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View Full Version : This has been a blessing-in-disguise season, potentially



Troublemaker
03-01-2007, 12:00 AM
Not that this season is over by a longshot or anything, but I wanted to see if I could give things a more positive spin.

For starters, can you imagine the intensity and motivation that our players will be working out with this summer? Not that they usually wouldn't be working hard, but you can bet that a 6th place (potentially 7th place) conference finish is going to get them to bust their butts even harder than they normally would. If you follow the team closely, you know that these players care a lot and are great guys. They desperately want to uphold Duke's tradition so they're going to be maniacal in preparing for the 2008 season, I'd bet. A lot of these guys are going to come back in the fall ripped (and more physically capable of finishing around the basket) and equipped with new weapons (like, say, a midrange shot for Dave).

And all that is going to be great, but the real point of my thread is this: I have to believe there's now at least a decent chance that Josh is going to return next year, which means we'll have a great chance at being a great team next year. Don't get me wrong. I know how close he was to leaving last year, and I think that he is a lottery pick right now despite his scoring struggles (potential is what counts, afterall, and there will never be 13 more unique players than Josh in any draft). I know Josh can still leave, but I have to believe that as a team captain this year, this season will gnaw at him a little bit. I think he'll want to stay. I don't think he'll feel like he's accomplished enough at Duke to leave, and if that's the case, this mediocre season will be a bit of a blessing-in-disguise.

Imagine if everything had gone according to most preseason expectations. Josh would be an 18/10 guy, and Duke would be a strong Sweet 16/Elite 8 contender (certainly not a strong championship contender because the other issues like turnovers and youth would still be there). So Josh would lead us to an Elite 8 or so and then leave for the NBA draft (both things, again, could still happen since the season is not over... don't get a coronary on me). A nice season, of course, but then Duke would be going into next season with at best an all-freshman frontcourt (if Patterson came to join Singler as the likely starters) or at worst having to rely on a raw/inexperienced Z as the only true big on the roster.

Now, instead, potentially (again, just potentially) we could get Josh back for next season. And following a healthy offseason (knock on wood), I bet he'd be a much stronger and efficient scorer inside. And he'd be a junior team captain. Add him to the rest of the roster, and that should be a strong championship contender instead of perhaps being too young again without him.

So, if Josh comes back, I'll feel like this season was a blessing-in-disguise. It would be a mediocre season (but again, doesn't have to end that way, since not over yet), but it'd be like losing a battle to potentially win a war.

UNC won a championship in 2005 chiefly because somehow Felton, McCants, and May were still around for their junior years (Felton and McCants especially were likely candidates to leave earlier than that). Well, that "somehow" was the utter disaster that was Matt Doherty's time as a head coach there. Which was infinitely worse than just finishing 6th place or whatever. And yet his time there was arguably the blessing-in-disguise they needed to win a championship.

jws
03-01-2007, 12:32 AM
Unless he shows a lot of improvement over the rest of the season, I don't see McRoberts being a lottery pick.

Troublemaker
03-01-2007, 12:50 AM
Unless he shows a lot of improvement over the rest of the season, I don't see McRoberts being a lottery pick.

You might think so until you actually tried to count 13 players that would go ahead of him. Remember, you have to think in terms of upside. Someone might be a better basketball player than Josh right now, but what is his upside compared to Josh's?

IMO, DraftExpress has the best mock when keeping that standard in mind and they have him going 7th: http://www.draftexpress.com/mymock.php?page=official

You might be able to argue the case for a couple of guys below him, but can you make the case for 7 guys (to knock him out of the lottery)? IMO, no.

VaDukie
03-01-2007, 01:28 AM
For our guys:
Josh - ANOTHER YEAR! And a go-to post move.
DeMarcus - ability to drive to the hoop without the forearm shiver. And better FT's
Greg - better on the ball defense
Scheyer - some time in the weight room
McClure - mid range jumper
Henderson - New lungs! JK, but I hope the athletic asthma thing goes away
Zoubek - better footwork
Pocius - DEFENSE
Lance - Better hands

I do really like this team and am looking forward to the end of this year.

KyDevilinIL
03-01-2007, 07:57 AM
I think you're right in theory, Troublemaker, but I have a certain degree of doubt. I'm guilty -- like most of us -- of expecting too much from this team. As much as I appreciate what they've done, it's hard to shake the disappointment of games such as last night's.

To me, it's just as unfair to expect an entire team to react a certain way to what we consider a frustrating season. It's frustrating to us because we've seen and expect better. But who knows what these players are thinking? I'm not saying they should do this, but an argument could be made that they should be absolutely thrilled with what looks like it'll be a seventh place finish against what's probably the toughest schedule in the toughest league in the country. There's no doubt that they've achieved something this season to be proud of, regardless of what the fans or media try to tell them.

Regardless of who stays or goes after this season, Duke will be better next season. I haven't gotten to the point that I forsee a national championship-caliber season coming up, though. Markie, Greg and Josh would all have to make almost JJ-like improvements over the summer. Jon, GH, LT and BZ would need to make natural freshman-to-sophomore progressions. The incoming freshmen would have to pan out. Guys like Marty and Dave would have to continue improving in and accept their narrow roles.

It's all possible. And the potential is tantalizing. But I don't know if the course of this season has been negative enough to foster a team-wide sense of purpose in the offseason. I hope it has. I'd love to see the results. I think we could be absolutely scary. I just wonder if, from the perspective of this team, if enough has happened this year to make these guys that angry.

I dunno. We'll find out.

feldspar
03-01-2007, 08:01 AM
Unless he shows a lot of improvement over the rest of the season, I don't see McRoberts being a lottery pick.

"Rest of the season"?

We could be down to our last three or four games.

bigdog
03-01-2007, 09:00 AM
Make no mistake. This team would be in a ton of trouble without Josh. They definitely would not be going to the NCAA. His ability to fill the stat sheet is impressive. However, it was pretty obvious going into this season that Duke would need Josh to consistently score around 18 a game if it wanted to have Elite 8 or better potential. That production hasn't been there and the offense has struggled as a result. Do you know how many times he's broken 20 this year? 2 times!! How many times he's gotten double figures in the last 4 games? 1 time!! I'm sorry, but any NBA team who takes him as a lottery pick is making a huge mistake.

banneheim
03-01-2007, 09:17 AM
I was really impressed with Henderson. I'm hoping he adjusts to the asthma problem. Jerome Bettis was able to cope with it. He effortlessly glides to the basketball and reminds me of a Grant Hill but with a better outside shot. Yes, he has made some freshmen mistakes. I'm excited about him and what he will become if he stays in the Duke uniform for 3 more years!

Exiled_Devil
03-01-2007, 09:31 AM
You might think so until you actually tried to count 13 players that would go ahead of him. Remember, you have to think in terms of upside. Someone might be a better basketball player than Josh right now, but what is his upside compared to Josh's?

IMO, DraftExpress has the best mock when keeping that standard in mind and they have him going 7th: http://www.draftexpress.com/mymock.php?page=official

You might be able to argue the case for a couple of guys below him, but can you make the case for 7 guys (to knock him out of the lottery)? IMO, no.

I can see8-14 going before him, easily. 'Upside' is an adjective that a couple of years at Duke an erase - for better or for worse. On that site, 7-14 are:

Al Horford PF/C
20 years old; 6'10"; 235 lbs. -- strong player, strong team
Florida, Junior

Yi Jianlian PF/C -- Bargnani is working out well, GM's like the internationals
19 years old; 7'0"; 230 lbs.
Guangdong Tigers, International

Roy Hibbert C ---"You can't teach 7'2"...and Hibbert has better numbers than Josh right now, and does the high post as well if not better
20 years old; 7'2"; 272 lbs.
Georgetown, Junior

Corey Brewer SF -- He will make a good 2/3 in the NBA
20 years old; 6'9"; 185 lbs.
Florida, Junior

Splitter PF/C --again, going on international +7'=draft early
22 years old; 7'0"; 245 lbs.
TAU Vitoria, International

Al Thornton SF/PF --he is stretch, but even Coach K comments on his skill
23 years old; 6'7"; 208 lbs.
Florida State, Senior

Acie Law PG -- Not 100% sure. He seems more of a 2 than a 1, and would be too small for an NBA 2 unless he is truly amazing. I haven't seen enough of him, but he is getting great press ad I expect his draft stock is up.
22 years old; 6'3"; 185 lbs.
Texas A&M, Senior


Josh could, very conceivably, drop to the bottom of the first round.

For me, the point about going out when you are hot is not the first point I expect people to base decisions on. The first point is "where do I want to be?" Hopefully this season will leave Josh with a feeling of unfinished business that keeps him in Durham for at least another year.

Exiled

Troublemaker
03-01-2007, 09:44 AM
Bottom of the first round? No way. See, you couldn't even make it to 7 without admitting that Thorton and Law were stretches.

Exiled_Devil
03-01-2007, 10:08 AM
I'm not saying Law is a stretch, I am saying that I don't know his game well enough to guess what GM's are thinking. However, he is being mentioned in the same sentences with Durant for POW, and Josh is not.

The only reason Horton could be stretch is inverse of the only reason Josh is considered that high: the name on the front of the jersey. Horton played the same(or as close as you can get in the lame-12 ACC) conference opponents as Josh and average ~22/7. He may have issues with the "big in college, small in Pro's" at 6'7", but he has good numbers and could jump up.

I will admit, 'bottom of the first round' is wrong - I meant 'out of the lottery'.


Exiled

dukeENG2003
03-01-2007, 10:16 AM
if Ben Gordon can make it as a 2 in the NBA, Acie Law most certainly can as well. . .

Wigum's_Winners
03-01-2007, 12:28 PM
Bottom of the first round? No way. See, you couldn't even make it to 7 without admitting that Thorton and Law were stretches.

For those of you who do not watch anything other than Duke Basketball, Acie Law is a kid that has been playing terrific ball the last two years. All the kid does is make money shots (check out last night's 3 over Durant to force OT as an example) and will his team to victory. He is better today than anybody on our roster and definitely more impressive than Josh. For any doubters check out Texas A&M's record in 03-04 which was his freshman season in College Station. Now look at what they have done since. Gilespie should get a lot credit but he could not have done it without Law. This kid is not close to his ceiling yet.

I am not getting down on our guys - just calling spade a spade.

dukejunkie
03-01-2007, 01:25 PM
Might be a blessing in disguise but it’s still not enough. It takes players that dominate at their positions to win it all. By next year it is possible that Paulus, Scheyer, and Henderson dominate their opposition. Nelson might be a force defensively but is still not a great team player offensively- too many turnovers when he doesn’t shoot and not a great shooter when he does.

The problem is that they still will not dominate down low. McRoberts will probably not dominate as the lone big man. Its not that he can’t be great it’s just that he is more suited to play at power forward. Zoob’s definitely should contribute more. Thomas and McClure are big contributors but will never dominate. Zoob’s might get to the point where he can match up with any big man but we are at least two years away.

The recruits will help but they won’t provide a Boozer, Brand, or Williams. Duke fans just have to hope Zoobs develops in the next couple of years to hold his own.

Maybe in the 2008/9 season if Duke has seniors McRoberts and Paulus and a more experienced Zoobs. Also, Duke can have the addition of 2007/8’s King, Singler, and Smith (possibly Patterson who would significantly increase potential of team next year) as sophs and possibly the 2008/9’s juggernaut in Monroe.

If somehow McRoberts is still around in a couple of years and the team doesn’t lose any vital players, Duke will be experienced and extremely deep. The program has a nice few years coming up but it might be a bit too early to pull one off next year.

Troublemaker
03-01-2007, 01:32 PM
For those of you who do not watch anything other than Duke Basketball, Acie Law is a kid that has been playing terrific ball the last two years. All the kid does is make money shots (check out last night's 3 over Durant to force OT as an example) and will his team to victory. He is better today than anybody on our roster and definitely more impressive than Josh. For any doubters check out Texas A&M's record in 03-04 which was his freshman season in College Station. Now look at what they have done since. Gilespie should get a lot credit but he could not have done it without Law. This kid is not close to his ceiling yet.

I am not getting down on our guys - just calling spade a spade.

Oh, I love Acie Law. We were talking about him in chat last night. Superb player, and clutch. That said, from an NBA draft perspective, I don't think he would go higher than Josh because of the league's preference for big men first. But I could be wrong.

BluBones
03-01-2007, 02:00 PM
I don't think it matters where McRoberts is projected. He's gone. He's clearly not having fun playing on this team.

Cavlaw
03-01-2007, 02:05 PM
I don't think it matters where McRoberts is projected. He's gone. He's clearly not having fun playing on this team.
I wonder how happy he is from time to time when I'm watching the games. It's hard to imagine that he doesn't love the team, given how passionate he gets during games.

On another note - he brought the ball up more than a few times last night, and at several points appeared to be calling plays at the same time as Paulus.

Was he calling the same play? Were they controverting each other? I just thought it was wierd to see someone other than a guard bring the ball up, stand at in the backcourt, and call plays.

bhd28
03-01-2007, 05:41 PM
Exiled... Hibbert?

At what is he more effective than Josh in the high post? Also, how much better are his stats? He has a higher shooting percentage (and FT % by 3 %), but fewer points, blocks, rebounds, assists, A/T ratio, and steals.

He is 7'2", definitely right there... and the NBA does like height.

rsvman
03-01-2007, 07:24 PM
No Greg Oden? :confused:

mapei
03-01-2007, 08:42 PM
Hibbert's numbers are low because he plays in an offense even slower than Duke's. That said, I agree that neither he nor Josh is ready for the NBA. The Hoya player who is ready is Jeff Green, who does everything Josh does but better. Something that might be encouraging for Duke is that Jeff has gotten much better in his junior year than he was as a soph. (Jeff's presence for Georgetown is also a reason that Hibbert doesn't get all the big-man numbers.)

Acie Law looked fantastic last night. It's only one game, but I was more impressed with him than with Durant.

Exiled_Devil
03-01-2007, 09:19 PM
BHD - I don't know where the numbers I cited came from - it was form the draft site originally linked here. Higgins is Josh + 3 inches statistacally.

I am not advocating for any of these guys as better than Josh, I am just saying that each has a conceivable shot at a better draft position than Josh.

RSV - we are only talking about those who are 7-13. Oden is the #1 pick. The Oden/Durant debate will be going on for 10 years from now is my guess, but if Boston wins the lottery - which Boston fans are hoping for now - they need Oden more than Durant.

Exiled_Devil
03-01-2007, 09:25 PM
I wonder how happy he is from time to time when I'm watching the games. It's hard to imagine that he doesn't love the team, given how passionate he gets during games.

On another note - he brought the ball up more than a few times last night, and at several points appeared to be calling plays at the same time as Paulus.

Was he calling the same play? Were they controverting each other? I just thought it was wierd to see someone other than a guard bring the ball up, stand at in the backcourt, and call plays.

Everyone on the floor repeats the play call - it's a core part of our offense. I think most of the time this season, Coach K has called the play. recall early season discussions about our offensive uptick in the second half.

I haven't seen anything to suggest josh is unhappy at Duke or on the team. Yes, he seems unhappy when we are losing, but I attribute that to him being a passionate competitor.

Exiled