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View Full Version : Rough 4-game stretch for our big guys



CDu
02-01-2010, 09:19 AM
After the breakout performance from the Plumlees against Wake, we've seen the following averages over the last four games from Zoubek and the Plumlees:

Miles: 18.25 mpg, 2.5 ppg, 4.25 rpg, 31% fg, 2.5 fpg
Mason: 10.5 mpg, 1.5 ppg, 1.75 rpg, 38% fg, 2.5 fpg
Zoubek: 10.75 mpg, 3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 44% fg, 3.75 fpg

Combined, that's 39.5 mpg, 7 ppg, 9.5 rpg, and 8.75 fpg. Essentially, we're getting fill-in minutes and some rebounding and fouls at the 5 spot from these guys, and not much more.

This puts a LOT of pressure on Lance Thomas and the big three to carry the team. For those suggesting that we need to get these guys more touches, it's hard to argue in favor of that given the results we've seen. The perimeter guys are shooting for a higher percentage than that and s.

We need these guys to provide more of a presence on the floor. I don't expect much more from Zoubek - at this point, he can only do so much out there. But the Plumlees need to do better htan 4 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 fouls per game (combined) if we're going to be an elite team come March.

Hopefully they can figure it out over the next month. The potential is there, as both have size and leaping ability. They just have to figure out how to get it done.

Matches
02-01-2010, 09:23 AM
Plumlees = the key to the rest of the season. When at least one of them is playing to their potential, we're really good. When neither of them is, we're still better than average but not a serious national contender.

CDu
02-01-2010, 09:48 AM
Plumlees = the key to the rest of the season. When at least one of them is playing to their potential, we're really good. When neither of them is, we're still better than average but not a serious national contender.

I agree. I don't expect either of them to start averaging 15 points and 8 rebounds or anything like that. But I would like to see the two of them be able to combine for more than 4 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 fouls in 28 minutes.

duke4life32182
02-01-2010, 10:01 AM
We should expect 20+ points a game from the three combined. Is that to much to ask for? They have size and two of them have the athletic ability to average that much between the 3. I was expecting 20 between the Plumlees a game, but that isn't what we are getting. I agree that the Plumlees are the key to our season. Also I believe that Mason and Kelley are out of position. They don't look comfortable at all this far into the season, I think these two and Dawkins need to start looking for their offense a little more. Time to step it up Freshmen.

CDu
02-01-2010, 10:10 AM
We should expect 20+ points a game from the three combined. Is that to much to ask for? They have size and two of them have the athletic ability to average that much between the 3. I was expecting 20 between the Plumlees a game, but that isn't what we are getting. I agree that the Plumlees are the key to our season. Also I believe that Mason and Kelley are out of position. They don't look comfortable at all this far into the season, I think these two and Dawkins need to start looking for their offense a little more. Time to step it up Freshmen.

I think 20 ppg is a reasonable expectation/hope from those three combined. Getting 8, 8, and 4, for example, would do it. They're averaging 15.7ppg combined (when you consider the 6 games Mason didn't play), but that number has been dropping over the past four games. It needs to be trending upward - not downward.

As for players playing out of position, Kelly is absolutely out of position in the limited minutes he's getting. He's a 4/5 who is being asked to often play the 3. That's not his game. I think Mason is playing his natural position (4/5). He's just struggling right now.

The good thing is that there is a month left in the season. Hopefully Mason and/or Miles steps up down the stretch. I have lower expectations for Kelly and Dawkins this year.

BlueDevilCorvette!
02-01-2010, 10:45 AM
It's a given Lance is a defensive warrior, however I'd love to see one of the other bigs bring a little offensive swagger to their game. I got faith someone will step up and we haven't seen the last of reverse dunks and thunder putbacks. It's a lot of pressure on these guys and that comes with the job of playing for Duke. They will get it together.

Kedsy
02-01-2010, 11:01 AM
We should expect 20+ points a game from the three combined. Is that to much to ask for?

Sorry, but I think that is way too much to ask for in less than 40 combined minutes. How many teams get 20 ppg from their center?

Lance Thomas has been playing almost 34 minutes a game over the last four and has averaged 8 ppg and 7.5 rpg. So combining all our 4s and 5s gives us 15 ppg and 17 rpg in the last four games. Which may not be eyepopping numbers but are perfectly adequate, considering our top three are the highest (or maybe second-highest) scoring trio in the nation, and we outrebounded our opponents by 3.5 per game during that stretch.

It's possible we should have a goal of 20 and 20 from our 4/5, but 15 and 15 is more realistic and is exactly what we've gotten in the last four games. Deciding that the Plumlees should score more and Thomas should score less is merely a redistribution of minutes, and I personally think that topic has been hashed and rehashed more than enough times around here in recent weeks.

Kfanarmy
02-01-2010, 11:24 AM
Sorry, but I think that is way too much to ask for in less than 40 combined minutes. How many teams get 20 ppg from their center? ...
It's possible we should have a goal of 20 and 20 from our 4/5, but 15 and 15 is more realistic and is exactly what we've gotten in the last four games. I would normally agree with this, but their shooting percentage has actually been good...really think they could hit 20 and 20 if they were getting the ball just a bit more inside. Against Georgetown 12 of 17 2pts were missed in the 1st half, primarily by the SSSs. Would be good to see if getting the ball inside to the bigs a bit more, might help with the interior shooting %.

jimrowe0
02-01-2010, 11:29 AM
I would normally agree with this, but their shooting percentage has actually been good...really think they could hit 20 and 20 if they were getting the ball just a bit more inside. Against Georgetown 12 of 17 2pts were missed in the 1st half, primarily by the SSSs. Would be good to see if getting the ball inside to the bigs a bit more, might help with the interior shooting %.

And they need to get the ball deep in the paint. Some of the problem is where they are catching the ball when they do get. Better positioning would help.

Quote from another fan today at work...and I agree
ÖIíve thought about the big man coach quite a bit lately. I donít know why we canít get anything going inside with the talent we haveÖ
Coach K seems to think everything is good with the asst. coaches he hasÖ but as a fan, Iím not too sureÖ

CDu
02-01-2010, 12:09 PM
Sorry, but I think that is way too much to ask for in less than 40 combined minutes. How many teams get 20 ppg from their center?

The point is that the Plumlees should be able to play more than 28 mpg combined. Thus, they should be able to average more than 4 ppg combined.


It's possible we should have a goal of 20 and 20 from our 4/5, but 15 and 15 is more realistic and is exactly what we've gotten in the last four games. Deciding that the Plumlees should score more and Thomas should score less is merely a redistribution of minutes, and I personally think that topic has been hashed and rehashed more than enough times around here in recent weeks.

In our last four games, we've averaged as a team only 70.25 ppg, and our efficiency has not been over 106.8. In other words, our offense has been just okay during that four game stretch. And this is despite the fact that we've gotten fairly efficient scoring efforts from our big three. That suggests to me that the bigs need to be scoring more.

Only getting 15 ppg from our 4/5 spot means we're playing with a really thin margin of error. For illustration, during this stretch in which we've gotten only 15 ppg from our bigs, we've gone 2-2 with a +0.25 ppg differential. Getting an extra 5+ ppg from our bigs would make a big difference.

Kedsy
02-01-2010, 12:14 PM
I would normally agree with this, but their shooting percentage has actually been good...really think they could hit 20 and 20 if they were getting the ball just a bit more inside. Against Georgetown 12 of 17 2pts were missed in the 1st half, primarily by the SSSs. Would be good to see if getting the ball inside to the bigs a bit more, might help with the interior shooting %.

I agree that some balance in our shot attempts (i.e., more plays inside to our big men) would be a good thing. Particularly, I've noticed that when we run a few alley oop plays, early in the game, to one or both Plumlees, they seem to play better for the entire game (although of course it's possible I'm imagining it or it's coincidence).

But whether or not we should try that, the idea of expecting 20 ppg from three players playing a combined 40 minutes is very unrealistic. If you count Lance and Ryan and ask for 20/20 from the five of them, who play a combined 77 minutes, I don't think that's too much to ask. But it is ambitious (how many teams have both the 4 and 5 positions averaging double/doubles?), and since they're at 15/17 now, we're really only talking about 2 or 3 more baskets a game from the group of them, which would be nice but doesn't seem like it would change anything.


And they need to get the ball deep in the paint. Some of the problem is where they are catching the ball when they do get. Better positioning would help.

Quote from another fan today at work...and I agree
ÖIíve thought about the big man coach quite a bit lately. I donít know why we canít get anything going inside with the talent we haveÖ
Coach K seems to think everything is good with the asst. coaches he hasÖ but as a fan, Iím not too sureÖ

I strongly disagree with your co-worker. Looking at the incredible progress/development we've seen in Miles, Z, and Lance from last year to this year, I don't see how anyone could argue the big man coach at Duke has done anything less than an amazing job.

Wander
02-01-2010, 12:17 PM
So combining all our 4s and 5s gives us 15 ppg and 17 rpg in the last four games. Which may not be eyepopping numbers but are perfectly adequate

I don't like to make hard if-then conclusions that are based on a statistic, because there are lots of ways to win basketball games, and as you said the three S's are awesome.

But I'll make an exception here. I guarantee we will not make the Final Four if all four (five, if you want to include Kelly) of our big guys are combining to give us 15ppg in March.

duke4life32182
02-01-2010, 12:18 PM
Sorry, but I don't think 20 ppg between 3 guys is asking too much. As many outside shots as our big 3 take from the perimeter and mid range (what would you say 25 shots a game between the 3) thats 25 chances at an offensive board/put back. With Smith's driving ability there are plenty of chances for big men to cut to the basket for alley oops or put backs b/c Smith is normally getting the help side defender on him leaving, that's right you got it-one of our big men wide open for an easy flush. Also if they start wanting the ball on screen and rolls from Singler and Scheyer. I'm glad LT has started to up his game, but I am expecting the Plumlees to start elevating their game. They have it in them to get 8-10 pts a night and 6-8 rebounds a game a piece if they start playing to their potential. I know Mason has a lot of potential, but I see glimpse where I think Miles could be very good if he attacks. Sometimes he is to passive. We need some back screen alley oop plays in our play book. Miles and Mason would do good on these plays. Like they used to with Henderson. Anyway I don't think 20 is to much to ask for.

Kedsy
02-01-2010, 12:26 PM
The point is that the Plumlees should be able to play more than 28 mpg combined. Thus, they should be able to average more than 4 ppg combined.

I agree with this in a vacuum, but where should the minutes have come from? The only realistic possibility would have been for Lance to have played fewer minutes. Except he's been scoring 8ppg himself. If you took 10 of his minutes away and gave them to one or both Plumlee, they would probably have scored a few more points -- for argument's sake let's say 6 or 8, although the Plumlees' per 40 stats don't necessarily support that assumption. But Lance would probably have scored 2 to 4 fewer points, so the overall gain for our offense would have been around 4 points, maybe 6. Based on what we've seen defensively from the Plumlees, it's hard to argue that them taking 10 of Lance's minutes wouldn't have allowed 2 or 3 more opposition baskets, so it seems to me it's at best a wash.


In our last four games, we've averaged as a team only 70.25 ppg, and our efficiency has not been over 106.8. In other words, our offense has been just okay during that four game stretch. And this is despite the fact that we've gotten fairly efficient scoring efforts from our big three. That suggests to me that the bigs need to be scoring more.

Only getting 15 ppg from our 4/5 spot means we're playing with a really thin margin of error. For illustration, during this stretch in which we've gotten only 15 ppg from our bigs, we've gone 2-2 with a +0.25 ppg differential. Getting an extra 5+ ppg from our bigs would make a big difference.

Possibly. But if we'd scored 5 more points in each of the games we still would have gone 2-2.

CDu
02-01-2010, 12:40 PM
I agree with this in a vacuum, but where should the minutes have come from? The only realistic possibility would have been for Lance to have played fewer minutes. Except he's been scoring 8ppg himself. If you took 10 of his minutes away and gave them to one or both Plumlee, they would probably have scored a few more points -- for argument's sake let's say 6 or 8, although the Plumlees' per 40 stats don't necessarily support that assumption. But Lance would probably have scored 2 to 4 fewer points, so the overall gain for our offense would have been around 4 points, maybe 6. Based on what we've seen defensively from the Plumlees, it's hard to argue that them taking 10 of Lance's minutes wouldn't have allowed 2 or 3 more opposition baskets, so it seems to me it's at best a wash.

I think you're missing the point. Thomas doesn't have the skillset to score more than 8 or so points per 30 minutes. The Plumlees currently average slightly more points per minute than Thomas or Zoubek. If you trade 5 mpg from Thomas and 5 mpg from Zoubek to the Plumlees, they have the ability to score more points. The key is that the Plumlees aren't close to their scoring potential.

I'm not suggesting that we trade 5 minutes of Thomas and 5 minutes of Zoubek for 10 minutes of the Plumlees as is. I agree that this would be close to a wash I'm suggesting that we need to trade 5 minutes of Zoubek and 5 minutes of Thomas for an improved version of the Plumlees. I'm not simply asking for a redistribution of minutes. I'm asking/hoping that the Plumlees improve their play such that it warrants a redistribution of minutes due to better production.


Possibly. But if we'd scored 5 more points in each of the games we still would have gone 2-2.

Yes, 5 more points per game wouldn't have changed either outcomes of those particular games. HOWEVER, if we're averaging 5 more points per game, it's less likely that we lose games like the NC State game and the Georgetown game. I'm willing to assume those are fairly extreme examples. But let's say we face a similar bad matchup in the future. If the Plumlees are scoring more and a few more shots don't fall, then maybe we can still win in spite of the bad matchup. It's all about increasing the margin for error.

I'm pretty sure you and I agreed that the Plumlees developing can make a little bit of difference offensively and maybe a little bit defensively. Am I mistaken? If I'm not mistaken, then why do you disagree with this now? All this is is a quantitative illustration of the exact same point.

Kedsy
02-01-2010, 12:58 PM
Sorry, but I don't think 20 ppg between 3 guys is asking too much.

In less than 40 combined minutes? Not many teams get 20 points out of the 40 minutes played by their centers. That kind of production would probably be among the best in the country, and whether or not you think it's too much to ask, it's extremely unrealistic, especially on a team that has the highest (or second highest) scoring perimeter trio in the nation.


As many outside shots as our big 3 take from the perimeter and mid range (what would you say 25 shots a game between the 3) thats 25 chances at an offensive board/put back.

We're one of the top offensive rebounding teams in the country, so I'm not sure what more you think we can accomplish there. But our top 12 offensive rebounding percentage is approximately 40%, so using your numbers that's only 10 chances of an offensive board put back, which is even smaller when you consider that missed outside shots often result in long rebounds that are not easy put backs. And whatever's left the Duke bigs are already trying to put back and they have decent success with it, since their shooting percentages are pretty good. So I don't entirely understand your point here.


With Smith's driving ability there are plenty of chances for big men to cut to the basket for alley oops or put backs b/c Smith is normally getting the help side defender on him leaving, that's right you got it-one of our big men wide open for an easy flush.

Well, if that's true then it's Smith's fault, not the big men's.


Also if they start wanting the ball on screen and rolls from Singler and Scheyer.

Our big men roll after almost every screen. I agree it might be nice to get them the ball more, but you certainly can't blame the bigs for that.


I'm glad LT has started to up his game, but I am expecting the Plumlees to start elevating their game. They have it in them to get 8-10 pts a night and 6-8 rebounds a game a piece if they start playing to their potential.

Well, first of all, Miles is already averaging 7 and 6. Second, there are currently approximately 12 big men in the ACC who average as many as 8 ppg and also 6 rpg. Both Plumlees may have it in them to be top 12 ACC big men, but it's a bit much to ask in essentially the first year of college play for both of them. Moreover, in order for the Plumlees to get enough minutes to average 8 and 6 (or better), you'd have to reduce Lance's minutes to only 10 or 12 a game, which I think would be very detrimental to the team from a defensive standpoint.


I know Mason has a lot of potential, but I see glimpse where I think Miles could be very good if he attacks. Sometimes he is to passive. We need some back screen alley oop plays in our play book. Miles and Mason would do good on these plays.

I completely agree we should run a few more alley oop plays to the Plumlees.

Kfanarmy
02-01-2010, 01:08 PM
Possibly. But if we'd scored 5 more points in each of the games we still would have gone 2-2.

I'm not so sure...It depends on when/where they come. If you get two-three more two point field goals during the critical 4 minute stretch of the 1st half, instead of the misses that had a direct impact on the defense you may very well decrease the other team's score by 5, changing the whole dynamic in the final 5 minutes of the game. Really just think a slight increase in efficiency inside the arc makes a world of difference. I'm one of the fans who thinks that increase in efficiency is doable between now and the ACC tourney. A little bit of positive reinforcement, seeing the ball go through the hoop, may make a whole lot of difference. I frankly think they'll get there with some emphasis on finishing inside.

Of note though, most of the shots inside are not coming from z, the Plees and RK.

Kedsy
02-01-2010, 01:09 PM
I'm pretty sure you and I agreed that the Plumlees developing can make a little bit of difference offensively and maybe a little bit defensively. Am I mistaken? If I'm not mistaken, then why do you disagree with this now? All this is is a quantitative illustration of the exact same point.

You're not mistaken. And I apologize if I've seemed argumentative. I completely agree that continued development by the Plumlees would make us a much more formidable team, and is a big key to the rest of our season. Increase our margin for error, as you said.

I suppose the reason I chimed in here is twofold. First, I don't want to see the avalanche of "play the Plumlees and bench Lance and Z," when currently Lance and Z are clearly making more of their time on the floor than Miles and Mason are (and I realize you aren't advocating this, but I fear it's a natural extension of the thread). Second, and more importantly, I think what the Plumlees really need to do is defend better. If they could defend well enough to justify additional minutes, then (a) the points would come; and (b) we might not need those points so much. I guess I don't think the problem is they aren't asserting themselves enough on offense as much as it is they can't stay on the floor long enough to get into an offensive flow. And because I think it all comes back to defense, I suppose I'm objecting to the assertion that they have put more effort into offense.

However, I apologize again for arguing with you when we essentially agree.

CDu
02-01-2010, 01:13 PM
In less than 40 combined minutes? Not many teams get 20 points out of the 40 minutes played by their centers. That kind of production would probably be among the best in the country, and whether or not you think it's too much to ask, it's extremely unrealistic, especially on a team that has the highest (or second highest) scoring perimeter trio in the nation.

The point is that if the Plumlees play more like they're capable of playing, they'll earn the trio more than 40 minutes.

The last four games, the 4/5 spot has averaged 73.25 mpg, 15 ppg, and 17 rpg. The offense has struggled during this stretch, scoring only 70.25 ppg on about 104 efficiency (or about 1.04 points per possession).

The four big men are averaging, for the season, 21.6 ppg and 19.4 rpg. And that's considering that the Plumlees are really inconsistent and have been undoubtedly playing below their potential. Yet all you're expecting from the quartet is 15 and 15? That's asking too little.

I think we need them to average at least 20 and 18 from the 4/5 spot. That way, our margin for error goes up, and maybe we can withstand some of these bad matchups come tourney time. We can only expect 60+ from the big three so many times.

Edit: Kedsy - I see your last post after having posted this. I agree that defense is the first thing the Plumlees need to improve upon. But I think they also need to play better offensively, as evidenced by their sub-40% fg shooting and low point totals. I was certainly not suggesting that we merely reallocate minutes just to reallocate minutes. I was merely looking for more productivity (and I agree it needs to be at both ends) from the Plumlees, because that's where I think this team has the most room for improvement. Since we agree about that, I see no need for further debate between us on this.

dubcee83
02-01-2010, 01:20 PM
First of all, I am new here and I love the activity on the boards. It really makes me proud to be a Duke fan. I do want to apologize about the length for starters and I guess I should start by saying I am not trying to bash Lance Thomas, but I speak from what I see each game.

I agree with most on here that the Plumlee's should start. I would even be satisfied with a Plumlee/Zoubek combination starting. I say this because Lance Thomas has no offensive skillset and he's in his 4th year. Everyone of you in here know that every time Lance Thomas gets a entry pass in the post, you will 98% of the time get a pumpfake, pumpfake, missed layup or blocked shot. Of all of Thomas 8ppg, 6 are normally from putbacks. Occasionally Thomas hits a midrange, but he threatens no team with his offensive ability. I notice people mention that Thomas has been really good defensively. I slightly agree. Yes he face guarded T. Booker well a couple games and he played well against lesser competition, but overall he gets exposed by bigger, more skilled big men(See: G. Monroe, any G. Tech post player, etc.).

So the argument I constantly hear is that the Plumlee's pick up cheapies. I would definitely agree with this. But wouldn't you all agree the cheapies would lessen with more significant playing time. The more you get accustomed to the college game, the more effective you will be. Mason comes in so aggressive because he is eager to make plays. He is by FAR our most skilled big man and needs the opportunity to play before its too late. Thomas is a great leader with great energy, but his skill level just hasn't developed under the Duke system in 4 years. I say let Lance be the 6th or 7th man. Be an energy guy when the Devils need more enthusiasm (See: Jamal Boykin pre-transfer).

Another issue I have is foul trouble. Specifically, there is a reason why opposing Bigs are never in foul trouble. They have absolutely nothing to worry
about when guarding any of Duke's bigs. For the majority of the game its 3 vs 5. And I put a lot of that blame of Coach K and the 3S's. I get so tired of watching any of the bigs (and no Thomas is not a big) post-up and not get the entry pass. I guarantee you if we fed the posts at least 10-12 possessions a game, our bigs would either put up points or get fouled at least. The threat of an inside game opens up wide open shots for the perimeter guys. Duke has become one dimensional like the past few seasons and they are going to get exposed by the upper echelon teams. Games vs. the likes of Georgetown are no fluke. Unless Duke changes the way it plays, we will not make it past the Sweet 16. I, like many others, can't wait until Coach K realizes enough is enough. I could go on, but I'll stop here. I look forward to your feedback!

RelativeWays
02-01-2010, 01:25 PM
Everyone knows that the post play, particularly the Plumlees are huge keys to success. The skeptic says their offensive numbers are abysmal because Duke seldom runs any sort of offense to get them involved. Its either an ally-oop or a garbage put back. The Homer says that neither Miles, Mason or Zoubs have shown enough offensive consistency to be part of the scheme on a regular basis. The skeptic then replies that they cannot improve if not involved.
Whatever, what we do have is a conundrum where this is a big Duke team that does not know how to play big, I think we can agree on that. Very seldom is our height advantage every used as.....well, an advantage. What does Duke and K do? We know from the past that our big 3 WILL need support later in the year, we've read this book before. Here's what I nominate (and try not to laugh). Last season, Coach K took a gangly largely unproven freshman to revitalize the starting line-up and for the most part, it worked brilliantly, only UNC and Nova could not be felled by the new Duke team. Now, I say this, and it would take a HUGE leap of faith for K to do this, I mean huge, I mean counter to how he's run his game for years. So we have the 2nd half of the ACC season to really get this going so here it is.....wait for it... Make the Plumlees or Zoubek a primary offensive option, make them number 2 if not 1. Make them touch the ball EVERY offensive possesion. Let them work it in the post, let Nolan and Jon break down D for the quick dish. Let Miles and Mason get good enough that the D HAS TO collapse on them so they can kick out to the perimeter for the open shot. Will this work? I dunno, but I think the rewards reaped way outweigh the detriments. As it is, we will probably win 25+ games possibly the ACC regular season, but someone is going to catch us and beat us. We are defintely exposed. K turned a percieved weakness in our guard situation with Email and made it a strength, he can do it with these guys. These are not untalented goofs here, even Zoubs is cagey enough to get 6-8 a game through experience alone.

Kedsy
02-01-2010, 01:32 PM
I think we need them to average at least 20 and 18 from the 4/5 spot. That way, our margin for error goes up, and maybe we can withstand some of these bad matchups come tourney time. We can only expect 60+ from the big three so many times.

Edit: Kedsy - I see your last post after having posted this. I agree that defense is the first thing the Plumlees need to improve upon. But I think they also need to play better offensively, as evidenced by their sub-40% fg shooting and low point totals. I was certainly not suggesting that we merely reallocate minutes just to reallocate minutes. I was merely looking for more productivity (and I agree it needs to be at both ends) from the Plumlees, because that's where I think this team has the most room for improvement. Since we agree about that, I see no need for further debate between us on this.

OK. Watch, though, if they can get their defense under control we'll all be pleasantly surprised how much their offense will instantanously improve. They both seem to be players who need to get into the flow in order to thrive. They don't do nearly as well with fragmented minutes.

When they're playing limited minutes they both tend to become tentative and hang their heads after each mistake instead of playing loose and aggressive. When they play well enough to earn extended minutes and get into the flow, they run the break better and move more for their alley oops and the the others will look more for them. That's how it can all come together. It all comes back to defense and staying on the floor.

Kedsy
02-01-2010, 01:39 PM
Everyone knows that the post play, particularly the Plumlees are huge keys to success. The skeptic says their offensive numbers are abysmal because Duke seldom runs any sort of offense to get them involved. Its either an ally-oop or a garbage put back. The Homer says that neither Miles, Mason or Zoubs have shown enough offensive consistency to be part of the scheme on a regular basis. The skeptic then replies that they cannot improve if not involved.
Whatever, what we do have is a conundrum where this is a big Duke team that does not know how to play big, I think we can agree on that. Very seldom is our height advantage every used as.....well, an advantage. What does Duke and K do? We know from the past that our big 3 WILL need support later in the year, we've read this book before. Here's what I nominate (and try not to laugh). Last season, Coach K took a gangly largely unproven freshman to revitalize the starting line-up and for the most part, it worked brilliantly, only UNC and Nova could not be felled by the new Duke team. Now, I say this, and it would take a HUGE leap of faith for K to do this, I mean huge, I mean counter to how he's run his game for years. So we have the 2nd half of the ACC season to really get this going so here it is.....wait for it... Make the Plumlees or Zoubek a primary offensive option, make them number 2 if not 1. Make them touch the ball EVERY offensive possesion. Let them work it in the post, let Nolan and Jon break down D for the quick dish. Let Miles and Mason get good enough that the D HAS TO collapse on them so they can kick out to the perimeter for the open shot. Will this work? I dunno, but I think the rewards reaped way outweigh the detriments. As it is, we will probably win 25+ games possibly the ACC regular season, but someone is going to catch us and beat us. We are defintely exposed. K turned a percieved weakness in our guard situation with Email and made it a strength, he can do it with these guys. These are not untalented goofs here, even Zoubs is cagey enough to get 6-8 a game through experience alone.

It's an interesting idea, and it would be a lot of fun to watch. But it's hard to imagine K actually doing this. I mean, if he had any intention of doing it we would have been doing it all year long.

Having said that, it does seem to me the true motion offense we saw earlier in the season has more or less given way to the one-on-one perimeter offense we ran last season and the season before. If we went back to mostly motion the bigs could possibly get involved in a less drastic fashion than you propose.

CDu
02-01-2010, 02:44 PM
OK. Watch, though, if they can get their defense under control we'll all be pleasantly surprised how much their offense will instantanously improve. They both seem to be players who need to get into the flow in order to thrive. They don't do nearly as well with fragmented minutes.

When they're playing limited minutes they both tend to become tentative and hang their heads after each mistake instead of playing loose and aggressive. When they play well enough to earn extended minutes and get into the flow, they run the break better and move more for their alley oops and the the others will look more for them. That's how it can all come together. It all comes back to defense and staying on the floor.

I don't disagree at all, and I certainly hope you're right. Actually, since I agree, I guess what I really hope is that they figure it out over the next month.

The good thing is that we match up well with enough of the better teams in the conference that, barring a fluke, we should be the favorites to win our conference. So it's not like the season is a loss. We can withstand the growing pains through February if necessary. But I think to be a real threat to go deep into March (or April), we're going to need to see some real progress from those guys.

ChicagoCrazy84
02-01-2010, 02:50 PM
I like the idea. I have always been a proponent of getting our post game going on a consistent basis. It's like the running game in football. At the start of each game, you want to try and establish the run and dominate the line of scrimmage and that opens up the play book. Why not start off feeding Miles and trying to get him going? He's not as turnover prone as Zoubek and LT and he is stronger than Mason. Not only that, he is a good foul shooter!
The way it is right now, we've basically hit a wall with our offense and we're not going to improve that much with our system. There is currently too much pressure on the 3 S's to score and with one of them shooting well below 40%(Singler), it puts even more pressure on someone like Scheyer who is bringing the ball up and trying to get our team in our offensive sets. It doesn't hurt to try and if you fail, rely on your defense and go back to getting the 3 S's the ball. I haven't done any hard research on this, but I can almost guarantee that the majority of national championship winners in the past 20 years or so have had at least 4 players average double figures, sometimes 5. Duke alone in 1999, 2001, and 2004 had at least 4 each year. We need someone to step up and it's not going to happen unless we give them the chance and I think Miles is our best candidate.

Newton_14
02-01-2010, 02:50 PM
It's an interesting idea, and it would be a lot of fun to watch. But it's hard to imagine K actually doing this. I mean, if he had any intention of doing it we would have been doing it all year long.

Having said that, it does seem to me the true motion offense we saw earlier in the season has more or less given way to the one-on-one perimeter offense we ran last season and the season before. If we went back to mostly motion the bigs could possibly get involved in a less drastic fashion than you propose.

Not sure what the strategic answer is, but something has to change on offense. Like you said above we have totally abandoned the true motion and have lapsed back into 3 on 5. All our bigs ever do anymore is run around chasing the Big 3 trying to set screens. We have to change the approach.

No matter what the approach is, the ball has to go into the post more often, for scoring attempts, as well as kick outs and dumps to cutters flashing into the lane. It also seems we never look for the high low action with the 4 and 5 anymore either. I have said it before, all 5 guys on the floor need to be a threat to score to prevent defenses from totally smothering our perimeter trio. The Plumlee's are the best option for the answer, but like you stated earlier I am not suggesting throwing Lance and Zoubs out of the rotation. Hardly. The solution lies in having the Plumlee's be more effective and getting Mason a few more minutes. Miles is already getting good minutes and for the most part has played well, but I think he can play even better. I would like to see us get back to the offensive approach we had coming out of the gate, as well as make a concerted effort to get Mason, Miles, and Zoubs the ball on the low block with Mason also getting touches facing the basket. If we do that it will change the dynamic of the offense and should actually free up our perimeter S's for better looks.


It will be interesting to see what adjustments K makes over the next couple of weeks, that's for sure.

Greg_Newton
02-01-2010, 03:03 PM
Agree with the general sentiments here, and would like to add that I think it would be great to get the Plumlees involved in offense in a way other than saying "Okay - post up and do whatever you want this possession, then go back to being a mindless screener for the next 10".

They seem to play infinitely better, as Kedsy said, when they get into the flow of things a little bit. Lance and Z have learned to thrive in a "garbageman" role, but the Plumlees' bad habits of playing ballhawking rugby-style defense and forcing offense seem to increase significantly when they are not positively contributing in more traditional, obvious ways.

I'm also a bit perplexed as to why we abandoned the motion-ish offense. I would really like to see us get into the habit of dropping it in to them on the block or high post often and early in the possession, as part of the flow of the offense, rather than just giving them the occaisonal feed with the obvious goal of "getting some post offense". That way, instead of viewing an entry pass as a rare invitation/opportunity to go 1-on-1, they might start to settle down and get comfortable with their role in team offense. All they need to do is take what the defense gives them... they elevate well enough to make a move and finish when they get a reasonably good opportunity, but they're not good enough yet to just back down a defender and school him.

Who knows if K will mix things up going forward, but FWIW he's apparently been even more super-charged-intense these past couple days than normal... which is saying a lot!:rolleyes: I just hope it results in an Elliot Williams-style genius move rather than just lighting a bigger fire under the 3 guys we've already been riding all season. Seems like it could go either way at this point.

ChicagoCrazy84
02-01-2010, 03:11 PM
You're probably right Newton about going 1 on 1. I've seen flashes of Miles being able to post up, but he still seems to resort to the baby hook a little more than I'd like to see. How about getting a mid-range game going with Mason? Getting the ball to him in the high post off of a screen and letting him pop that would be a nice way to get him going. He shys away from contact too much in the low post and I don't think he's comfortable shooting the long ball just yet. If he could get a mid-range shot going consistently, thn maybe he can start to use that to his advantage and take his guy 1 on1 a bit more.

jv001
02-01-2010, 03:14 PM
Not sure what the strategic answer is, but something has to change on offense. Like you said above we have totally abandoned the true motion and have lapsed back into 3 on 5. All our bigs ever do anymore is run around chasing the Big 3 trying to set screens. We have to change the approach.

No matter what the approach is, the ball has to go into the post more often, for scoring attempts, as well as kick outs and dumps to cutters flashing into the lane. It also seems we never look for the high low action with the 4 and 5 anymore either. I have said it before, all 5 guys on the floor need to be a threat to score to prevent defenses from totally smothering our perimeter trio. The Plumlee's are the best option for the answer, but like you stated earlier I am not suggesting throwing Lance and Zoubs out of the rotation. Hardly. The solution lies in having the Plumlee's be more effective and getting Mason a few more minutes. Miles is already getting good minutes and for the most part has played well, but I think he can play even better. I would like to see us get back to the offensive approach we had coming out of the gate, as well as make a concerted effort to get Mason, Miles, and Zoubs the ball on the low block with Mason also getting touches facing the basket. If we do that it will change the dynamic of the offense and should actually free up our perimeter S's for better looks.


It will be interesting to see what adjustments K makes over the next couple of weeks, that's for sure.

Looks like everyone is on the same wave length here. I hope that Coach K is thinking the same thing. I wonder if sitting Zoubs for most of the G-Town game after getting two quick fouls, spells the end of the Zoubs experiment? He did not hesitate to sit Greg at the end of last season and insert Elliot into the starting lineup. Since we have several days before the Ga. Tech game, it would be a good time to get Mason and Miles into the starting lineup. Not to solely set picks, but to be involved in the offense. Maybe high low action. But you can bet your life that it will have to be successful in practice for K to make that change. That would be a starting lineup of Jon, Nolan, Kyle, Mason and Miles. We give up some defense with Lance coming off the bench but I think it would put more pressure on our opponent. I'm not saying take Lance out of the rotation, but it would give us another dimension on offense. Lance then can spell, Kyle, Mason and Zoubs could come in for Miles. If Zoubs cannot stay on the court because of fouls, he's not contributing to the team. I love his offensive rebounding, but we cannot depend on that against tough competition. I guess I may be clutching at straws here, but something needs to be done to our offense. We have no inside game and we're putting too much pressure on our perimeter guys. That was not the case when we were playing patsies. Our bigs were getting many offensive rebounds off our misses that gave our outside guys more opportunties to keep shooting. That gave them confidence and it showed in their shooting percentages. Well that's just my opinion. Which isn't much. Go Duke!

MChambers
02-01-2010, 03:39 PM
Looks like everyone is on the same wave length here. I hope that Coach K is thinking the same thing. I wonder if sitting Zoubs for most of the G-Town game after getting two quick fouls, spells the end of the Zoubs experiment? He did not hesitate to sit Greg at the end of last season and insert Elliot into the starting lineup. Since we have several days before the Ga. Tech game, it would be a good time to get Mason and Miles into the starting lineup. Not to solely set picks, but to be involved in the offense. Maybe high low action. But you can bet your life that it will have to be successful in practice for K to make that change. That would be a starting lineup of Jon, Nolan, Kyle, Mason and Miles. We give up some defense with Lance coming off the bench but I think it would put more pressure on our opponent. I'm not saying take Lance out of the rotation, but it would give us another dimension on offense. Lance then can spell, Kyle, Mason and Zoubs could come in for Miles. If Zoubs cannot stay on the court because of fouls, he's not contributing to the team. I love his offensive rebounding, but we cannot depend on that against tough competition. I guess I may be clutching at straws here, but something needs to be done to our offense. We have no inside game and we're putting too much pressure on our perimeter guys. That was not the case when we were playing patsies. Our bigs were getting many offensive rebounds off our misses that gave our outside guys more opportunties to keep shooting. That gave them confidence and it showed in their shooting percentages. Well that's just my opinion. Which isn't much. Go Duke!

Maybe the answer is to find a way to keep Zoubek on the floor. Interesting that he's had the best plus-minus numbers for the last two years, and in a game where he barely plays we look horrible.

Kedsy
02-01-2010, 03:46 PM
This thread has turned into a fun and interesting discussion, which is such a welcome after reading the Georgetown post-game thread.


I would like to see us get back to the offensive approach we had coming out of the gate, as well as make a concerted effort to get Mason, Miles, and Zoubs the ball on the low block with Mason also getting touches facing the basket. If we do that it will change the dynamic of the offense and should actually free up our perimeter S's for better looks.

I think this is the key -- our perimeter guys have been shooting at a much lower percentage when they have to make their own shot, or move off a pick and quickly hoist one up before the defense gets through. They were much better when they were getting their shots in the flow of a good motion offense. I suspect Jon's increased turnovers are due to similar reasons.


Looks like everyone is on the same wave length here.

And that's got to be close to a first.


I wonder if sitting Zoubs for most of the G-Town game after getting two quick fouls, spells the end of the Zoubs experiment? He did not hesitate to sit Greg at the end of last season and insert Elliot into the starting lineup.

Last year Z only played 5 minutes against Georgetown. I think Georgetown and Monroe pose a very difficult matchup for Mr. Zoubek. He should go back to his 10 to 15 minutes in the next game. I hope so, anyway, if for no other reason than he's one of our most effective players statistically while he's on the court and the team plays much better when he's out there (see Jumbo's plus/minus stats if anyone disagrees).

_Gary
02-01-2010, 03:51 PM
In less than 40 combined minutes? Not many teams get 20 points out of the 40 minutes played by their centers.

If this has been answered already by you and I missed it, then forgive me. But up to this point you have twice said that we are expecting all this from the center position and that's not entirely true. At times we are playing Mason at the 4 and either Miles or Zoubs at the 5. So technically we are not asking for 20 points strictly from the center position alone. I'd say a better point would be that we should reasonably be able to expect closer to 30 points, on average, from our frontline quartet of Lance, Brian, Miles and Mason (and we could throw in Ryan for good measure). If we could get around 30, on average, from that group I think we'd be in much better shape offensively. And I don't believe that's unrealistic at all. The thing I've been disappointed in the last few games has been the inability to finish near the rim with this group. We've missed several bunnies that should have gone in easily.

Kedsy
02-01-2010, 04:20 PM
If this has been answered already by you and I missed it, then forgive me. But up to this point you have twice said that we are expecting all this from the center position and that's not entirely true. At times we are playing Mason at the 4 and either Miles or Zoubs at the 5. So technically we are not asking for 20 points strictly from the center position alone. I'd say a better point would be that we should reasonably be able to expect closer to 30 points, on average, from our frontline quartet of Lance, Brian, Miles and Mason (and we could throw in Ryan for good measure). If we could get around 30, on average, from that group I think we'd be in much better shape offensively. And I don't believe that's unrealistic at all. The thing I've been disappointed in the last few games has been the inability to finish near the rim with this group. We've missed several bunnies that should have gone in easily.

The 40 minutes number came from the combined average minutes of MP1, MP2, & Z in the last four games. During those four games, Lance has played an average of 34 minutes and Kelly 4, so pretty much Mason has only been playing the 5 when he's in, at least during the four game stretch we were talking about (with perhaps a couple minutes of exception here or there, but I was simplifying for the sake of discussion).

As far as hoping for 30 points from our 4 and 5 positions, I think in the entire ACC only UNC gets that much production out of their 80 big man minutes. Do you think we should expect our cadre of big men to be at the top of the league in scoring?

Whether or not you think our inside guys should get more touches, our best offense comes from our perimeter guys. The offense should be designed so that the four of them (including Andre) get enough shots to average 55 ppg or so. Adding 30 points from the 4/5 would put us in the top 5 nationally in points per game, which frankly at the pace we play is not realistic at all.

Saratoga2
02-01-2010, 04:38 PM
There are quite a number of teams out there with quick guards and a dominant inside presence, like Georgetown. GT has some of that capability. I would argue that we were slower than G'Town at most positions and very slow to react defensively. In addition, we turned the ball over quite a bit (I believe 16 times), racked up a lot of early fouls and seemed to be totally confused on the defensive end. A lot of that had to do with the changing lineups. It is hard to argue that scoring a few more points by anyone (say 45% shooting %) or even less turnovers would have led to a win at G'town. What would have is holding them to 50% shooting and that should be doable for our team.

We really need our bigs to stop the reaching and bumping fouls. They are getting called for a lot of them. They also seem to have travelitis issues as well. Zoubek, Thomas and Mason have all had those problems. He is also getting called for charges in about every game. Defensive lapses could be reduced if the lineups become stabilized and guys know their roles when playing with each other. Thomas has done well of late and Miles has shown a lot in defense and rebounding. Having a stong determined player inside is a bonus.

As far as offense, the Plumlee's are potentially our better inside players. Miles seemed to be unready to catch passes thrown into him against G'Town. He has got to expect the ball. Miles is getting setup just too far away from the basket. His spin move requires him to cover too much ground to get inside and he charges and walks as a result. He really has a lot of potential and needs coaching to realize his capability. I don't think it is unreasonable to expect these guys to each hit a few shots a game and also make a couple of free throws. Getting better defense inside and scoring 12 to 14 points a game between threm would really help this team achieve. I think the Plumlee's played really well when in together. This hasn't happened a lot since the Wake game. Why?

CDu
02-01-2010, 04:40 PM
As far as hoping for 30 points from our 4 and 5 positions, I think in the entire ACC only UNC gets that much production out of their 80 big man minutes. Do you think we should expect our cadre of big men to be at the top of the league in scoring?

I know we've reached agreement on the main issue, but I have to point out that this isn't really true. Clemson gets about 32 ppg from the Bookers, Jennings, Grant, and Narcisse. FSU gets 26 ppg from Alabi/Reid/Gibson, who only average 60 mpg. When you factor in Singleton (who plays the rest of the time at the 4 and averages 11 ppg), they're probably around 32 as well. GT gets 36 from their frontcourt trio. State gets 35. Wake gets about 32. UNC (when Zeller is healthy) gets about 40 from their frontcourt.

Only Duke, Va Tech, Miami, and UVa get under 30 ppg from their bigs. Granted, we are a much more perimeter focused team. So I don't expect to get 30 ppg from them. But considering that our 4/5 guys were averaging over 21 ppg prior to the last two weeks, I don't think that hoping they can at least return to that average (if not a bit more) is unreasonable. That would bump us back from a 70 ppg team to a 75+ ppg team, which is where I think we'll need to be.

Duke '79
02-01-2010, 04:51 PM
First off, the half court offensive sets have reverted into a three man weave- set up at the three point line and no ball movement inside. Therefore, it is easy to see why the 'bigs' are not scoring because they get no touches!! Miles P played well against Wake because he went to the offensive glass, not that Duke decided to run any of the half court offensive sets through him. Lance is active but can not finish at the rim. Z still brings the ball down when he gets an offensive rebound and he gets it taken away by the defense. Mason has talent but needs a sense of direction and that is coaching ( or lack thereof). If Duke continues to 'freeze out' the 'bigs' and not develop the current talent, we will continue to struggle both in the half court offense AND have a very difficult time recruiting and winning players to come and play the '4' and '5' position. Couple that with the strain on the SSS trio playing monster minutes, you have the recepe for the same post season 'underperformance' that we have witnessed since 2004.

'The highest form of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results'--

Hermy-own
02-01-2010, 05:47 PM
The 40 minutes number came from the combined average minutes of MP1, MP2, & Z in the last four games. During those four games, Lance has played an average of 34 minutes and Kelly 4, so pretty much Mason has only been playing the 5 when he's in, at least during the four game stretch we were talking about (with perhaps a couple minutes of exception here or there, but I was simplifying for the sake of discussion).

As far as hoping for 30 points from our 4 and 5 positions, I think in the entire ACC only UNC gets that much production out of their 80 big man minutes. Do you think we should expect our cadre of big men to be at the top of the league in scoring?

Whether or not you think our inside guys should get more touches, our best offense comes from our perimeter guys. The offense should be designed so that the four of them (including Andre) get enough shots to average 55 ppg or so. Adding 30 points from the 4/5 would put us in the top 5 nationally in points per game, which frankly at the pace we play is not realistic at all.

Kedsy, most the confusion over the numbers was answered by another poster: we are asking for 20 and 20 (very modest numbers) from 80 minutes at the 4 & 5. And frankly, if Lance playing 34 minutes is making that impossible, then that is why we are asking for him to take a bench role. Everyone says that his versatility on defense is crucial, but plenty of opposing big men have had success against him (Booker twice, Lawal, Monroe). As for his overall effect on team defense - I'm sure it's good, but, I'll agree with those who want to the see the plumlees get in the game more, and get more offensive touches.

Also, I think the statistics DO back up their increased role. Besides the qualitative notes that we have given up on motion, that we are playing 3v5 on offense, and that they cannot properly get in a rhythm:
Their offensive percentages are not bad. Against Georgetown they were much better than our big 3 (they took so few shots, that may be regarded as a fluke). I agree the above posters who advocated for a bigger role for them. The only doubt I have is that it's true that the one game we played without Zoubek, we looked awful. Coincidence? I'm not sure. Even in the games we look good, he doesn't play that many minutes though.

CDu
02-01-2010, 05:57 PM
Kedsy, most the confusion over the numbers was answered by another poster: we are asking for 20 and 20 (very modest numbers) from 80 minutes at the 4 & 5. And frankly, if Lance playing 34 minutes is making that impossible, then that is why we are asking for him to take a bench role. Everyone says that his versatility on defense is crucial, but plenty of opposing big men have had success against him (Booker twice, Lawal, Monroe). As for his overall effect on team defense - I'm sure it's good, but, I'll agree with those who want to the see the plumlees get in the game more, and get more offensive touches.

Also, I think the statistics DO back up their increased role. Besides the qualitative notes that we have given up on motion, that we are playing 3v5 on offense, and that they cannot properly get in a rhythm:
Their offensive percentages are not bad. Against Georgetown they were much better than our big 3 (they took so few shots, that may be regarded as a fluke). I agree the above posters who advocated for a bigger role for them. The only doubt I have is that it's true that the one game we played without Zoubek, we looked awful. Coincidence? I'm not sure. Even in the games we look good, he doesn't play that many minutes though.

Now, I'm on board with hoping for 20 and 20 (or maybe 20-25 and 20) from our frontcourt. But I'm certainly not a fan of forcefeeding minutes to the Plumlees just in an attempt to make that happen. Rather, I'm just hopeful that the Plumlees can play well enough to EARN the minutes necessary to get us to 20-25 and 20. I mean, we're already averaging 21 and 19 (including the last four down games), so hoping we get back to that level and maybe a bit more is not unreasonable.

Hermy-own
02-01-2010, 06:40 PM
Now, I'm on board with hoping for 20 and 20 (or maybe 20-25 and 20) from our frontcourt. But I'm certainly not a fan of forcefeeding minutes to the Plumlees just in an attempt to make that happen. Rather, I'm just hopeful that the Plumlees can play well enough to EARN the minutes necessary to get us to 20-25 and 20. I mean, we're already averaging 21 and 19 (including the last four down games), so hoping we get back to that level and maybe a bit more is not unreasonable.

Sorry - I didn't make myself clear enough. I agree the Plumlee's need to earn their minutes, but I think that we need to run the ball through them so that they have the ability to earn their minutes. I also think that they play better when they get an extended time on the court. So I don't think sitting back and waiting for them to take control of game simply on putbacks is realistic. The team focus needs to help them.

Troublemaker
02-01-2010, 06:44 PM
Singler's really the only guy on the team that I trust to score consistently on a postup.

Mason doesn't appear strong enough to finish and on top of things doesn't look smooth executing post moves. I think he's a faceup big. Lance is small and gets blocked and stripped too often in traffic (among other things). Z is slow executing moves and gets stripped and shuffles his feet, among other things. He does get offensive rebounds and putbacks but that's different from a straight postup. Miles probably looks the best out of all the bigs operating from the post, but he still doesn't convert as efficiently or look nearly as good as Kyle, imo (and Miles had trouble catching in the Georgetown game for some reason). All the bigs have trouble holding position. All the bigs have a small shooting range from the post, which is why they often have to take one more dribble to get closer before they feel comfortable shooting. All of them have to start their post moves close to the basket.

Kyle meanwhile has, imo, by far the best post moves and by far the best conversion percentage on postups on the team (which I wish could be verified by a site that charts plays). He is usually guarded by someone smaller than him. He's a good passer with good vision and can find the open man if the defense collapses. He has range and can start his post move farther from the basket than the other bigs, making it easier for entry passes. There's really not much to dislike. I think he's the guy the team should focus on posting up more (This isn't to say I disagree with the notion that Duke needs more production from its post players, btw. Production can occur in different ways. It's just that, if we're talking about increasing post "touches," I'd trust Kyle to do more with those additional touches than anyone else.)

While it's unconventional to have a wing be your main postup threat, it's not unheard of and it can be done. Bo Ryan obviously does it with guys like Alando Tucker. And Duke has posted up Kyle some this season but the frequency of those sets hasn't been high enough, imo. Especially during crucial possessions in the game when the team needs to stop a run or end the half with a score or things of that nature, I don't think Duke has a more reliable option than going to Kyle in the post.

loldevilz
02-01-2010, 06:48 PM
I like the idea. I have always been a proponent of getting our post game going on a consistent basis. It's like the running game in football. At the start of each game, you want to try and establish the run and dominate the line of scrimmage and that opens up the play book. Why not start off feeding Miles and trying to get him going? He's not as turnover prone as Zoubek and LT and he is stronger than Mason. Not only that, he is a good foul shooter!
The way it is right now, we've basically hit a wall with our offense and we're not going to improve that much with our system. There is currently too much pressure on the 3 S's to score and with one of them shooting well below 40%(Singler), it puts even more pressure on someone like Scheyer who is bringing the ball up and trying to get our team in our offensive sets. It doesn't hurt to try and if you fail, rely on your defense and go back to getting the 3 S's the ball. I haven't done any hard research on this, but I can almost guarantee that the majority of national championship winners in the past 20 years or so have had at least 4 players average double figures, sometimes 5. Duke alone in 1999, 2001, and 2004 had at least 4 each year. We need someone to step up and it's not going to happen unless we give them the chance and I think Miles is our best candidate.

Being a Charger's fan, your metaphor makes perfect sense to me. This year the Charger's faultered in the playoff's because their running game was so poor (31st in the league I believe). Their game was not well rounded enough to sustain them against a truly good defensive team. They would run as little as possible, just to keep the defense honest and then throw the ball. Essentially this year we are doing the same thing. We use the post just enough to give the Three S's a chance. Against a mediocre team this flies but against G'town it showed. I also agree that Miles is the best bet because he has a year under his belt.

One thing that should also be mentioned is that the vast majority of the points from the post have come from put backs and free throws, not from feeding the post. The later is what we need to develop.

Kedsy
02-01-2010, 08:24 PM
I know we've reached agreement on the main issue, but I have to point out that this isn't really true. Clemson gets about 32 ppg from the Bookers, Jennings, Grant, and Narcisse. FSU gets 26 ppg from Alabi/Reid/Gibson, who only average 60 mpg. When you factor in Singleton (who plays the rest of the time at the 4 and averages 11 ppg), they're probably around 32 as well. GT gets 36 from their frontcourt trio. State gets 35. Wake gets about 32. UNC (when Zeller is healthy) gets about 40 from their frontcourt.

Only Duke, Va Tech, Miami, and UVa get under 30 ppg from their bigs. Granted, we are a much more perimeter focused team. So I don't expect to get 30 ppg from them. But considering that our 4/5 guys were averaging over 21 ppg prior to the last two weeks, I don't think that hoping they can at least return to that average (if not a bit more) is unreasonable. That would bump us back from a 70 ppg team to a 75+ ppg team, which is where I think we'll need to be.

Well, I counted quickly. I didn't count Singleton because he plays mostly 3, and same with Peacock. I didn't know who to count for State because only Smith plays inside. And I forgot to count the second Booker.

So, sorry about that, if I'm going to make a statement I should be able to back it up. But my point was there's no way Duke's frontcourt can or should be expected to get anywhere close to 30 ppg this season.

_Gary
02-01-2010, 08:52 PM
But my point was there's no way Duke's frontcourt can or should be expected to get anywhere close to 30 ppg this season.

Why in the world is that so outrage a proposition to you? The five players I mentioned average 25 a game now. How is an extra 3-5 points per that out of the question?

CDu
02-01-2010, 09:19 PM
Well, I counted quickly. I didn't count Singleton because he plays mostly 3, and same with Peacock. I didn't know who to count for State because only Smith plays inside. And I forgot to count the second Booker.

So, sorry about that, if I'm going to make a statement I should be able to back it up. But my point was there's no way Duke's frontcourt can or should be expected to get anywhere close to 30 ppg this season.

Actually, Peacock plays mostly at the 4, not the 3. GT plays Lawal and Favors 26 mpg each. The only other big man they have aside from Peacock is Sheehan, and he gets about 7-8 mpg. So that means that about 20 of Peacock's 22 mpg are played at the 4. That's why I counted him. Singleton plays about half his time at the 3 (where he starts) and half at the 4. FSU only gets about 60-65 mpg from their other guys at the 4/5. So it's not really appropriate to completely discount him either.

Regardless, I wasn't trying to bash - just give full disclosure. And I agree that 30 ppg is not necessarily realistic for us. But I do think 20-25 is a very realistic expectation/hope, given that our frontcourt is currently averaging 21 for the season.

Kedsy
02-01-2010, 09:38 PM
Why in the world is that so outrage a proposition to you? The five players I mentioned average 25 a game now. How is an extra 3-5 points per that out of the question?

It's not outrageous to me. It's just not realistic in my opinion.

_Gary
02-01-2010, 09:38 PM
But I do think 20-25 is a very realistic expectation/hope, given that our frontcourt is currently averaging 21 for the season.

CDu, how are you coming up with 21? The stats I'm looking at tell me that the 5 players I'd basically count as our frontcourt (Z, LT, M&M, and RK) are averaging 25 for the season. Perhaps your not counting Kelly, but even without his numbers I still see us at 23 ppg. Maybe the stats I'm looking at aren't current. I'm using ESPN's stat page for each player.

Bob Green
02-02-2010, 02:54 AM
Perhaps your not counting Kelly, but even without his numbers I still see us at 23 ppg. Maybe the stats I'm looking at aren't current. I'm using ESPN's stat page for each player.

Per the official stats at GoDuke, Miles Plumlee, Lance Thomas, Brian Zoubek and Mason Plumlee are combining to average 23 points per game:

Miles Plumlee: 7.0
Lance Thomas: 5.9
Brian Zoubek: 5.2
Mason Plumlee: 4.9
Total: 23

https://www.nmnathletics.com//pdf4/668183.pdf?ATCLID=204877620&SPSID=22724&SPID=1845&DB_OEM_ID=4200

CDu
02-02-2010, 06:35 AM
Per the official stats at GoDuke, Miles Plumlee, Lance Thomas, Brian Zoubek and Mason Plumlee are combining to average 23 points per game:

Miles Plumlee: 7.0
Lance Thomas: 5.9
Brian Zoubek: 5.2
Mason Plumlee: 4.9
Total: 23

https://www.nmnathletics.com//pdf4/668183.pdf?ATCLID=204877620&SPSID=22724&SPID=1845&DB_OEM_ID=4200

Yes, simply summing the per game averages gives you 23 ppg. However, in estimating the total production by these guys you have to account for the fact that Mason missed six games. So his 4.9 ppg in 15 games is really 3.4 ppg over the 21 games. So the quartet is averaging 21.5 ppg this season.

NSDukeFan
02-02-2010, 08:59 AM
As some other posters have mentioned (I remember Boozer specifically and have certainly enjoyed CDu and Keddy's contributions among others) I would like to see us return to where we started the season. If I remember correctly, our offense included a lot of high-low post play and more post touches than we are currently seeing. As some posters have stated, it is important we get the ball inside, as at the very least, it changes the defense's focus and would likely give our big 3 better looks. I think it can also increase our shooters' percentages as it is easier to shoot from a pass inside where you are squared up vs. shooting from a pass from the perimeter where you are not squared up. I am certainly hoping for more from inside touches than better shooting from our perimeter, but I think we would at least get that. The other advantage of a high-low attack is that we can sometimes get deeper post position in those situations so that our post players don't have to make a major move to get a good shot attempt.
The other thing I have often seen mentioned was an increase in playing time for the Plumlees, especially Mason. I hope he does earn this time and get to where he was at the start of the year. At that time, K mentioned that Mason would be a starter and Lance would come off the bench as a "sixth starter". If Mason can improve enough (especially defensively) to earn that starter's spot, and we use our post players more, I like our chances to improve before we face 4 out, 1 in offenses in the tournament.
I also hope Z can stay in the game for his 12-18 minutes a game for his defensive presence and rebounding.
One game certainly does not define us, whether a great victory or terrible loss and I am looking forward to this week for hopefully a rebound from the Hoya highlight show. I hope we get back to more of what we saw earlier in the season in terms of getting our post players involved in the offense.
I also agree this has been a good thread. Go Duke and I am looking forward to seeing coach K's approach in the coming week.

_Gary
02-02-2010, 09:23 AM
Yes, simply summing the per game averages gives you 23 ppg. However, in estimating the total production by these guys you have to account for the fact that Mason missed six games. So his 4.9 ppg in 15 games is really 3.4 ppg over the 21 games. So the quartet is averaging 21.5 ppg this season.

OK. I'd never average that way myself, so I'll stick with the 23 for the four players plus an additional 2 ppg from RK which brings the total for our frontcourt to 25 ppg. That's where we are at right now so I see no logical reason to suggest anyone is crazy for thinking an additional 3 - 5 ppg is unrealistic. End of discussion from my end on this particular issue. I think we've batted it around enough. :)

Gary

CDu
02-02-2010, 10:24 AM
OK. I'd never average that way myself, so I'll stick with the 23 for the four players plus an additional 2 ppg from RK which brings the total for our frontcourt to 25 ppg. That's where we are at right now so I see no logical reason to suggest anyone is crazy for thinking an additional 3 - 5 ppg is unrealistic. End of discussion from my end on this particular issue. I think we've batted it around enough. :)

Gary

Well, what you are suggesting is inappropriate, because it ignores the fact that some players didn't play in all the games. For a more extreme example, imagine if you have two guys playing the same position, but one plays only half the season and the other plays only the other half. Does it make sense to say sum those two players' averages and say that's what the team is averaging? Of course not.

What we're talking about is the production that the team gets from the 80 minutes per game at the 4/5 spot. As such, it's appropriate to take the season totals for points from the 4/5 spots and divide it by the number of games played. Your approach overestimates the total contribution, because you're inflating Mason's production by about 33%. In reality, the averages for the other bigs in the games in which Mason's played are lower than their season averages. That's why you should account for games missed.

If you want to include Kelly, it would really be around 23 ppg for the 4/5 spot as a team.

Kedsy
02-02-2010, 11:02 AM
As some other posters have mentioned (I remember Boozer specifically and have certainly enjoyed CDu and Keddy's contributions among others) I would like to see us return to where we started the season.

I've been thinking a lot about this. We are currently the 12th highest scoring team in the country (1st in the ACC), and according to Pomeroy we are essentially tied for top offensive efficiency in the nation.

Why are we all worried about a few more points from the bigs or "fixing" the offense? Is it because we've had a few bad games (which, frankly I would attribute to poor defense rather than poor offense), or is it because we've seen a downturn in offensive efficiency since the league schedule began? If it's the former, then a wait-and-see attitude would seem to be most appropriate, but if it's the latter wouldn't the answer be exactly what NSDukeFan has suggested, i.e., get back to what worked early in the year (as opposed to making major changes now)?

Or maybe everyone's saying the same thing. In our 12 games in 2009 this season, the 5-man tandem of MP1, MP2, Lance, Z, & Ryan averaged 25.9 points a game, a little better than the upper range of what CDu said should be our goal.

But it gets a bit more complicated than that. In our four "tough" pre-conference games (Arizona State, UConn, Wisconsin, and Gonzaga), our 5 bigs averaged only 13.5 ppg; while in the other eight pre-conference games they averaged 32.1 ppg (higher even than Gary's desire). In our sole 2009 loss (this season), our bigs only contributed 8 points.

So it's certainly possible we attained our lofty offensive efficiency numbers in some part because our bigs scored 25 to 30 ppg in a lot of games, which would support the voices clamoring for us to get back to that.

However, looking at the results against the tougher opponents, and seeing a parallel to the recent games against difficult competition, I see two possible conclusions to draw: (1) in tough games, K plays the bigs less and/or the big three try to take the burden on their own shoulders and don't give the bigs touches; or (2) our bigs are not currently good enough to score 20 to 30 ppg against top notch competition. Or most likely it could be some combination of the two. Obviously if they play less, because of poor defense, foul trouble, or because K doesn't have confidence in them, their scoring will decrease. If the coaches and the big three don't show confidence by giving the bigs the ball, the bigs (3 of whom are young) might lose confidence in themselves and not try to score as much.

If the issue is primarily #1 above, we can hope for a change in coaching strategy but I would think that could end up being a vain hope. If the issue is primarily #2, then the only way to fix the problem is for the bigs (presumably the Plumlees) becoming a lot better than they're currently playing. Which I'm sure we all hope for. If that's the case, however, giving them more touches now won't necessarily help. We have little choice but to wait until K thinks they're ready (similarly to the Elliot Williams situation last year).

Sorry if I've rambled too much.

CDu
02-02-2010, 12:19 PM
I've been thinking a lot about this. We are currently the 12th highest scoring team in the country (1st in the ACC), and according to Pomeroy we are essentially tied for top offensive efficiency in the nation.

But it gets a bit more complicated than that. In our four "tough" pre-conference games (Arizona State, UConn, Wisconsin, and Gonzaga), our 5 bigs averaged only 13.5 ppg; while in the other eight pre-conference games they averaged 32.1 ppg (higher even than Gary's desire). In our sole 2009 loss (this season), our bigs only contributed 8 points.

So it's certainly possible we attained our lofty offensive efficiency numbers in some part because our bigs scored 25 to 30 ppg in a lot of games, which would support the voices clamoring for us to get back to that.

In the 9 games of 2010, the bigs are averaging 20.9 ppg. In the last four, they're averaging 15 ppg. Thus, in the previous five games (four ACC, one neutral-site game against ISU), they averaged 22.6 ppg. So I think it's completely reasonable to hope that the team can get at least back to that 21 ppg average, if not improve upon it. This four game, 15 ppg stretch is the worst four-game scoring stretch since Mason returned to the team. I think it's fair to expect/hope for more.


If the issue is primarily #1 above, we can hope for a change in coaching strategy but I would think that could end up being a vain hope. If the issue is primarily #2, then the only way to fix the problem is for the bigs (presumably the Plumlees) becoming a lot better than they're currently playing. Which I'm sure we all hope for. If that's the case, however, giving them more touches now won't necessarily help. We have little choice but to wait until K thinks they're ready (similarly to the Elliot Williams situation last year).

Sorry if I've rambled too much.

Well, obviously Coach K isn't going to go to the Plumlees more unless he thinks they're ready. The hope is that the Plumlees become more ready. I'm not a proponent of more touches/minutes simply for the sake of more touches/minutes. I just want/hope the Plumlees improve enough to earn those touches/minutes.

But perhaps I'm not the target audience for your post though. If so, I apologize.

Kfanarmy
02-02-2010, 12:29 PM
... (2) our bigs are not currently good enough to score 20 to 30 ppg against top notch competition. Or most likely it could be some combination of the two. Obviously if they play less, because of poor defense, foul trouble, or because K doesn't have confidence in them, their scoring will decrease....If the issue is primarily #2, then the only way to fix the problem is for the bigs (presumably the Plumlees) becoming a lot better than they're currently playing. Which I'm sure we all hope for. If that's the case, however, giving them more touches now won't necessarily help. ...

I don't think this is the case. Taking GU as an example, the bigs actually shot the ball well, when they shot. It was actually the three SSSs who missed a bunch of two ptrs. I'm not pointing fingers...when shots aren't falling, a guy two feet from the basket is more likely to score than a guy 12 feet away. I think just a small change in % of shots taken by the "bigs" on the interior might make a singificant difference in these type games. Yes, they get blocked from time to time, but missed interior shots are a lot easier to recover from defensively than are mid-range and long-range jumpers.