Phase II runs from the Colorado State game through Temple, our last pre-ACC game. We finished Phase I with a 7-1 record and are looking at a slower stretch with 4 home games plus a trip to the Garden and a trip to Philly.
1) Health – This is a pretty deep Duke team, so health is big but not necessarily a season-changer. We came through Phase 1 with one outstanding health issue - Alex. Did Alex’s concussion put him on the shelf for the season? Seems possible.
2) Team Defense – Duke’s defense is not up to par right now and I would expect this to be the biggest area of growth for the team in Phase 2. Through the first phase, they have played D well at times, but not for a full game and not the type of D that buries an opponent.
Perimeter D – Do we need some defensive minutes out of Gbinije in a Tyler Thornton-like stopper role? Can guards stop dribble penetration more, or do we change the scheme to contain? I’ll let the x and o experts tackles that last question, but it’s a concern.
Interior D – I am generally pleased with how our bigs have played on D so far. Their role could adjust with the defensive scheme of our perimeter players to more help, rotations and shot blocking. One point I see the need to improve upon is our bigs getting back on D, helping to prevent transition buckets.
Team D – Rotations to the help side have improved over Phase 1. The bigs need to help out when someone dribbles into the lane and I’ve seen a step in the right direction. Our guards need to help on the boards occasionally, in return. It’s hard via the tele to comment on communication, but I’d assume that fits with the leadership and chemistry thing mentioned at the end of this post. We seem to be playing a slightly slower pace, which could accelerate in Phase 2. But pace means learning to get back in transition and getting into the passing lanes. Can we increase pace, hurrying up lesser teams without turning the ball over too much?
Gimmick D – We used the 1-3-1 soft press once or twice in Phase 1 and the zone in Maui for one end of game possession (vs Tenn?). Those are useful tools to break out on occasion.
Transition – We need easy buckets. We need to generate them via D. How do we improve on this?
3) Rotation - We have gone 9 deep in the first half and 7 deep in the second half, so far. Can Josh and Quinn get consistent minutes, or will they be first half guys for the most part? The only real discussion is will anyone from the 8-11 bunch get more minutes? We have a shorter bench in tight games which should be shocking to no one. We have not had a serious foul trouble game…yet. Josh will be needed at some point in a tight game, probably Phase 3 in January on the road in the ACC, so I am glad he’s getting a few minutes now. I am not sure I care to speculate on minutes a ton, but Gbinije can earn some burn by performing in Phase 2.
4) Austin Rivers - This kid can get into the lane. Hot darn. He’s elite. He needs to keep his head up and either shoot the floater or drop off a pass to a big. I think this will increase the overall team offensive efficiency, and also create space for him to finish better in the lane. I said very purposefully that he can get into the lane at will. Next step is getting to the rim. No more charges or turnovers, finish those plays. Then he can start asserting himself at the right times. He’s a smart kid and he will become a killer soon. He wants it. A nit here: He needs to only shoot 3s in rhythm.
The biggest concern people have had about Austin was how he’d fit into the team. He has a great attitude and he’s reflective in a really positive way. That is wonderful to see, and has led to a ton of improvement in a month, so how much improvement can he make over the whole season? This kid is going to take off. In Phase 0, Kedsy said he thought Austin would follow the Barnes trajectory and I thought the same a month ago. But he’s not had a funky stretch lasting more than a half so far. He has the ball in his hands a good bit more than Barns last year and is not dealing with Larry Drew either.
He has only failed to score in double figures vs Michigan State this year. He’s reduced his turnovers from the first few games. He’s got 18 turnovers and 18 assists so far. Austin will make the leap in January, a month faster than Barnes. I’m feeling it. Oh yeah, he’s leading the team in scoring after 8 games.
5) Big Man Offense – This has been a focus so far. Let’s hope it remains so for purposes of offensive balance. Mason looks good, in that he is pretty assertive and shows no fear in shooting the ball. With more attempts, he’ll start hitting some of those jump hooks more often and gain confidence. Mason is leading the team in turnovers, so that’s a problem. He has games with 3, 3 and 5 field goal attempts, so it seems we are inconsistent in feeding him.
Ryan is playing well as the proverbial stretch 4. He had three straight games scoring 17, then 0 vs OSU. That’s something that I’m not sure how to describe: frustrating? evidence of a problem? Hmmm. Ryan needs to be more assertive and get a little meaner on the court. He’s a starter and a captain. Own it! Half his shots are 3s. Is that going to be the case all year? Do we need more rebounding and shotblocking out of him?
Miles can finish and he can body up on D. We can count on that. He’s got our Team D scheme down pat better than any of our top 6 in my opinion. To become a really big contributor on a title contender (our goal here), Miles should channel his inner-Zoubek and clean the glass. If he can up his offensive rebounding stats, he’ll be big in crunch minutes and can do that rebound, kick out for a 3 thing that Zoubek did so well. Miles’ stats are flat from his Sophomore to Senior years so I think making offensive rebounding his main mission could be the right thing for him. In Phase 1, his minutes have ranged from 8 to 23. If 23 is the upper bound and 17 is most likely, he should play with incredible intensity when he’s in there. He’s a fully evolved senior right now. He is who is, so now is the time to maximize what he’s good at (physical D, leaping ability, second leap) and minimize fouls and TOs.
Josh? He has two games with double figure minutes – PC and OSU – 29 combined minutes, 15 pts, 7 rebounds, 7-9 fgs. Will his productivity increase with increased, consistent usage? He’s not going to be a big offensive option, but he can help open things up for others and earn some minutes.
6) Andre Dawkins – Dawkins can disappear, reappear, etc. I really think his role is determined by the coaches and if they want more Andre, they need to adjust the offensive sets to get him shots. They can do that with more set plays, including set plays out of timeouts. Andre needs to develop a shot fake, his dribble drive and some mid range game to take a step as an offensive player. I also think he would get some nice open looks in a transition game. Andre (and maybe Ryan too) needs to play not just with sense of urgency, but also aggression. Andre can become our knockout punch guy.
Here’s a look at his stats:
• Minutes (and points) so far: 21 (6), 22 (4), 38 (26), 20 (5), 32 (10), 35 (14), 34 (6), 19 (0).
• 8.9 ppg, 27.6 minutes. Throw out the 26 vs. Mich St and it’s 6.5 points a game.
• Shooting .447 from 3. (Get him more shots!)
7) Point Guard - Seth is our starting point guard. Austin has the ball in his hands a lot. That’s the way it will be going forward. One of the things we can get better at is post feeds and pushing the pace. In Phase 2, against lesser teams, we’ll push the pace more, right?
I am pretty sure our offensive chemistry is not yet where it will be by the end of the year. But it’s getting better on the offensive end. The timing and location of screens needs to get better. Guys need to settle into better defined roles. How much of this is incumbent upon Seth growing into a more true point? I don’t know exactly, but I’m guessing it’s going to be a mix this year. The point guard position can collectively get us easier buckets (push the pace, execute) and also cut down on turnovers (get the ball in right place, right time). They can also force some turnovers by pressuring the ball.
I think we’ll see some new wrinkles in Phase 2, on set plays like lobs, out of bounds plays, and at the end of half. This is an incredibly valuable month to practice as a team and get better, as opposed to the rapid pace of games we had in November and will have from January on. I think Seth improves a lot during Phase 2 at running the team.
8) Leadership, Chemistry and Communication – This team is built out of former role players and a freshman. So while some of these guys have a lot of playing time the last few years and are talented, they were typically deferring to Jon, Kyle and Nolan. As they settle into their on-court roles I hope to see the killer instinct grow. In Phase 1 they allowed Belmont and Michigan State to sneak back into games. So the goal for Phase 2 ought to be to finish off an opponent.
Mason and Seth are emerging as leaders. Austin is emerging as our best offensive player. Coach K seems to trust Tyler as much as he did past leaders, like he is the coach’s proxy on the court like Duhon or Battier or Hurley were.
Coach K’s record is over and done with, a tough stretch of games behind us. We have a month of practice to get better, learn new things, get reps. This is the stretch of the season where Duke will either become a title contender or will be an inconsistent but really good team. With the wake-up call that was Ohio State, Duke should be properly motivated to work hard and get better.
Here’s some point in time metrics, closing out Phase 1.
• .469 FG% (down from .492 pre-OSU. Darn).
• .446 Opp FG%.
• .681 FT% (229 to 152 in attempts).
• .432 3pt%.
• +8 Rebounding differential on the season (total, not per game).
• -4 Offensive Rebound differential on the season, total. Doh!
• A:TO ratio: 93:108. Doh!
• 7.8 Steals per game.
• KenPom: 7th overall; AdjO: 116.3 (7th); AdjD: 90.6 (18th).
• Only averaging 77 points a game. This should increase in Phase 2, but we need to push pace more and get more secondary break points.
• Good: 23rd in FG %. 20th in 3pt % - 8 for 19 per game.
• Bad: 274th in rebounding, 249th in assists. 200th in steals. 217th in blocks.
Perhaps more important than scoring, or at a minimum, equally important is his continued development on defense. Duke will definitely play Carolina twice down the stretch of the regular season and perhaps a third time in the ACCT, with the match-up between Dawkins and Harrison Barnes being critical. A potential preview of that match-up will be available in Duke's upcoming game at Madison Square Garden against Washington and Terrence Ross. Ross is an exceptional player who isn't quite as big as Barnes but he has superior athleticism and is equal to Barnes as a shooter.
I have lots more thoughts on Phase II so I'll be back...
United States Navy (Retired)
I love these analyses, thanks.
Rebounding looks like a very big concern. That's been the case with other Duke teams, but the feeling was that what we gave up on the boards we gained through great perimeter defense and steals. Unfortunately, that's not the case so far.
Hard to complain about a 7-1 record against really good competition, but that's where I would most like to see improvement.
Quel est si drole de la paix, de l'amour, et de la comprehension?
Well done superdave! A very balanced write-up, articulating both the positives and negatives.
Austin Rivers: I'm very impressed by how quickly he's been improving his game. The attitude issue, which was my greatest concern about this kid has been put to rest. I wonder, if his game continues to develop at the pace we've seen so far, does K eventually make this Austin's team?
Big Man Offense: Probably the nicest surprise of the season has been the play of Mason. Watching the overseas games, I felt we were in for another year of ugly looking fade away jumpers. WOW, was I wrong. He's really becoming the total package as a post player. Hopefully his decision making will improve, as he becomes more accustomed to his new found post game. Ryan is exactly what we thought he could be. I don't mind his shot selection as the 3 ball is what his game revolves around. He still plays heady D and honestly I don't want him to attempt to be a banger in the post. Miles is as you say, "what he is." I'm quite happy with him being the team enforcer, the muscle in the post. Just play smart and lay the proverbial wood on the opposition when they try to score in the post.
Andre: Amazing how this kid continues to get his very own paragraph every write-up. We've had several long discussions in the past few days about his role with the team. Hopefully we aren't putting to much weight on his shoulders.
Good job, superdave. You hit most of the points, especially about defense, which will probably be our biggest question mark for the rest of the season.
To me, the next biggest question (after defense) for Phase II is the Quinn saga. Will Quinn step into a more prominent role, pushing Seth out of the PG role and Andre to the bench? If so, will our defense suffer even more as we get smaller and younger on the perimeter? How will Seth and Andre react to the change/reduction in role? This is probably the set of unanswered questions for which we have the least idea of the answers.
I agree with you that the "Andre question" is a big one for this phase. Whether he's starting or coming off the bench, we need him to be a major offensive threat. His usage % is lower than everyone on the team except Mike and Tyler (and Tyler at least handles the ball a lot when he's in). If the coaches coaxed Andre's usage % higher, either by asking him to be more aggressive or by running plays for him, would we see more performances like we saw against Michigan State? Having said that, I think Andre is an offensive threat even when he doesn't see the ball because he's so dangerous the defense can't ignore him.
I'm really anxious to see if Andre can gain some consistency and get into a groove during Phase II. I believe to be a great team, we need him to play a major part. On the other side of the coin, I'm sort of dreading the hypothetical possibility that he'll drift out of prominence and end up the 8th man, playing 10 minutes a game and taking two shots. I think if it happens that way, the team will be much worse for it.
I am dubious that by the end of this phase we'll have more than one of Quinn/Mike/Josh in the rotation. Assuming a 7 or at most 8 man rotation, Austin/Seth/Mason/Ryan/Miles/Andre/Tyler/Quinn would seem to negate the possibility of Mike or Josh getting a big role in important/close games. Although I suppose if Quinn plays a lot and we need more D at SF than at PG/SG, then conceivably Mike could replace Tyler in the rotation -- but personally I doubt that will happen. As you point out, Tyler is doing well and has Coach K's confidence.
However, having said all that, Phase II will be the time where we get to see if the guys currently at the bottom of the rotation will expand their roles.
Finally, Alex? Will he play at all, or is he really going to redshirt? This phase is when we'll probably find out the answer to that question.
What I think Miles has to do is cut down on his concentration lapses (fouls/missed defensive assignments/missed dunks, etc.) so he can stay in the game more and show off his already impressive offensive rebounding skills.
Last edited by Kedsy; 12-04-2011 at 12:36 PM.
In phase 2 we need to find out if Andre is really going to be able to contribute like a starter should. This is the perfect time to compare him to what others can do at small forward. I think the other starters are pretty well set, with Mason, Austin, Seth and Ryan all good to very good players with reasonble consistency. We should be able to win games during phase 2 if those four get starters minutes and we experiment with the small forward position. Giving Michael, Alex if he is physically able and Andre something like equal time should give the coaches a better idea of who can step up without risking too much. I wouldn't play Austin at Small forward since we really need him to avoid the fouls and banging against larger and stroner players. We need to keep him fresh and in the game for 35 minutes.
In Seth's case, he is wily and has a very good shot, however he is not super quick and he is unlikely to break down defenders off the dribble. I still think he should start, since he offers the best overall game at PG. Given that Austin will also be in the game a lot. I see Tyler as a substitute when Austin goes out and either Quinn or Tyler when Seth goes out. Quinn seems to have the highest potential to become a penetrating PG and one who is pass first but also has some scoring potential. I don't see a three guard lineup with a combination of Quinn, Seth, Tyler and Austin being viable other than perhaps an end of game scenario.
Miles actually played better against OSU than he has in most other games. He will probably remain first sub off the bench for Mason and Ryan. Someone said he seems to lack focus out there, picking up cheap fouls and losing the ball. I agree, and having watched him now for a number of years, while he has gotten stronger, his composure on the court hasn't gotten to be a strong point. Could he have a Zoubek type of metamorphasis? Anything is possible, but he probably will play at an acceptable level for a sub and that will be what I expect going forward.
Lets hope that in phase 2 that the determination and toughnss shown by Mason and Austin in the OSU game will become be copied by our other players.
Good points, SuperDave.
A concern of mine: Free Throw Shooting -- We have GOT to improve on this, especially Mason. This could bite us badly in a close big game.
I am certainly not suggesting starting G ahead of Andre or giving G more minutes than Andre in most games. But I would give him more minutes at the 3, and maybe Andre would benefit from being more fresh by subbing G in more.
Given the low opinion of Harrison Barnes' abilities on DBR, maybe I am the only one worried about defending him and other true small forwards like Kidd-Gilchrist. But I can envision everyone playing UNC to a draw at 4 positions while HB hits uncontested jump shots over a smaller defender or some other team attacks us by posting up their small forward over our shooting guard playing the 3.
It may well end up that Andre is the optimal solution for us at the 3, taking everything into account including the alternatives.
I wonder what Andre's bodyfat % is. Is he trying to carry more weight in order to be stronger against opposing SFs? He might be better off dropping a few lbs. and being quicker.
Scott Wood at NCSU? Okaro White at FSU? Joe Harris at Virginia? I'm probably overlooking someone really talented, but I just don't see any small forwards in the league that strike terror into my heart.
United States Navy (Retired)
If MP2 could get to ~60% FTs, i'd be pleased. If AR got to ~75-80%, i'd be pleased.
I'm most concerned about the NCAA tourney, that if possible we develop Mike G during the regular season to the extent we can so that if we need to use him on a defensive matchup, at least he's got some experience going into such a situation.
I wouldn't put much stock in what some people say about HB on this board. Let's remember this is the kid who Skyped us and some people will never forgive him for how all that played out. I view these folks the same I view those folks on other boards who badmouth kids just because they decided to go elsewhere. Bottom line if Coach K wanted HB, it's because the kid can play.
Hopefully this next phase will enable us to workout the various kinks in our collective armor. Whether it's Dre, Silent G, or Alex at the 3, I don't really care, as long as they are solid and consistent I'll be happy.
P.S. It's nice to have solid depth where we can even have a position controversy.
Regarding the DBR's view of HB, while the way he handled his recruitment will always be a sore spot with Duke fans, I don't feel that has anything to do with the assessment of HB's game at the moment. For one thing, the aforementioned sore spot is about how the kid handled his recruitment, and not the fact he chose UNC. At least for most here anyway.
It is more than fair to state that at the moment, HB is a jumpshooter, with a handle not good enough to attack the rim in traffic. He struggles mightily when he tries to drive the lane. He often gets stopped dead in his tracks, or stripped. It is just not something HB is good at right now. He is however, deadly as a catch and shoot jumpshooter, as well as a one or two dribble pull up jumpshooter from mid-range or 3 Point Land. Which makes him a stud on the perimeter. Also, his release is really high, which allows him to get the shot off on most any defender. You have to make him drive to slow him down which is tough to do. If he was good at attacking off the dribble he would be unstoppable. We he improve in that area? Maybe. It is weird to me, because he has great length, great strength, and good jumping ability, but overall his athleticism is a bit average. For some reason he struggles to cross defenders over or make smooth spin moves. He looks very awkward trying the latter. It's just odd. But even with the weaknesses, he is a very dangerous player on the college level. Had he gotten the pass from Henson yesterday I would bet a lot of money he would have drained it.
I do hope Silent G develops quickly enough that by the time we see UNC, we can alternate him and Andre all game long against HB. With his length and athleticism, Silent G can give HB problems, if he has progressed enough as a Duke defender. Agree with others, that would be a tremendous asset to this Duke team.
Duke FB 2013 Coastal Division Football Champions
Kedsy, It's a little surprising that you think Quinn can take away the PG spot from Seth. To clarify, are you saying Quinn CAN pull this off and become the main guy at the 1? Or are you actually advocating for this because you think we need a true point? What is the likelihood of this shift in your mind?
I think Quinn has been pretty good defensively so far this season so I am happy to see him get more minutes. He's so fluid with the ball in his hands and seems to have good court vision. I think he could help us push the pace a little more.
But I also know that Coach K plays his best guys heavy minutes. Unless Quinn really improves in December (or Andre stays the same and starts to lose minutes) then I am not sure I see Quinn playing more than 5-10 minutes and pushing Seth into the 2-guard spot.
Super "In all honesty, I'd like to see Quinn take a few of Tyler's minutes rather than Andre's." Dave
To me, that report alone, founded or unfounded, makes the Quinn question something to watch in Phase II. Are the people (like me) who say Seth is performing well at PG and Andre needs to start correct? Or does Coach K disagree? It's something I very much want to know, and I'll be watching to see what happens in Phase II.
If only we could combine Tyler's D and Quinn's O into one guy...
I mentioned in another thread that the thing that bothered me the most about the OSU drubbing is no Duke player stepped up and got on teammates vocally. I did notice Mason pulling the guys into a huddle on the court during dead-balls, but during timeouts no player seemed to step up and go off on the group to get their heads out of their rears and play ball ala Lance Thomas in the 74-47 Clemson game in 08. Someone has to be that guy. It can't just be a coach. Also, two years ago, during every stoppage on the floor, Lance would pull the guys together and immediately look to the bench for instructions, then bark them to his teammates. Last year it was Nolan or Kyle that did that. Seth seems to have taken on that role at least, but it may be during this Phase that Mason or Ryan step up and take on all of the responsibilities of a on-court/in the Timeout Huddle Leader.
During this phase, Mason or Ryan, or Seth really need to step up as vocal leaders. It has to be one of them because they are the upperclassmen that will get the most minutes.
I also got to hear Coach Capel in an interview this morning, but I will put those comments in a separate post.