I'm not sure whether that supports my hypothesis or not
c. MM&R - 6/19/2 - not within the parameters of what I see as necessary to win close games
In the close wins over Miami and UNC, I think it's fair to say that all 3 of a, b, and c were accomplished, so Duke won.
Against, FSU, only b might even marginally be said to have been accomplished, so Duke lost.
Aren't all enigmas perplexing? Or only when they are coupled with riddles and puzzles?
I like that we have several players beyond Nolan and Kyle capable of big games and that we should be able to take what the defense gives us.
The third scorer enigma? How perplexing can it be, when this years team has won more games than last years team at this time? Maybe not relying so much on just three scorers all the time is a good thing, as mentioned upthread. The enigma maybe how does a team go from playing with three seniors to just two. Part of the fun is watching how a team develops. When you have a great coach and a young team, it is even more interesting to watch how he does it, and see how it all comes together.
Id rather it be Kyrie...
United States Navy (Retired)
Well, what we seem to have is about 3 or 4 guys, Andre, Mason, Ryan, and Seth who can step up on any particular occasion. However, if you notice something, not one of them can get their own shot (Seth maybe excepted) on a consistent basis; they're usually dependent on teammates to find them when they're open. So basically, it just sort of comes down to game by game matchups and who's hot; sometimes it's one player, sometimes it's another. As long as someone steps up every game, I think we can live with it not being the same person every game. And, it makes us much harder to defend; since the other team doesn't know who to key on each game (besides the big 2, obviously), they can't set their defenses before the game as stated above. Maybe that's the way it should be.