Excellent post. And, like our offense, our defense will improve as the season progresses.
I am a very infrequent poster. Very. However, I feel the need to post this morning. Simply put, this team is freaking good. Coming into the season I felt this was going to be a journey, and the team would be a tough out come March, but I felt they had Elite 8 potential at best. I feel comfortable in saying just a few games in I am sadly mistaken. This team has exceeded my expectations already. This is not the best Duke team in terms of talent. However, it's been a long time since Duke had 5 to 6 guys that could go double figures every night. This team can have several guys not play well, and they can still beat good teams. The mark of a good team is the ability to beat quality teams when you don't play your best. The Plumlees and Dawkins were pretty absent last night so Kelly, Rivers, and Curry picked up the slack. Rivers was off the other night so Dawkins picked up the slack. Overall, Curry is much better than I think we all thought. He's not lightning quick but he's effective with his movements. There's no wasted motion with him, and he has quick hands. Rivers is only going to get better, and the same with Mason. I think Miles is what he is to an extent though. Great athlete, but just terrible hands, and questionable judgment. Kelly is showing the country what Duke fans saw in China, and Tyler (fouls too much) and Josh are no slouches when needed either. I hope they redshirt Murphy this year, which it appears they are doing.
It doesn't even matter if Duke loses tonight, this team is going to be a tough out come March, and if they're hitting the 3 ball forget it. I said to myself a few times late first half/mid 2nd, "this team is good." They are. The 1 concern we saw last night, which was a carbon copy of the Arizona game was perimeter defense and lapses in team defense for stretches. Both teams shot lights out in the 2nd half, but there were a lot of uncontested good shots. That is the one concern I have. However, Coach K never ceases to amaze me, and the China trip did wonders. I got a text from my buddy the UK graduate last night. He said, "I'd put Duke in the UNC/UK upper echelon. I am not sure if they are in the UNC, OSU, UK (They won't win it all.) category, but they're damn good. This is not a team I'd want to play come March.
Last edited by Newton_14; 11-23-2011 at 12:54 PM. Reason: language
Excellent post. And, like our offense, our defense will improve as the season progresses.
"Enjoy every sandwich" -- Warren Zevon
When we lose, it will be because we can't contain the opponent, not because we can't score.
Agree with the OP.
This team is already a good team. We've played a tough opening schedule and done quite well. Our next two games present big challenges, and we'll know even more about our strengths and weaknesses after Kansas and Ohio State.
One of the OP's great points was the balance of the team. On the interior Miles has turned into a guy who will contribute consistently, while Mason and Ryan both have the ability to dominate games. On our perimeter, ýou can see the star in Rivers developing...rapidly. Curry is probably our most consistent player so far this season (if not him, then he's a close second to RK). Dawkins can score in a hurry when he's on and can be a game changer, although he's probably not going to be that guy every night. Thornton is that intangibles guy that every team needs and K loves.
We've got all the pieces in place with those 7 guys, and they seem to be gelling together nicely. Our other guys, particularly Cook and Hairston, may very well grow into important contributors this year, and that depth is always nice. But our first 7 is a good, good team, and shows every sign that they will improve markedly as the year goes on.
Addendum: just read Uh_No's post and have to agree with the defensive concern. I haven't focused on that because of my faith that K will be able to dramatically improve our defense over the year, especially our tendency to lose intensity and focus for stretches of the game. We've already seen significant improvement in our perimeter defense compared. Hopefully the defensive improvements will continue.
Brian Zoubek on what was going through his mind walking to the free throw line with 3.6 seconds remaining in the 2010 National Championship game and Duke up by 1: "Fifty percent [of me is] thinking, This is what I've been dreaming of doing my entire life. Fifty percent I'm crapping my pants."
That said, with a week to prepare, I like our coaches better than anyone's coaches, and there's so much talent that we could come out of there with a W. This team is a lot better at this point in the season than I expected them to be, and when Rivers gets under control and defenses have to respect him, there are a lot of weapons waiting on the wings. This will be a fun year regardless of the outcome.
Nice piece from ESPN, focusing on Duke's backcourt and early success
Duke's Curry, Rivers developing chemistry
This is most evident in the team’s bloodline backcourt of Austin Rivers and Seth Curry, who look like brothers and are starting to take on the look of old friends. There’s no questioning the talent there, but it wasn’t a lock that it was going to fit together. Neither would be defined as a true point guard, and both really need to control the ball to be effective. They also are probably Mike Krzyzewski’s two most talented players, and he was determined to play them together and figure out a way to make it work.
I'm a visionary. I'm not the only one noticing these things, I'm just the 1st to notice. As far as the defense, I wasn't understating it. It is a concern.
I think that December is going to be a crucial month for this team. Particularly the break they get between the Washington and Eastern Michigan games. Christmas is in there, and what boils down to an exhibition type game with UNCG. K has used this time in the past to work out any kinks that he sees in November and I think for this team that period of time is crucial. Defense will be what derails this team this year. They have more offensive weapons than they've had in recent years. Maybe dating back to the J-Will years. My main concerns all revolve around defense. One is the inability for anyone to stop the dribble drive and the other is that we can't seem to hold a lead on anyone. Part of that has to do with some bad decisions on offense once we are up double figures on someone, but part of it is not being able to stop teams. We've been able to hang on because players have stepped up on the offensive side and just outscored teams, but it would be nice if we could shut someone down at the end of a game.
It's tough to decide who to pull of the court because all of our starters can score the ball, but I'd like to see Gbinijie get some "Elliot Williams" time on the floor as maybe a stopper on defense. Thornton sort of plays this role, but against a bigger guard like Hardaway Jr., he can't match up. Plus he's a walking foul. Rivers may develop into this guy for us, but I still think we need to get another athlete on the floor some.
A few things have me optimistic on the season regardless of what happens vs. Kansas:
-The team's rate of improvement over a 5-6 game span is impressive
-There's still a ton of upside if Rivers learns to play smarter and MP1 starts playing like a senior
-Duke's schedule is tough. They will see losses along the way but they re playing multiple final four favorites, which should provide ample opportunity to grow.
-The main areas of concern (defense, end of game situations) are mental. This team has loads of skill and talent and mostly needs to work on decision-making, which is relatively easy to fix.
Should be a fun ride.
I truly believe that as Miles settles down and find an offensive rhythm that Duke will be a force to be reckoned with. We need Miles bulk and strength (with an occasional bucket) in order to fine-tune our inside out game and to keep teams honest on both ends of the floor. Duke has so much room for growth and once we start cutting our teeth, this team should have the capability of making this a special season.
I've only watched a couple of games this year but this year's team has a lot of skills and is fun to watch. It appears that their defense and passing have a ways to go but it is very early in the season. I've followed Duke basketball for nearly 50 years and this team has the potential to be the best shooting Duke team I've seen.
I apologize for being late to the party but are the youngest Plumlee and Murphy being red shirted?
Lets be honest. At Duke or any other program with such a basketball pedigree the expectations are to compete for a national championship. Duke nation does not sit around and hope we have a good year with all the new faces. Coach K will tell you the same. We play to win championships. Some seasons we know when the team has a legit chance and some years we hope and cheer that somehow we can do it even when we know realistically Duke doesn't have much of a shot. 2001 we knew it. 1998 we thought we knew it. 2010 was why we never give up hope. 1986 still hurts. 1991 and 1992 are so special that a few words can't begin to tell the story. We knew though. This year I truley believe. We have all the parts. Yes there might be stumbles along the way, but if you think about how good we are now, think about how great we will become by March. I did not know if Duke truley deserved a number 6 ranking to begin the season. They do. More so they have earned it. This team passes the eyeball test when it comes to seeing if they have what it takes to be a championship team on every level. I just wish we could kick Roy's I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this. tonight like so many times before when he was at Kansas. I like doing it more though since he is down the road. We have something for you UNC. Go to hell carolina. LETS GO DUKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!