I for one am not expecting much out of Marshall next year, if your of the belief that Murphy made the decision to redshirt on his own, Marshall didn't make that choice, he just wasn't anywhere near ready and had no chance of seeing time, I'm not sold that it will be a much different story this coming year either.
I could make the argument that Mike G was our best on ball defender this year just based off pure ability, he's just as quick laterally as any of the guards plus he's 6'7 and long...but you still gotta learn the defensive schemes and know exactly where you need to be on the court especially on rotations which Mike had problems with....Hopefully Rasheed can pick things up quickly b/c like Mike the ability is clearly there...gotta put it all together though.
I think this is a useful thread. Rather than projecting starting lineups or minutes by player, I think about next year in terms of getting answers to questions about individual players. Here are a few, roughly in order of priority:
1. Could Murphy really be the best player on the team? Would be an interesting development, eh?
2. Whither Andre? We'll be a good team one way or the other, but I would sure like to see him play at a high level.
3. Mason Plumlee, All-American? I would love it.
4. Quinn Cook, strong enough to be the starting point? That would be a big step in terms of physical play, defense and leadership.
5. Rasheed, good enough to start on day one? I always need to be shown by freshman, so I have no idea.
6. Tyler, will he continue to surprise many by being a starter and leader for the team? Can he get the ball inside to our post players?
7. Will Michael Gbinijie show the defensive potential and increased offensive abilities that many of us are excited about?
8. Has the year of practice and weight training during his redshirt year prepared Marshall to be a solid back-up center for this year's team?
9. Can Seth continue to improve his ability to create offense off the dribble, even against bigger guards?
10. Will Ryan be fully recovered? Will he increase his ability to create scoring opportunities and rebound at a higher level?
11. Will Josh show enough improvement that he has to be in the rotation as well?
12. Shabazz and Amile, interested in competing for championships?
“Those two kids, they’re champions,” Krzyzewski said of his senior leaders. “They’re trying to teach the other kids how to become that, and it’s a long road to become that.”
1. I am a HUGE Murphy proponent. I think him becoming the best player this year is a little bit of a stretch, but I do believe that he will be a starter. I think he could have been a starter for us last year. We need to remember that he started in China before his concussion caused him to fall behind and eventually redshirt. Murphy will be a big part of our success next year.
2. I think the trend we saw toward the end of the year last year continues. Dre, because of defensive struggles and the inability to be consistent, will continue to be squeezed into a role player that is used to come off the bench and hit 3's in certain situations. If he makes a few he stays in the game while he's hot.
3. I don't think Mason is an All-American next year, but I see him being first team All-ACC and a 15 & 10 type guy. The offense will be catered toward him and I think with Capel getting an entire year to coach him we will see improvements to his back-to-the-basket game. I also think having Quinn as the primary ball handler will help Mason tremendously. Which leads me to...
4. Yes I think Quinn will be the starting PG and the primary ball-handler. In limited playing time, and coming off a serious knee injury, last year he looked raw but very talented. He has the ability to run, create for others, and feed the post. If he can improve his defensive awareness I think he can be very good. He has shown the ability to lead and the passion to play extremely hard on both ends - two things you need in a PG and things you can't teach. My favorite Quinn memory from last year happened right after AR hit the shot to be Carolina. The team, along with Quinn, ran to tackle and pile on AR, but Quinn didn't fall into the pile. Instead, he got up and walked in front of the Carolina student section with his jersey out and point to DUKE across his chest. I love his passion and talent, and when you pair that with a year of experience and a true off-season I think he will move past TT on the depth chart.
5. I think that Sheed is talented enough to start from day 1, but I don't think he will. I just don't see who you start him over. He is a true SG, and I don't think he supplants Seth as the starter there. He could theoretically play a stretch SF as Austin did last year, but as I said before, I see Murphy starting at SF. I think Sheed will end up averaging 18-20 minutes off the bench and be a REALLY good 6th man.
I think Sulaimon will very much be in the mix for reasonable minutes next year and will be a productive player. I don't think he'll be a star next year, and I don't think anyone is expecting such.
Back to the original topic, three of the starting spots are not locked up no matter what happens: Curry, Kelly, and Mason. Judging by the preseason comments this year, unless Shabazz comes, I think there's a very high probability that Murphy is also a starter.
That leaves one spot up for grabs. I'd say there's a 90+% chance it's either Cook or Thornton, with a small chance of Sulaimon or Dawkins starting and pushing Curry to PG. We can probably roughly approximate the whole thing as:
1 Cook (50% chance), Thornton (50% chance)
2 Curry (100%)
3 Murphy (75%), Dawkins (25%)
4 Kelly (100%)
5 Mason (100%)
Add in either Hairston or Marshall as a big man backup, and there's your 8 man rotation.
PG: Cook/Thornton (~40-45% chance each), Curry (10-20%)
SG: Curry (80-90%), Sulaimon (10-20%)
SF: Murphy/Dawkins/Gbinije (?, but 100% chance it will be one of those 3)
PF: Kelly (100%)
C: Mason (100%)
I can say with great confidence that Mason (C), Kelly (PF), and Curry (either SG or PG) will start. Where Curry starts depends on what he does this offseason and how guys like Thornton, Cook, and Sulaimon progress. I have absolutely no idea who will start at SF and I won't even venture a guess other than that it will be one of Dawkins, Murphy, and Gbinije.