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  1. #1

    Year of the Low Post Offense?

    In the pre-season, our coaching staff emphasized that this season we would have an uncharacteristic offense for Duke: an offense run through our big men. This doesn't seem to have happened. My question is "Why?"

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by hustleplays View Post
    In the pre-season, our coaching staff emphasized that this season we would have an uncharacteristic offense for Duke: an offense run through our big men. This doesn't seem to have happened. My question is "Why?"
    Why? Because the inside players have to perform offensively the way they were asked/needed to. Have the Plumlee's and Kelly done that consistently? That's why the plan changed.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by hustleplays View Post
    In the pre-season, our coaching staff emphasized that this season we would have an uncharacteristic offense for Duke: an offense run through our big men. This doesn't seem to have happened. My question is "Why?"
    Because Wojo is too short?

    Tempting to think so, but here's the real reason. Post presence, you say? In the Chinese calendar, it is the Year of the Dragon, rather than the Year of the Wheat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hustleplays View Post
    In the pre-season, our coaching staff emphasized that this season we would have an uncharacteristic offense for Duke: an offense run through our big men. This doesn't seem to have happened. My question is "Why?"
    I would argue that the post players have carried the offense at times, although that hasn't happened in past few games, mostly due to Mason's slump. However, even though he's been in a slump, we have still emphasized getting him touches. That being said, recently the perimeter players have been far more consistent and reliable.

    Even with the current slump, Mason is still averaging almost 11 points per game. And this is with his being truly terrible at the line. If he were shooting a better percentage from the free throw line, he would easily be our 3rd leading scorer behind Austin and Seth. As it is, he barely trails Ryan who is currently third in scoring. As it is right now, our forwards who play the most minutes (Ryan, Mason, and Miles) combine for about 30 points per game. That's approximately 37.5% of our almost 80 points per game. Considering that they occupy 2 of the 5 spots on the court at any given time during the game, we would expect them to score 40% of the points if we were to have a perfectly balanced offense. 37.5% is not very far off of that mark. Add in better free throw shooting from Mason and you probably get a little bit over 40%. Even though Mason hasn't quite been as consistent as we might have hoped, he has been good. Combined with his brother and Ryan, they are absolutely contributing enough offense to keep us balanced. Recent high profile matchups (UNC and FSU) combined with Mason's scoring drought have skewed the national media's perception of how our team scores buckets, but Duke has gotten effective production from its big men all season, even if the offense has not been consistently run through them.

  5. #5
    I think it has been more post-oriented than in recent years. For a long time this season Mason was our most consistent player and we were feeding him the ball. Ryan has been up and down and his game isn't really suited for the traditional "feed the post" type of offense. Miles has stepped up but his offense is more like Zoubek's, he'll make some nice post moves from time to time but the bulk of his offensive contributions will be created by others or garbage buckets by crashing the glass. Essentially, Mason is the only one who has proven on a consistent basis to be able to receive a post entry pass and make a post move and finishing on most of those post moves. However, Mason has hit a slump the last few weeks for whatever reason. Duke currently has 4 players averaging double figures and two of them are Mason and Ryan.

  6. #6
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    I think we've gotten away from making a deliberate effort to get the ball into the post. The question is, did we go away because the Plumlees were ineffective, or are they ineffective because they don't get the ball? In my mind, when the ball goes inside good things happen more often than not. And there are plenty of times they're open underneath and we just don't pass them the ball. I mean like a dozen times per game for Mason and probably five times a game for Miles. It's really frustrating to watch and I'm sure it's really frustrating for the players too.

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    I would not mind our guards becoming better at entry passes into the post but by this point I think we've learned that running the offense through Rivers is the best option. IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hustleplays View Post
    In the pre-season, our coaching staff emphasized that this season we would have an uncharacteristic offense for Duke: an offense run through our big men. This doesn't seem to have happened. My question is "Why?"
    My recollection is that he said we would emphasize our post players on offense, NOT that we would have "an offense run through our big men." To me, there's a big difference.

    And compared to the past several years, we are emphasizing our post players on offense. Looking at "usage," or possession percentage, Mason is 2nd on the team with 22.1% (Austin leads the team with 23.7%). Ryan (21.6%) and Seth (21.8%) are virtually tied for third on the team. Quinn is at 20.7%, although in limited minutes. Miles (18.3%) is quite a bit ahead of Andre (16.5%).

    Anyway, looking at these numbers, it's true we're not emphasizing our big men as much as UNC or Ohio State, nor should we be, but our big men are seeing the ball at a comparable rate to Kentucky's big men, for example, and at a much better rate than the past few Duke teams. So I guess what I'm saying is I don't think the premise underlying your question is accurate.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    And compared to the past several years, we are emphasizing our post players on offense. Looking at "usage," or possession percentage, Mason is 2nd on the team with 22.1% (Austin leads the team with 23.7%). Ryan (21.6%) and Seth (21.8%) are virtually tied for third on the team. Quinn is at 20.7%, although in limited minutes. Miles (18.3%) is quite a bit ahead of Andre (16.5%).
    I didn't mention Josh, but he's also playing big man (and also playing limited minutes), and his usage pct is 19.8%, reinforcing that our big men are getting the ball a pretty decent amount. For completeness sake, Tyler's is 11.5%.

    Also, as a caveat, I should mention that usage % is not a perfect indicator of how often a player touches the ball, but I do think it's the closest stat we have.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    My recollection is that he said we would emphasize our post players on offense, NOT that we would have "an offense run through our big men." To me, there's a big difference.

    And compared to the past several years, we are emphasizing our post players on offense. Looking at "usage," or possession percentage, Mason is 2nd on the team with 22.1% (Austin leads the team with 23.7%). Ryan (21.6%) and Seth (21.8%) are virtually tied for third on the team. Quinn is at 20.7%, although in limited minutes. Miles (18.3%) is quite a bit ahead of Andre (16.5%).

    Anyway, looking at these numbers, it's true we're not emphasizing our big men as much as UNC or Ohio State, nor should we be, but our big men are seeing the ball at a comparable rate to Kentucky's big men, for example, and at a much better rate than the past few Duke teams. So I guess what I'm saying is I don't think the premise underlying your question is accurate.
    In the last three games:
    Against VT Duke shot 24 threes. Mason took 5 shots.
    Against FSU we shot 28 threes. Mason took 1 shot.
    Against BC we shot 22 threes. Mason took 5 shots.
    If that is emphasizing post play then I have never watched a basketball game in my life.

    I don't have a problem with our game plan, but the idea that we are emphasizing our post players is just incorrect.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by loldevilz View Post
    In the last three games:
    Against VT Duke shot 24 threes. Mason took 5 shots.
    Against FSU we shot 28 threes. Mason took 1 shot.
    Against BC we shot 22 threes. Mason took 5 shots.
    If that is emphasizing post play then I have never watched a basketball game in my life.

    I don't have a problem with our game plan, but the idea that we are emphasizing our post players is just incorrect.
    You're not looking at the big picture. How much you see the ball is not just a function of shots. You have to factor in free throws and turnovers as well, plus your minutes must be factored in. For example, Mason only played 17 minutes against BC. He took more than 20% of Duke's shots while he was in the game and also turned the ball over 3 times. His usage rate in that game was 24.9%, which is really pretty high. (For comparison sake, Tyler Zeller's average usage rate this year is 24.6%.) Miles's usage rate in that game was even higher (25.2%). So, I have no opinion on whether you have ever watched a basketball game in your life, but the fact is we emphasized our big men plenty against BC.

    Against FSU and Virginia Tech, Mason's usage rate was lower (18.6% against VaTech -- not outrageously low -- and 16.1% against FSU). Miles's and Ryan's were also in the teens in those two games. If our entire season looked like that, I would agree we weren't emphasizing our big men. But we'd been emphasizing them plenty in the vast majority of the previous 27 games. I think it would be foolish to make a blanket statement that we aren't emphasizing them based on a mere two games that run counter to the previous 27.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    You're not looking at the big picture. How much you see the ball is not just a function of shots. You have to factor in free throws and turnovers as well, plus your minutes must be factored in. For example, Mason only played 17 minutes against BC. He took more than 20% of Duke's shots while he was in the game and also turned the ball over 3 times. His usage rate in that game was 24.9%, which is really pretty high. (For comparison sake, Tyler Zeller's average usage rate this year is 24.6%.) Miles's usage rate in that game was even higher (25.2%). So, I have no opinion on whether you have ever watched a basketball game in your life, but the fact is we emphasized our big men plenty against BC.

    Against FSU and Virginia Tech, Mason's usage rate was lower (18.6% against VaTech -- not outrageously low -- and 16.1% against FSU). Miles's and Ryan's were also in the teens in those two games. If our entire season looked like that, I would agree we weren't emphasizing our big men. But we'd been emphasizing them plenty in the vast majority of the previous 27 games. I think it would be foolish to make a blanket statement that we aren't emphasizing them based on a mere two games that run counter to the previous 27.
    Good post. By the eye test, I think our post guys have touched the ball more than in recent seasons. Throw in Mason's foul trouble the last few games and that surely hurt his number of shots. GoDuke!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    I didn't mention Josh, but he's also playing big man (and also playing limited minutes), and his usage pct is 19.8%, reinforcing that our big men are getting the ball a pretty decent amount. For completeness sake, Tyler's is 11.5%.

    Also, as a caveat, I should mention that usage % is not a perfect indicator of how often a player touches the ball, but I do think it's the closest stat we have.
    Yeah, this seems like a flawed stat to me. You're telling me that Josh players a bigger role in our offense than Tyler, by a factor of almost double?

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by loldevilz View Post
    In the last three games:
    Against VT Duke shot 24 threes. Mason took 5 shots.
    Against FSU we shot 28 threes. Mason took 1 shot.
    Against BC we shot 22 threes. Mason took 5 shots.
    If that is emphasizing post play then I have never watched a basketball game in my life.

    I don't have a problem with our game plan, but the idea that we are emphasizing our post players is just incorrect.
    I don't think measuring on how many shots Mason took is a proper figure of merit, as he had the ball numerous times where he was guilty of an offensive foul or he shuffled his feet. I think looking at opportunities rather than shots is a better measurement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UrinalCake View Post
    Yeah, this seems like a flawed stat to me. You're telling me that Josh players a bigger role in our offense than Tyler, by a factor of almost double?
    The usage stat doesn't measure how often you touch the ball. It measures how often you do something with it (e.g., shots, get fouled, turn the ball over). Tyler touches the ball a lot, but he generally just passes it along the perimeter.

    As I said earlier, it's not a perfect stat, but it's worlds better than shot attempts, and unless someone knows of a better one, it's all we've got for this conversation.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Saratoga2 View Post
    I don't think measuring on how many shots Mason took is a proper figure of merit, as he had the ball numerous times where he was guilty of an offensive foul or he shuffled his feet. I think looking at opportunities rather than shots is a better measurement.
    Not to mention that it ignores any times the team may have thrown the ball inside and but the big then passed it back out to a shooter. It also ignores most of the times the big got fouled on a post play. Also, it ignores any post opportunities by Miles, Kelly (though those may be very few), and Hairston. Comparing the team's 3pt attempts to a single player's FG attempts is bad math. Of course, the counter is that the comparison didn't include all the perimeter player opportunities that weren't 3pt shots.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    The usage stat doesn't measure how often you touch the ball. It measures how often you do something with it (e.g., shots, get fouled, turn the ball over). Tyler touches the ball a lot, but he generally just passes it along the perimeter.

    As I said earlier, it's not a perfect stat, but it's worlds better than shot attempts, and unless someone knows of a better one, it's all we've got for this conversation.
    Yup. In terms of touches per possession, I'd guess that Thornton is WAY more involved. But Hairston is much more likely to end his possessions (either shot attempt, foul, or turnover) than Thornton. Thus, his usage rate may be fairly high when he's in the game. The other key point is that it's a measure of the player's use while he's in the game - not overall. Thornton plays a lot more minutes, so I'd suspect his total usage is higher. But as Kedsy said, a lot of his touches don't result in resolution of a play, so his usage rate is low.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    Yup. In terms of touches per possession, I'd guess that Thornton is WAY more involved. But Hairston is much more likely to end his possessions (either shot attempt, foul, or turnover) than Thornton. Thus, his usage rate may be fairly high when he's in the game. The other key point is that it's a measure of the player's use while he's in the game - not overall. Thornton plays a lot more minutes, so I'd suspect his total usage is higher. But as Kedsy said, a lot of his touches don't result in resolution of a play, so his usage rate is low.
    While it's a flawed statistic, I support Kedsy's use of usage rate because I think it is important to distinguish between simple touching the ball and doing something with it, even if doing something with it means a turnover. Tyler is obviously going to touch the ball more when he's in the game because he's a guard and usually sets up the offense. This is true of virtually every guard in the country who is asked to handle the ball. However, the fact that his usage rate is so low demonstrates how unlikely he is to actually try to do something with it other than pass it to someone else. When Mason gets the ball, he is likely to do something with it (shot attempt, assist) or at least try to (offensive foul or another type of turnover). This means he is being asked to try and score quite frequently . . . far more frequently than Tyler.

  19. #19
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    An awful lot depends on:

    The quality and timing of touches--whether caught in the paint, on the move, which I believe is a funtion of how the ofense is structured. It is very difficult to make an entry pass from beyond the three point line. I think that Zeller gets far more quality catches than Mason because of how Carolina's offense is structured.

    Duke uses an awful lot of pick and rolls. Those plays are designed for the dribbler to score the ball. There is no scheme for getting the ball to a second outside player to get it to the screener when moving to the basket.

    Duke rarely uses a high-low game that would result in quality passes, drives to the basket, shots from the foul line (I think that Miles would make a reasonably high percentage of such shots). Also. I think that a high-low game could be run in a manner that would perhaps make passes to the high post player moving to the basket.

    Duke never presents with two low post players on either side of the lane with the other low post player getting touches to score. I think that Duke utilized that option in one game with Ryan and Mason; Ryan got some good looks, missed most shots taken, some of which were less than ideal. The experiment with that mode of playing stopped.

    Mason's low foul shooting percentage perhaps makes utilizing an offensive scheme designed to get outside players more quality opportunities, than utilizing a scheme that creates such touches for Mason. Also, because Mason is really the only low post option, designing an offense that is geared to get the ball inside perhaps makes less sense than the current system.

    If Mason catches the ball inside and doesn't feel he can create a good scoring opportunity for any of a variety of reasons--one often can feel those things before the catch--the best play is to throw the ball back out. Perhaps Mason is tired, off balance, well defended, in an undersireable position to try to attack the basket when he gets touches.

    Duke relies on Mason an awful lot of the defensive end, and lacks a fourth big man to give him more rest.

    Many of Mason's scores require that he muscle his way laterally to the rim from several feet outside the lane. That perhaps takes more out of him then we realize.

    I don't know when K decided to red shirt the third Plumlee, before or after he made the comment. If the kid had an inside scoring game and the comment was made before the red shirt decision was made that might explain the offense's orientation

    I don't know how these things are computed, but making threes as often as Duke does with as many three shooters as Duke has might explain why in the end K decided to emphasize the outside game. The first few games, the outside players were looking inside as a first option, Mason got better touches, and the inside game had a better look.

    I was very surprised at how well Curry gets to the basket and finishes and how well he shoots from distance. That might explain why he was moved off the point.

    Finally, Rivers has delivered big time, and the effectiveness of his game (the judgments he makes) has grown as the season has progressed.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kedsy View Post
    You're not looking at the big picture. How much you see the ball is not just a function of shots. You have to factor in free throws and turnovers as well, plus your minutes must be factored in. For example, Mason only played 17 minutes against BC. He took more than 20% of Duke's shots while he was in the game and also turned the ball over 3 times. His usage rate in that game was 24.9%, which is really pretty high. (For comparison sake, Tyler Zeller's average usage rate this year is 24.6%.) Miles's usage rate in that game was even higher (25.2%). So, I have no opinion on whether you have ever watched a basketball game in your life, but the fact is we emphasized our big men plenty against BC.

    Against FSU and Virginia Tech, Mason's usage rate was lower (18.6% against VaTech -- not outrageously low -- and 16.1% against FSU). Miles's and Ryan's were also in the teens in those two games. If our entire season looked like that, I would agree we weren't emphasizing our big men. But we'd been emphasizing them plenty in the vast majority of the previous 27 games. I think it would be foolish to make a blanket statement that we aren't emphasizing them based on a mere two games that run counter to the previous 27.
    To me the big picture is this: Mason is now on the bench and is being replace by Ryan Kelly who is purely a perimeter player. Miles, who doesn't have much a post game either has become Duke's best big man because he can generate offense from rebounds. To me this is just like last year when we tried to get Mason involved early in the year and he slowly faded till he was a non-factor in March.

    Frankly, I don't have much of a problem with it, because Ryan and Miles are way better college bball players than Mason. Curry and Rivers are clearly our best players and should be emphasized. I just think its absurd to say that we are emphasizing Mason because we aren't. He simply hasn't developed into the dominant big man that many expected he would be. And I'm not blaming it all on him or wojo because we haven't had a point guard that could get him the ball in the three years he's been here.

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