I enjoyed reading DBR's pre-season analysis of the Heels. Just two thoughts: (1) The Heels will take the personality of their coach. He likes to push the ball, punch the ball inside and have a long bench. These will be characteristics of this year's team. (2) The key player this year, IMO, will be Thompson not Frasor. If he can rebound and complement the inside scoring of Hansbrough, then they will be a top team. I expect their perimeter players to be better than last year and only behind Duke's set of outside players in the ACC.
One way that I always rate a team is by looking at the number of NBA players. As a general rule, I feel a team needs 3 NBA'ers to contend for a championship.
Losing Terry and Wright hurts UNC from this standpoint with Hansbrough, Lawson, and Ellington still eligible from that standpoint.
UNC is a much more "normal" team this season, and if I had to focus on a key point for them it will be perimeter shooting. Hansbrough will certainly be the focus of defenses, and especially with the penetration ability of Lawson teams will back away and allow UNC to shoot. Unfortunately, the Heels lost arguably their two best shooters in Miller and Terry. Ellington is certainly capable, but Green, Lawson, and the rest are suspect.
DBR is trying to be too cute in their analysis. Frasor's a fine player and all, but he isn't the key player to UNC's success this year.
riverside - At this time, I see UNC as a good team, probably the best from the ACC. IMO, they have four players who will eventually play in the NBA - Hansbrough, Lawson, Ellington and Thompson, although I don't see any of them being stars in the 24-second league.
Losing Terry hurts their outside shooting but Miller was very average from the outside last year. I expect Ellington to improve his long range shooting and for Frasor, Lawson and Green to be average (33-37%) from the outside.
I like Thompson, and he could be an NBA'er.
After posting, I looked at their team stats from a season ago, and realized I forgot about Frasor who shot pretty well, and Lawson actually shot better than I remembered as well.
Don't get me wrong, I still believe they are the best team in the ACC, I just think they are going to have a tough time winning games without hitting the 3. Of course that probably could be said about most teams nowadays.
UNC will be a tough out, despite losig Terry and Wright, and to a much lesser extent Miller.
Terry though often a bonehead would have been an absolute nightmare matchup for Duke this year, or any team that wants to/has to play 3 guard set, and is already out manned in the post by Tyler.
UNC faithful are really big on Deon thanks to a fine effort in U-19 games, so same should hold true for Solomon Alabi the FSU 7 foot frosh who played even better for Nigeria in U-19.
I actually expect the most improvement from the juniors Danny Green and Marcus Ginyard as one becomes a starter and the other a key reserve.
I have this naggin feeling that Bobby Frasor may not be fully recovered from his foot ailments last year.
I like the guy as a player when healthful but a lot of the fan base takes turn throwing stones and him or QT rather than enjoying the luxury the team has with oth of them.
My guess is UNC goes 14-2 in ACC wins and 2 losses @ NCS, @ GT @ CL and @ DU.
Danny green has a great outside shot, and very good size/strength. but no D. If he can step his D up a little they're starting backcourt of Lawson, Ellington, Green would be pretty formidable. I could see them averaging 45-47/game in a best case scenario...
How do you save a Tarheel from drowning?
Take your foot off his head when hes in the water..
I hope they all slip in shower and break a leg and cant field a team this year.
That would make me happy
UNC is a talented team and the odds on favorite to win the ACC Championship. However, they have some weaknesses and I trust Coach K and Staff will exploit those weaknesses:
1. Backcourt - Lawson is awesome at times but prone to inconsistency. Ellington is inconsistent with his shot and hurt (does anyone know the details?). QT is absolutely terrible. Frasor might be the key to their backcourt performance. Is he healthy?
2. Danny Green has talent but it remains to be seen if he can make the transition from reserve to full time player. I definitely do not see him as a go to guy. That 3-point brick he threw up down-the-stretch against Georgetown has probably been eating away at him all off-season. How does he respond?
3. Leadership! Who replaces Terry as the team leader? I believe the average Carolina fan is underestimating the impact of Terry's graduation.
4. The on-court relationship between Hansbrough/Thompson/Stephenson. Do they compliment each other or get in each others way? In my estimation, that is the key to Carolina's season.
5. Marcus Ginyard. He needs to play major minutes because of his heart and defensive skill sets. However, that means other players will have to sit. Will Coach Williams make the tough "PT" decisions or continue to play everybody?
I see Carolina as a tough inside team with an inconsistent backcourt and serious question marks on the bench. They have the potential to win the ACC Championship and National Title, but they could just as easily bow out early.
Coach Williams has a tough job ahead of him this year. He is going to have to be on the top of his game if Carolina is to reach their potential. I predict Duke sweeps Carolina in the regular season.
United States Navy (Retired)
That's a bold prediction, Bob, but if the shoulder injury affects Ellington;s already shaky outside shooting, if Bobby Frasor's chronic foot injury persists, and if Deon?Alex crowd Tyler rather than being complementary inside forces, that could even the odds.
Not sure Terry ever materialized as a true leader but who can be this year besides Marcus Inyard and Tyler as a quiet lead by example, is a valid question.
If anybody can expose any potential weaknesses in UNC, coach K would be th guy, just not sure many other ACC coaches won't cave against the Heels. The guy who had their number last year, Seth Greenberg thanks to his senior corps, is pretty well depleted this year with only Deron Washington and AD Vassallo.
Road games @ GA T, @ Miami and @ UVA plus home and homes with Duke, NCS, Clemson, FSU and BC seem like most dangerous as Heels should handle home games with WF, VA Tech and MD fairly easily.
Guess that's why they play the season but I still think UNC ends up about 14-2 in ACC.
UNC is going to be VERY good this year. Possibly better than last year. I totally agree with the DBR that while Wright had loads of potential, he did not mesh with Hans very well.
As for Mr. Green's predictions
1. Backcourt: Everyone takes it as a given that ALL of Duke's players will improve overall as players and that they will hammer out any and every weakness over the summer through hard work. Why does UNC not get the same benefit? Lawson will be much more consistent as a Soph. Remember the jump that Avery, J-Will, C-Du et al PGs at Duke made from Frosh to Soph year? I think Lawson and Ellington make the same Jump this year. Yes their outside shooting was lacking, but there is an outside possibility they know this. I think they spent the summer honing thier jumpers. Yes QT is bad. If UNC needs him for anything beyond spot minutes in the last home game of the year, UNC has suffered catastrophic injuries. Not major injuries, catastrophic ones. Frasor is a capable combo capable of spelling either guard slot.
2. They do not now, and likely never will, need Green to be a go-to player. All he has to be is Nate James lite. Solid D and rebounding with the occaisional flash of O. Yes that last 3 will haunt him. If last season's final performance has any impact on this year, Jon Scheyer, and Duke, is in very serious trouble. But I guess that is something that will only affect UNC, but not Duke, much like the they won't improve and we will approach.
3. I think Lawson or Hans takes over. Personally, I never saw Terry as any kind of a leader. He seemed to me to be a Sr who never adjusted to, and actually resented, the emergence of far superiour younger players.
4. Arizona. Specifically, the game where Wright was sick and Thompson and Stephenson played more and looked fantastic, at Arizona, where UNC violated the wildcats. The three posts looked great together, and I am guessing that a summer together will hone that into a fearsome weapon that Duke will see up close and personal this year.
5. I do not see Williams doling out minutes like this. He plays a deep bench and will utilize it based on who deserves to play. His recent history, if not his entire history, have shown that he is capable of making these decisions wisely.
I see UNC as a team with a fear insiring front line, right now. I think their backcourt will be scary by December. As a league, we should be thrilled if UNC loses 2 games. They have a real chance to go undefeated. As for Duke sweeping them, how? I will have to see us score inside to believe it. UNC will have trouble guarding Singler, but Singler has to play D also. Yes, I know, he shut down that 7 footer at that all star game. That center was a perimeter oriented player. Not a low post beast like Singler will face at UNC. Duke might win that matchup, but barely. Henderson we might win. Duke loses, badly, at every other matchup, and especially on bench rotation minutes.
If Duke keeps it within 20 at the dean dome, we should have a bonfire. We can win at CIS, but we can win any game there.
I know it is not popular. But UNC is very good next year. Deal, and move on.
I don't have time to look up the stats, but I remember him having about 18 points per game on very efficient shooting. These included clutch points that we could not answer. We very likely would have won both of those games if he had not been on the floor (not to mention if he had been wearing a different shade of blue, which is another issue).
While UNC will mature this season, they lose two very important weapons -- an NBA talent second post scorer and a versatile NBA level athlete. I do not see anyone on their roster quickly replacing those roles (but the previously unseen post guys might surprise me).
Duke, by comparison, loses a legitimate post defender. While Josh had other skills, I think we have replaced those (and added new talents) with the incoming class. If we can find someone to defend the post (or work around it as we did in the late 2001 run), we should be better this year.
I thought Wright had more points at UNC, but he was 5/6 for 10 pts (plus 3 blocks). I think some of those came at the end of the game when we really needed a stop.
I think this year, with only one NBA quality big (unless the new guys are at that point already), UNC may be a considerably easier match-up for a team with at least one quality post defender. As I said above, however, I'm not sure we have that yet.
Ellington: FGs 164 of 379 43%, 3PTs 66 of 178 37.1%, FTs 51 of 61 83.6%
Scheyer: FGs 113 of 284 39%, 3PTs 61 of 167 36.5%, FTs 115 of 136 84.5%
I stand corrected!
United States Navy (Retired)
If you look at Carolina's talent, you see a lot more on thw wing/perimter than in the post. I think Carolina will do a lot of 4-around-1 play with just Hasbro as a traditional post player. First of all this clears plenty of space for Hasbo to operate but the other bonus is it allows Carolina to run and trap more -- which we know Roy loves.
It is not like there are a lot of teams in the ACC who will have a second big who can exploit Carolina's lack of size inside if the Heels play this way.
Unless Stephenson is a real stud, I bet you see a lot of "small ball" from Carolina this season.
-Jason "I think Carolina will make a ton of 3s this year-- whether they have to shoot a ton to get them is a key" Evans
Bob's perception may be because Ellington's numbers dropped when the calendar year turned to 2007. Here are his numbers by month...
Month FGPct TPPct
11/2006 51.00% 34.00%
12/2006 47.00% 54.00%
1/2007 43.00% 36.00%
2/2007 36.00% 27.00%
3/2007 38.00% 34.00%
Here are Scheyer's numbers...
Month FGPct TPPct
11/2006 38.30% 46.43%
12/2006 42.86% 37.04%
1/2007 39.24% 31.37%
2/2007 40.48% 34.78%
3/2007 36.00% 40.00%
Sorry for the formatting, there doesn't appear to be a good way to do tables.
Last edited by riverside6; 08-23-2007 at 09:11 AM. Reason: added Scheyer's numbers