But I'm sure Coach K and the rest of the staff have thought a lot more about this than I have, and that there are good reasons why we're not seeing it. Perhaps Austin is too valuable as a scorer to have him play point. Maybe with his fierce scorer's mentality he is not pass oriented enough to play PG, although he has shown the ability to make nice passes. Maybe the staff wants to develop other players at the point. Whatever it is, I'm sure there are good reasons, even if they are not evident to us mere mortals.
I'm just getting around to watching the game, but after reading this thread I wanted to make some quick comments first.
This isn't your ordinary Duke team. There's a lot of talent, we're very deep. Unfortunately this is one of the rare times that we haven't returned any bonafide stars. All our returning players were role players being asked to step-up and to a certain extent were being asked to be the man. As we saw years ago when we asked a very talented Chris Duhon to take over the point from a departed Jason Williams, it didn't go as smoothly as many of us expected. It took a full year for Chris to develop his mastery of the team and he eventually had an outstanding senior year.
Seth was asked to take over the point, a position which isn't his normal one. Could the transition have been smoother if he was surrounded by more established players? It's very possible, however that isn't the make-up of our team and I'd say this experiment is a failure. This isn't a knock on Seth, as I seem to recall Nolan's first crack at running the point didn't go over so well two years ago.
As I said above this isn't your normal Duke team and I believe if several of the players currently battling for playing time can't seperate themselves from their peers, then we'll continue to see Coach K play a deeper rotation than years past.
"Just be you. You is Enough."
I agree that he also excels at team defense and apparently is the best communicator (or leader?) on the team.
I think it's understandable that many fans (I include myself) wonder if Tyler is really the best option, given his lack of offensive production and his good, but not exceptional, on the ball defense. Those are things that are apparent to the to casual fans and to relatively sophisticated fans.
Obviously, the coaching staff sees things we don't see, or he wouldn't be starting. While I am on occasion willing to question coaching decisions, it seems to me that I simply don't know enough to question Tyler's playing time.
As noted by Jim Sumner in his excellent game recap:I was a freshman in 1982 (Dean Smith's first NCAA title) and we won 10 that year and 11 in 1983 (Valvano's title year), and I remember someone saying back then that Duke had the longest streak of 10-win seasons. I wonder who is second? We know who it's not - 8-20 in 2002!Duke ran its record to 10-1, keeping intact an NCAA-leading record of double-figure winning seasons that started in 1928-29. This was actually a big deal at one time. Try 1974 or 1982, for example
Last edited by Johnboy; 12-20-2011 at 01:34 PM. Reason: clarity
Coach K indicated in post game that both Seth and Ryan are coming back from injuries.
Miles had the best +/- @26, Austin +23, while Mason had the best overall game
DU UNCG Metrics +/- Total Duke Blue Devils
54 (43) 52 11 63 Mason Plumlee, F
59 (36) 40 23 63 Austin Rivers, G
53 (27) 35 26 61 Miles Plumlee, F
62 (48) 39 14 53 Andre Dawkins, G
45 (29) 34 16 50 Ryan Kelly, F
47 (32) 33 15 48 Quinn Cook, G
41 (29) 24 12 36 Michael Gbinije, G-F
32 (27) 26 +5 31 Seth Curry, G
29 (17) 17 12 29 Tyler Thornton, G
24 (21) 19 +3 22 Josh Hairston, F
04 (6) 01 (2) (1) Todd Zafirovski, F
Here are the various lineups and +/- results for each:
PT Duke UNCG +/-
7.0 11 10 1 Seth-Austin-Mason-Ryan-Tyler *3
4.9 08 10 (2) Seth-Austin-Dre-Mason-Miles *2
2.8 10 04 6 Dre-Ryan-Mason-Quinn-Mike
2.6 9 1 8 Austin-Dre-Mason-Miles-Tyler
2.4 6 5 1 Austin-Dre-Miles-Quinn-Josh
2.4 6 4 2 Seth-Austin-Dre-Ryan-Miles *2
2.2 4 0 4 Seth-Austin-Mason-Miles-Tyler *2
2.1 4 6 (2) Dre-Quinn-Josh-Mike-Todd
2.0 3 3 0 Seth-Miles-Quinn-Josh-Mike
1.8 4 0 4 Dre-Miles-Quinn-Josh-Mike
1.7 5 5 0 Dre-Mason-Ryan-Qiuinn-Mike
1.6 5 4 1 Austin-Dre-Mason-Ryan-Tyler
1.4 5 2 3 Austin-Ryan-Miles-Quinn-Mike
1.2 3 0 3 Dre-Ryan-Miles-Quinn-Mike
1.1 0 0 0 Seth-Dre-Miles-Tyler-Josh
1.1 2 7 (5) Dre-Mason-Quinn-Josh-Mike
1.0 5 0 5 Austin-Miles-Quinn-Josh-Mike
0.4 0 0 0 Austin-Dre-Ryan-Miles-Tyler
0.4 0 0 0 Seth-Dre-Miles-Quinn-Josh
0.2 0 2 (2) Dre-Mason-Miles-Tyler-Mike
40.0 90 63 27
- limit fluidity of the offense (Rivers has primarily been an isolation player)
- hinder Rivers' freedom to attack (make him uncertain about when to pass)
So far the offensive approach has been a guard (generally Curry or Thornton) bringing the ball up and passing to the wing. At that point, we have 3 wings, one post, and a forward who sets high screens. If we move Rivers to PG, I see the same approach happening. But does Rivers become less aggressive, thinking he needs to change his role and set up others? Does he end up taking even more shots (since he'll be the one bringing it up and deciding how to initiate the offense)? Or do we simply end up with the same thing but a different guy bringing the ball up?
And as (I believe) you've noted before, I don't think that offensive efficiency has been the problem for this team. We've been pretty good (top 10) offensively so far. It's on defense where we've struggled at times.
But the main reason I have been wondering what we'd be like with Austin at PG is on defense. Austin hasn't stayed in front of his man so well thus far, but he's tall (for a guard), quick, and athletic. And very competitive. If Coach K challenged him with the task of shutting down the opposing PG, I'd like to see how Austin would react. If he could embrace the role of lockdown defender (and if he was capable of it, of which I'm not at all sure), the team would be significantly better. And unless the other team's SG is unusually tall or strong, Seth and Tyler might be better suited to guard the wing anyway, where their quick hands would bother a lesser ballhandler more and their tendencies to help off their man wouldn't be leaving the PG alone. Also, if Austin became successful at shutting down the ball, it would allow us to ratchet up the defense in bursts, as Michael improves and earns some time at SF.
Of course, Austin may not be capable of being that kind of defender, in which case we'd have to play someone at PG who is, or at least someone who is more capable than we've shown in some of our early games.
Seriously, Nolan Smith usually guarded the other team's PG in 2010.
Duke has been pretty consistent on Rivers. They want the ball in his hands. A lot. But they want him to attack the glass at every reasonable opportunity. They would like him to respond to help D better by finding the open man. But initiating the offense is not his primary job.
Between Curry, Thornton and Cook, Duke should be able to let Rivers play off the ball.
- Turn the keys over to Quinn and hope he grows. You wont hear the end of this on these boards, I predict.
- Keep Seth running the point with the acknowledgement that Austin will have the ball in his hands. Essentially, keep the current four-man backcourt rotation.
- Switch Austin and Seth and make it a total switch.
I personally think Seth is trying to figure out how he relates on the court to everyone and he's going to get a lot better once that settles out for him. As long as Austin has the ball a lot, it lessens the need to lean on Seth's natural point guard abilities. But as long as we have defensive deficiencies, Tyler is going to play significant minutes at the expense of our our best backcourt/wing lineup (Dawkins, Curry,Rivers).
Ahhhhhghh. Tradeoffs. I really want this to start to get fixed.
Either way, I think we're a stronger team with Tyler and Quinn coming off the bench than with Andre coming off the bench, although certainly Andre has looked very good so far in his sixth man role.
Honestly, I'm not sure whether it matters who is guarding the PG. None of our guys including Rivers have shown to be consistently effective in stopping dribble penetration (and some of that blame goes to hesitant hedges by the bigs). It's possible that Rivers could do better at it than Curry.