My sources tell me that Coach K plans on implementing a new system to determine who will be in the starting 5. They will choose the top 8 player performances in the practices leading up to the game and put those names in a drawing. Then on gameday, the Blue Devil mascot will draw 5 names out of the hat and those will be the 5 guys who start.
I don't think he's saying dunking is everything, just that when Mike was in the plays he made few or not were the kind you want from an athletic SF which was something we were missing....how many dunks outside of the bigs did we have on the season? I can think of 3 not counting 2 from Mike...and though not everything they do help momentum and get the crowd pumped. I also remember Mike scoring on a post up against a smaller defender...those are things I at least want to see more of from Mike and Alex next year
This is a year where that changes. We could potentially go 11 deep and not that I expect to go that deep throughout the season, we should be going 9-10 deep. We have to get these guys to run and gun more and we'll need more bodies to do that. We should press more too. Also, we have too many unproven but talented players. Between Josh, Alex, Mike G, Rasheed, and Andre someone is going to have to step up in a big way and we should be using the first 10-15 games of the season to figure who that someone is.
There are a number of people saying we should press more, but I just don't see that kind of ability in this Duke team. No one on the roster has proved they are able to even consistantly stay in front of perimeter players. Thornton is our presumed best on ball defender, and if he had to press, he would foul out in about ten minutes.
I understand we could trap the ball and force turnovers, but I think it is more likely that Mason or Kelly get in foul trouble trying to protect the basket after the press is broken.
Just my opinion
I think you'll see a first half rotation that goes deeper than the second half rotation this coming year. To some extent you saw that this past season with Josh and Quinn. I'd prefer to see that dynamic, but that it be more of a platoon style thing where the guys getting limited minutes come in and run and press.
If you want to project what Gbinije does this coming season, I actually think Josh's minutes and production is a good example. His freshman year, Josh played 165 minutes and took 36 shots. His sophomore year, Josh played 246 minutes and had 69 shots. His DNP's dropped from 10 to 5.
I suspect Gbinije will see his DNP's drop. He had 15 of them this year and played 111 minutes and attempted 20 shots. I think he will probably play 6-8 minutes in all but the biggest games. If he shows he can lock someone down defensively or starts getting steals and dunks, then he can see his role increase. But we probably do not need him as a 3-point shooter since we have Andre and Seth and Ryan. I think Gbinije's biggest opportunity to play more minutes is as a lockdown defender on an up-tempo team.
I agree that practice is very important to a young players development, but game time and practice time are very different animals. Without adequate exposure to game time (especially in low leverage situations), I think you run the risk of hindering a players development.
In fact I expect 2 guys not to get more than 4 minutes a game.
I really hope Marshall and Hairston get consistent minutes each game and every half. The development of those 2 guys for the frontcourt is going to be important not just this upcoming season, but once Mason and Kelly graduate.
Side note: I cant believe how fast the last 2 seasons have gone by. Thornton and Hairston will be in their Junior seasons.
-Quinn not being 100%, at least to start the year
-Seth not being fully comfortable at the point
-G not being ready for regular minutes
-Dre's inconsistency and defensive lapses
-The need to have both Rivers and Curry on the floor a lot for perimeter scoring
In my rotation scenario, the first three above no longer hold true, and even if Dre remains a bit of a wild card (he did play more minutes than TT over the course of the season), I would expect the team to be less perimeter oriented generally, and for Mason and Kelly to both get more touches. Moreover, the assumption that Rasheed - who is 3 inches taller than Tyler, with long arms, better quickness and more offensive skills - is ready to contribute from day 1 directly threatens Thornton's PT next season in my view, whether or not any or all of my other assumptions hold true. Finally, I have been a Duke fan long enough (my freshman year was K's second at Duke) to know that rotations and PT splits from one year often have little carry over to the next. As Coach K himself has said many times, all spots are open to competition when practice begins. Tyler may very well stay in the rotation, but he'll have to earn against what may be a starkly different competitive backdrop, one which to me looks a lot less favorable to him.
I respect your opinion but pencil me in as one that thinks Tyler and Quinn will take major steps forward. They know the PG position this past year was not its best in recent seasons and I think these two have too much pride to let that be the case again. Tyler saw a big increase in minutes and I think that allowed him to realize just how much he needs to develop as a weapon both offensively and defensively.
How much does the offensive system we run impact the type of defense we can play? Even though teams generally press only after made baskets, one would think we'd still have to have time to get in position to set up the press before the ball is inbounded. If we're running a lot of motion sets and shooting a lot of threes where we'd have to get back on defense in case of a miss, it seems like it would be harder to set up the press than if we're penetrating and shooting a lot of layups and short jumpers. Maybe it's that teams that are built to press are also built to get out and run on offense, but I can't remember any teams that used a lot of presses and traps while running a slow-tempo, half-court offense.
Of course, the championship game of a preseason tournament is different from a December game against Western Michigan, but K already goes deep into his bench during those cupcake games. Also, during this past season in particular, with so few proven players and a greater need to establish roles, I can't fault K for giving the more experienced guys more playing time to help them come out from the shadows of Kyle and Nolan.
Some of the things that people are looking for are fueled by the shortcomings of this year's team (nobody at the 3, weak play at the 1 and 2, players playing roles that don't suit them). The result are people hoping for:
- Silent G and Alex to step up and play well at the 3 (and be a backup for Kelly at the 4)
- Quinn to start and give us a PG that can run an offense
- Rasheed to come in and give us a SG that can play offense and defense
I think that one of our issues last year was that we had people playing roles for which they were not suited:
- Tyler starting at PG and playing lots of minutes - I see his role as a backup PG who's strength is as a help defender and general pain the rear for our opponents. We really need Quinn to step up and take over the PG duties. I thought his defense did improve over the last 2 weeks of the season.
- Seth starting at SG and trying to play some PG - I think he'd be a great 6th man providing scoring off the bench (I know I'll get killed for that but a short guard who's not very quick is going to have issues). I'm hoping that Rasheed will be good enough to take over (wishful thinking, I know)
- Austin playing SF - He was out of position and still played pretty well. I wish Silent G would have made more progress. Hopefully he can make a nice jump into his soph year and stay healthy. Even if Mike was ready to play Curry couldn't shift to PG so were going to have issues.
To get back to the original question, now that we know Mason is staying and Bass is west coast bound here's the lineup I'd LIKE to see (note that I realize that it's not likely):
We might lose some games early in the season but it would cool to be one of the teams that improves greatly at the end and makes a run like we did in 2010. I also like that K adjusts lineups and PT based on match ups and who we are playing.
While Coach K may go deeper into the bench during cupcake games, some might argue the benefit of playing the 8-12 or 9-13 together. I'd rather see the 8-11 guys mixed in with the 1-7 guys.
I know I can happy beating a cupcake by 15 as opposed to 25 if it means potentially building a better team for March.
25-30 mpg guaranteed: Kelly, Plumlee 2, Curry
Rotation spot guaranteed, 20 mpg probable: Thornton
That leaves three guards that you could easily make a case for (Dawkins, Cook, Sulaimon), two 6'8 guys who could play on the wing or slide over to the "4" a la Dunleavy, Battier (Murphy, Gbinije), and two bigs (Plumlee 3, Hairston). Who makes the rotation out of this group? Ultimately performance will determine that, but my best guess is:
5th starter: Gbinije
6th man A: Murphy - backs up the wing, would often be the second-biggest guy on the court
6th man B: Cook - nobody else on the team has his offensive skill set
8th man: Sulaimon vs. Dawkins - can't guarantee contributions from a freshman, but if the hype is anywhere close to true, Sulaimon will be a better slasher and defender than Dawkins
9th man: Plumlee 3 vs. Hairston - I say Hairston wins this battle, except when the matchup calls for more size.
I really like Dawkins and hope he earns a rotation spot... and he very well could end up as the 5th starter or winning the competition with Sulaimon to be the 8th man. If he elevates his defense, everything changes. But one of the wings/guards is not going to play that much, and I think that's most likely to be Dawkins. I wouldn't be surprised if he begins the season as the 5th starter but loses that position to a younger player.
The wing is very hard to predict. From what I heard, Alex was further along last year than Mike in the preseason/early season, but that's almost meaningless for this upcoming year. My guess is Alex plays more than Mike this year, but we'll see. I won't count out Andre either as anyone can have a big offseason, but someone out of those 3 is going to going to get boxed out. On that subject...
We dismiss this notion of going 10+ deep every year, but let's go ahead and do it again. Last year is actually a great barometer for this discussion b/c our lineups will be near identical from a mixture perspective (i.e. we don't become MORE guard heavy or MORE wing heavy MORE bigs heavy this year...really about the same). We had 12 scholarship players last year, we have 11 this year. Last year 3 guys didn't play, (alex mike mp3) and 1 got minimal time (josh) so that's 8 main guys and 1 guy to give the occasional blow/foul trouble/etc.
I expect about the same this year given the lineup mixture is about the same:
- 3 pure backcourt players (Quinn, Tyler, Curry--no difference)
- 3 pure bigs (MP2, MP3, Kelly--same as last year if you sub in MP3 for MP1, who play the same role: backup center/big man)
- 5 wings (Dre, Sheed, Alex, Mike, Josh--same if you sub in Sheed for Austin).
In the backcourt 1 of these guys is very likely to see less than the others. Quinn was that man this year, I expect (pray) him to switch with Tyler and for Curry to play 30mpg. Same with the 3 bigs, with Marshall seeing less time than the other 2.
The wing is the x-factor. 2 will play a good amount (at least 10-15mpg), 2 guys will hardly play and 1 will see minimal time. Last year it was Alex and Mike hardly playing and Josh seeing minimal time. What will the combo be this year? Tough to tell but my guess is its Sheed and Josh hardly playing with Mike seeing minimal time. There's only room for 2 of Dre/Alex/Mike to play a lot at the 3, Dre will get some time there b/c he's a senior and a deadly weapon (believe me I have my gripes, but the dude player 22mpg and never played less than 10 all year...he's GONNA PLAY, whether you like it or not). My guess is Alex get's a chunk of minutes there and is also big enough to take Josh's role of "4th post player," if he proves tough enough, so my guess is Alex wins this spot, reducing Mike to and Josh to minimal players. Sheed is just stuck behind 2 seniors in Dre and Curry, and while he can play some point and may benefit from K preferring 3 guard lineups, its tough for me to see him getting real minutes away from Quinn, Seth, or Tyler, and its tough to play him in a 3G lineup without Dre (otherwise you can someone way too small at the 3), so I don't think he gets much run.
Also like last year, I expect there to be fluctuations throughout the season. We obviously started with Seth as our PG, then moved to Quinn in Dec/Jan, then settled on Tyler, with Seth/Quinn backing up. Miles moved into the starting lineup in the last 3rd of the season.
What does that boil down to? My guess is
With Tyler, Dre, and Marshall seeing real minutes off the bench, and Josh, Mike and Sheed being minimized. Different from last year though, is that I don't expect Marshall to play as much as Miles, so that could mean more minutes for Alex/Josh/Mike (since they are wings/posts), but conversely I also expect to see fewer 3 guard lineups, which is why I think one of 5 guards or small wing guys gets minimalized next year (I'm guessing Sheed, but could be Dre or Tyler).