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View Full Version : It's Official - We Have No Depth



Udaman
02-08-2010, 08:52 AM
Our team over the past 6 years has been like watching Groundhog Day. We start off strong. People talk up our depth. Fans talk up our depth. They say, "This year, we are finally going to use all the talent we have on the team. We'll go 8-9 or maybe even 10 deep. Finally. This year."

Instead, the bench players play early...then their minutes diminish. Then by January, they hardly seem to play at all. Guys who were scoring 15 plus points in November and early December are now scoring 4 or less. They look terrified when put in. They play worse as the season progesses.

Then comes the tournament...and our 2-3 star players have a cold shooting game, and suddenly we have no bench players to light the spark...and we lose to a team that on paper we are probably better than, and back in November we would have beaten, probably by a lot.

I know, I'm going to get attacked for this by some...like, "Hey - the players earn their practice time," and "How dare you question Coach K," and "we have great players, they should play." That's fine. I still like this team. I think we are better than we have been for a while....but I hate that a team with as much talent as we have on our bench, just played a game where we basically went 6 deep (and Dawkins played zero minutes), and our bench contributed a total of four points. In this era of college basketball, that is not good enough.

And the funniest thing (in my jaded brain right now) is that people have ALREADY started talking about next year and "how much depth we are going to have" and "how deep we'll go" and "how next year it will all be different." I hope so...but right now, I seriously doubt it.

Matches
02-08-2010, 09:03 AM
I think we are better than we have been for a while....but I hate that a team with as much talent as we have on our bench, just played a game where we basically went 6 deep (and Dawkins played zero minutes), and our bench contributed a total of four points. In this era of college basketball, that is not good enough.



I disagree with your premise here. Our last national championship team (which wasn't THAT long ago) essentially played 6 guys most of the season. Casey Sanders got some minutes at season's end as Guy #7, but only because of an injury. There is no magical number of points that the bench has to produce for a team to be successful.

That's not to suggest our front 6 guys this year are comparable to JWill, Battier et al, but frankly depth is overrated. It's nice to have in case of injury or foul trouble but it's not a deal-breaker. There really aren't enough minutes to go around for more than about 8 guys.

obsesseddukefan
02-08-2010, 09:04 AM
the good thing is, is that we are 19-4 (7-2) in conference. I dont think that is bad at all. Even when we have an off night and get an "L" in the column, I am FAR from panicing just yet. I will be the first to admit that I have been saying things like "wait till next year" and "next year we are going to be "8" deep", but that doesn't mean I have given up on THIS team. Do I think that there were some games we should have won? Yes, of course. But the one constant that I do know is that this is basketball.....ANYONE can have a good night.....once. Keep your head up. We will be just fine. I think Duke is VERY capable of winning 6 games in march. :D

studdlee10
02-08-2010, 09:08 AM
Our team over the past 6 years has been like watching Groundhog Day. We start off strong. People talk up our depth. Fans talk up our depth. They say, "This year, we are finally going to use all the talent we have on the team. We'll go 8-9 or maybe even 10 deep. Finally. This year."

Instead, the bench players play early...then their minutes diminish. Then by January, they hardly seem to play at all. Guys who were scoring 15 plus points in November and early December are now scoring 4 or less. They look terrified when put in. They play worse as the season progesses.

Then comes the tournament...and our 2-3 star players have a cold shooting game, and suddenly we have no bench players to light the spark...and we lose to a team that on paper we are probably better than, and back in November we would have beaten, probably by a lot.

I know, I'm going to get attacked for this by some...like, "Hey - the players earn their practice time," and "How dare you question Coach K," and "we have great players, they should play." That's fine. I still like this team. I think we are better than we have been for a while....but I hate that a team with as much talent as we have on our bench, just played a game where we basically went 6 deep (and Dawkins played zero minutes), and our bench contributed a total of four points. In this era of college basketball, that is not good enough.

And the funniest thing (in my jaded brain right now) is that people have ALREADY started talking about next year and "how much depth we are going to have" and "how deep we'll go" and "how next year it will all be different." I hope so...but right now, I seriously doubt it.

I've never been a "follow Coach K blindly" type of guy, but this year is not all on him. We have only nine players on scholarship. Of those 9, three are freshman. One, Kelly, is skilled but is very clearly not physically ready for a rigorous workload in the ACC. Besides, he has seen his minutes increase as of late. We have another freshman who enrolled at the last minute and didn't have the same amount of time to prep and practice with the "big" boys. Not to mention the poor kid went through a tragic family accident and apparently has had some nagging injuries that have contributed to his lack of playing time the past 2-3 games. I realize Coach K is a stubborn man, but he obviously needs to see something in order to play somebody. I don't think it's a coincidence that none of the Duke guys who transferred out due to playing time haven't really amounted to much (Elliot Williams aside, but there were other contributing factors there).

We get deeper next year with Curry, a more seasoned Dawkins, and Kyrie in the fold. I agree, if this keeps up next year, then we may need our HOF coach to look in the mirror and be less stubborn.

CameronBornAndBred
02-08-2010, 09:14 AM
I've noticed Kelly getting more PT of late. With Mason and Zoubek coming in regurlarly, and now Kelly, I think Coach K is doing pretty well with the bench. The guards are not going to be sitting much, but we knew that coming into the season. We were all hoping for more minutes from Andre, but aside from him, I'm pleasantly pleased with our rotation at this point in the season.

roywhite
02-08-2010, 09:15 AM
A key issue for our postseason success is further development of the freshmen. Mason, Andre, and Ryan Kelly are all capable of improving and making more of a contribution. Although their results were mixed, it's a good thing they played key minutes late in a tight conference game on the road. It gives them an idea of what those situations are like, and gives them a stake in the outcome.

So, the question of depth is more a question of development and play of the younger guys IMO. And I don't think we can say for sure how that will work out in the remainder of this season.

DukieInBrasil
02-08-2010, 09:56 AM
as of late we've been playing 7 guys in the "core" rotation and Kelly is usually playing less than 10 but more than just 1 or 2 minutes, so he is still very much a part of the rotation. I have no idea what is happening with Andre but he hasn't seen much PT lately. So we have been playing 8 of our 9 guys "rotation" minutes with only AD not playing regularly, and his situation is somewhat mysterious. To me, this is not something to worry about over-much.
Of course, outside of Knolon Shmingler, our production is highly variable on an individual basis but is generally adequate when taken as a whole.

dukeimac
02-08-2010, 10:11 AM
I'm always interested in this conversation because people can't stand it when Duke loses and after a few wins we go back to complaining again about bench players getting time.

If the bench players can't contribute successfully and Coach K plays them then don’t complain when they lose. And I mean lose, like 10 or 12 games; maybe a UNC kind of record 13-9. Would you be happy then, hey the bench got time.

Can you say Kelly is a contributor? The guy gets pushed around by a 6'4" guy and commits stupid fools (I think he is around Zo to much). He just is not physical at all and Duke's SGs and SF are much better. Maybe Coach K should sit Kyle for about 10 minutes and let Kelly play. Will you be happy when Kyle comes back in and Duke is down by 10 points or more? And then you can watch Kyle work his butt off even more trying to help the team come back.

Dawkins is not over his sister’s death. His family is still having a difficult time with her death and that is troubling this young man. He is only 18, he has 3 sibblings who don't know how to handle the loss of their sister and he is worried about them. Gee, maybe we should ask him to grow up for the sake of Duke basketball. Their fans are far more important then the loss of a sister and grieving siblings.

Mason looks lost at times but that is because in high school the guys he played against were not as physical as the college guys are and he played away from the basket much more. He needs to learn how to play down low. He is no Leattner but everyone wants to compare those two. Seriously?

Pick you poison folks, either play the bench and lose more or win but play the top 3 more. NO guarantee resting the best players will win a title, ask Indy.

slower
02-08-2010, 10:25 AM
Knolon Shmingler

3 S-keteers (or whatever) is cute, Earth, Wind & Scheyer is VERY good, but this is our winner! The K, of course, is NOT silent. ;)

InSpades
02-08-2010, 10:26 AM
We obviously need more depth like Georgetown has in order to beat teams like Villanova... it would never work only playing 7 players.

How many minutes do people want Smith, Scheyer and Singler sitting on the bench? They are all going to be all-ACC (on one team or another) and they are all head and shoulders above every other player on our roster.

We have depth where we need it... up front where we have some foul-prone big men. It would be great to have another strong option at guard but it's just not there.

El_Diablo
02-08-2010, 10:31 AM
It's undeniably true. Whatever our problems are, they will be solved if and only if Coach K lets Casey Peters play 10 minutes per game. Then we'll be completely unstoppable, and no inferior team will ever beat us.

Anyone who disputes this is a homer.

davekay1971
02-08-2010, 10:34 AM
Our recent problems getting bounced "prematurely" in the postseason has more to do with balance than depth, IMHO. Looking from 2005 on, we have been a much more perimeter oriented team. We did have Shelden in 05 and 06, but our offense struggled with Redick's late season struggles because so much of our offense came through him. In 07, 08, and 09, we really didn't have any interior offensive production to speak of, so cold shooting nights from our perimeter were lethal. I had hoped we'd see more reliable offensive production in the paint this year, but that hasn't happened yet, and, if it doesn't happen by March, we'll be vulnerable again. This team is still better than we've had in the last 3 years, but still doesn't have the kind of reliable inside scoring you'd like to see.

The '01 team, as astutely mentioned, was a deadly team with a short bench, but we had great balance, with Boozer down low, Battier operating both inside and out, and Dunleavy, Williams, and Duhon working the perimeter. That wasn't a deep team, but it was very balanced, and therefore very difficult to stop.

Kedsy
02-08-2010, 10:37 AM
Our team over the past 6 years has been like watching Groundhog Day. We start off strong. People talk up our depth. Fans talk up our depth. They say, "This year, we are finally going to use all the talent we have on the team. We'll go 8-9 or maybe even 10 deep. Finally. This year."

Instead, the bench players play early...then their minutes diminish. Then by January, they hardly seem to play at all. Guys who were scoring 15 plus points in November and early December are now scoring 4 or less. They look terrified when put in. They play worse as the season progesses.

Then comes the tournament...and our 2-3 star players have a cold shooting game, and suddenly we have no bench players to light the spark...and we lose to a team that on paper we are probably better than, and back in November we would have beaten, probably by a lot.

I know, I'm going to get attacked for this by some...like, "Hey - the players earn their practice time," and "How dare you question Coach K," and "we have great players, they should play." That's fine. I still like this team. I think we are better than we have been for a while....but I hate that a team with as much talent as we have on our bench, just played a game where we basically went 6 deep (and Dawkins played zero minutes), and our bench contributed a total of four points. In this era of college basketball, that is not good enough.

And the funniest thing (in my jaded brain right now) is that people have ALREADY started talking about next year and "how much depth we are going to have" and "how deep we'll go" and "how next year it will all be different." I hope so...but right now, I seriously doubt it.

Well, since you already know what's going to happen, I guess you don't have to continue watching.

What I noticed in the BC game is that Ryan and Andre were both in the game at crunch time. That says a lot to me, but it's more or less the opposite of your statements. Even without that, a lot of teams have their bottom-of-the-rotation guys playing 7 or 8 minutes, and that's what our 7th and 8th guys played in the BC game. We're playing an 8-man rotation, and while I join you in wanting Andre to get more minutes, an 8-man rotation is at worst middle-of-the-pack and probably better at this level of competition at this point in the season.

Whether or not you want our coach to look in the mirror, the fact is he's coached this way most seasons, including the great ones. It has been a rare occurrence in the past 30 years that a Duke team went deeper than 7 once we got to the middle of league play. You appear to be drawing a conclusion that because we haven't been to the Final Four in five years it must be because of a lack of depth, but that conclusion is entirely unsupported by the 25 years before that.

natedog4ever
02-08-2010, 10:45 AM
I will forever hate Billy Donovan and his 2000 team for this. They introduced the idea that constantly running 10 guys in and out is the definition of depth in college basketball.

It certainly isn't, but the media and thus fans, latched onto it, and to this day, we are still suffering.

Duvall
02-08-2010, 10:45 AM
I think most people figured out that Duke would have limited perimeter depth when they started the year with three eligible guards on the roster.

Duke's starting center stank and spent most of the game in foul trouble, and it wasn't a problem at all. How is that not depth?

BlueintheFace
02-08-2010, 10:50 AM
We have more post depth than most teams in the country.

We do not have much perimeter depth.

There are only 2 or 3 really quality teams in the country that have depth in the frontcourt AND backcourt. Furthermore, none of them get the production and quality that we do out of their backcourt. Sounds good to me.

hq2
02-08-2010, 10:53 AM
If you look at our frontcourt rotation, we're O.K. depth wise, although I would like to see Thomas getting a few of Singler's minutes and the Plumlees in more (at least in games where they can do something, which they haven't done lately). The real issue is Andre. I think the sister thing just sort of took him out of his development at a crucial point, and he hasn't quite got back in the swing of things. We still have a month before tourney time for him to get back going again. And we don't need that much from him; 10 minutes a game to keep Nolan and Scheyer from running out of gas down the stretch of close games would be enough. So let's not panic yet.

KyDevilinIL
02-08-2010, 10:54 AM
I am guilty of being downright furious after a couple of our losses, mainly because we just looked so horrible in at least two of them. But I swear I feel better about this team's postseason prospects than I have in many years.

This season, we are not going to have a post player who we can dump it down to and who will score a key basket by sheer force or pure skill. I just don't feel there's enough time left in the season to develop that component of our offense. But, we can get points inside from putbacks better than we have in years, and with an active Lance who is a much better FT shooter now, we can throw it down there and generate some points that way. And you never know maybe Mason or Miles or both throw in a huge, Wake-like game from out of nowhere in the tournament. I wouldn't count on it, but it's possible. And such a thing wasn't even in the realm of possibility in recent years.

I'm as comfortable with Nolan functioning as our drive-to-the-hole guy as I was with Gerald; with a year under his belt, I think Jon's going to be an even steadier guide for us this postseason; I think Kyle is inching out of his slump and could be lethal by NCAAT time; I have a sneaky suspicion Kelly and even Dawk will solidify limited roles by March. Most of all, this team, despite its massive dips in execution at times this season, is steadier overall than many of our most recent teams. I don't get the sense this is the "peak in Dec./Jan., then steadily regress the rest of the season" situation that we've seen lately.

We could run into a hotter, stronger and faster, etc. team in March and be done early again. But that's true for anyone. But goodness, I look at the field this year and I still see no reason this Duke team, if it's operating crisply and sharply, can't make a run for a FF. We're far from perfect, but I say it all the time: Teams that aren't as good as this Duke team make Final Fours all the time, and against stronger overall fields.

Plus, past few games I think K has shown he's particularly charged up by the challenge of finding a way to unlock this team's potential. I'm starting to think the next few weeks could be kinda fun.

ElonIsRising
02-08-2010, 10:56 AM
Our team over the past 6 years has been like watching Groundhog Day. We start off strong. People talk up our depth. Fans talk up our depth. They say, "This year, we are finally going to use all the talent we have on the team. We'll go 8-9 or maybe even 10 deep. Finally. This year."

Instead, the bench players play early...then their minutes diminish. Then by January, they hardly seem to play at all. Guys who were scoring 15 plus points in November and early December are now scoring 4 or less. They look terrified when put in. They play worse as the season progesses.

Then comes the tournament...and our 2-3 star players have a cold shooting game, and suddenly we have no bench players to light the spark...and we lose to a team that on paper we are probably better than, and back in November we would have beaten, probably by a lot.

I know, I'm going to get attacked for this by some...like, "Hey - the players earn their practice time," and "How dare you question Coach K," and "we have great players, they should play." That's fine. I still like this team. I think we are better than we have been for a while....but I hate that a team with as much talent as we have on our bench, just played a game where we basically went 6 deep (and Dawkins played zero minutes), and our bench contributed a total of four points. In this era of college basketball, that is not good enough.

And the funniest thing (in my jaded brain right now) is that people have ALREADY started talking about next year and "how much depth we are going to have" and "how deep we'll go" and "how next year it will all be different." I hope so...but right now, I seriously doubt it.

Different year, same story, I agree. I always dread looking at the box score because 90% of the time I see 39, 38, 40 next to the minutes from our 'big 3.' I don't think that Redick randomly 'always got cold' during the post season or that 'we just played poorly' against nova, belmont, west virginia and others. I think our best players are typically gassed by the end of the year. It's a long season. People like to add up and question how much '4-5 minutes' per game would add up to over the course of the season and claim it isn't that much. In my book it is, because I think it is a cumulative effect over the entire year. Once the legs start wearing out they can't get them back with such short layoffs (I also think that is why freshmen hit a 'wall' midway through the year).

I will say that our depth down low has been well utilized this year, and K continues to give MP2 his minutes even though he looks lost at times. (perhaps the most concerning thing is how badly MP1 over the last several games). But our guards minutes are alarming.

Lawson went down last year and they basically gave up an ACC championship & held him out for, what, the first weekend or more of the ncaa's just to make sure he was rested, healthy, and ready to go for the run to a title. I know an injury is different from what we have going on here, but it would be nice if we took a 'big picture' approach for once.

I hope that I am wrong and this year is different. But it is my opinion that K's lack of bench development hurts us in 3 ways, 1. tired legs at the end of the year, 2. lack up player development when it counts come tourney time, 3. high number of transfers. It isn't an anomaly any more fellas, its a trend, and I would like to see something done about it.

Duvall
02-08-2010, 11:02 AM
Different year, same story, I agree. I always dread looking at the box score because 90% of the time I see 39, 38, 40 next to the minutes from our 'big 3.' I don't think that Redick randomly 'always got cold' during the post season or that 'we just played poorly' against nova, belmont, west virginia and others.

Duke surely would have looked better against Belmont and West Virginia if none of its players had averaged more than 30 minutes per game that season.


It isn't an anomaly any more fellas, its a trend, and I would like to see something done about it.

Okay. Do we write to Kevin White, President Brodhead, or both?

Wander
02-08-2010, 11:09 AM
This team has never had depth. I don't know why you thought we'd be a deep team early on in the season. We have only 9 scholarship players, and the computer numbers (kenpom) have consistently ranked us as a non-deep team the entire season.

theAlaskanBear
02-08-2010, 11:16 AM
Depth! is just something people scream when Duke looks more human than superhuman. Its a buzzword and gives people to complain about something for the hell of it.

Depth is no substitution (haha, pun) for talent and a balanced offense.

Singler, Smith, and Scheyer have been really effective on the perimeter, and playing Dawkins or Kelly on the perimeter for extended minutes is not going miraculously increase guard production, because the guard production is already performing at an extremely high level.

I think what people are really getting frustrated with is our overall offense, which sometime stagnates because we have difficulty scoring inside. The fact is, we are really deep down low, but our big men are not great scorers, yet. Because of this, when we don't have a good night hitting threes, our guard play looks weak but its not weak at all, its our big men who have not developed the scoring yet, forcing the guards to shoot a lot of threes.

And everyone gets to get off Dawkins and Coach K's back! We have seen flashes of brilliance in Andre's play (the UCONN game always stands out in my mind), but he is a FRESHMAN, who came to school EARLY, missing out on the summer session and acclimation to school, practice time, etc, and had suffered a huge tragedy. He has just not been ready to play Duke basketball, and I don't fault Coach K here at all. I think he is protecting Dawkins until he gets his feet back under him.

natedog4ever
02-08-2010, 11:20 AM
Okay. Do we write to Kevin White, President Brodhead, or both?

Kevin White and Dick Brodhead should insert themselves.

Jeffrey
02-08-2010, 11:22 AM
I think he is protecting Dawkins until he gets his feet back under him.

Do you think Coach K was protecting Andre when he played Jordan during a critical time in the 1st half of the Georgetown game?

throatybeard
02-08-2010, 11:22 AM
Well, at least we have a thread to merge all subsequent whining about 1A into.

Matches
02-08-2010, 11:24 AM
This team has never had depth. I don't know why you thought we'd be a deep team early on in the season. We have only 9 scholarship players, and the computer numbers (kenpom) have consistently ranked us as a non-deep team the entire season.

Sometimes we seem like the kids who get fooled by the Trix Rabbit over and over. Our 8th, 9th, 10th guys are always overly touted during the preseason - they've always looked amazing in pickup games etc etc. But people ignore history - K likes a 7-8 man rotation at most. Even the totally loaded '98 and '99 teams really only gave significant minutes to around 8 guys near the end of the season. If K plays more guys than that, it's usually a sign that we're not very good (i.e. there's little drop-off between our top guys and the reserves). We're all waiting for the magical year when K can run 10 1st-team stud superstar AAs in and out of the game at will, but that's a pipe dream.

The 2008 team is the exception - K played 8-9 guys very regularly that year. So of course people are still claiming that "fatigue" affected that team (see above comments about Belmont and WVa), even though only one player on that team played > 30 mpg. Not exactly the best argument for playing a deeper bench.

ElonIsRising
02-08-2010, 11:26 AM
Duke surely would have looked better against Belmont and West Virginia if none of its players had averaged more than 30 minutes per game that season.



Okay. Do we write to Kevin White, President Brodhead, or both?

haha. Maybe Mike Cragg??? I'll write if you promise to as well. :D

MChambers
02-08-2010, 11:29 AM
Do you think Coach K was protecting Andre when he played Jordan during a critical time in the 1st half of the Georgetown game?

Pretty he wasn't because Andre played 13 minutes in that game and Davidson, despite being Patrick's brother, didn't get off the bench.

RoyalBlue08
02-08-2010, 11:35 AM
It's funny. On IC they complain about Roy playing too many players (even the ones that don't deserve minutes in their opinions) and here we complain about K playing too few. The one constant in sports is that no matter how successful your coach has been, fans always think they know better.

flyingdutchdevil
02-08-2010, 11:40 AM
The one constant in sports is that no matter how successful your coach has been, fans always think they know better.

Isn't that the fun of spectator sports? Are we supposed to just watch games? Discussing sports and acting like we're the coaches is half the fun of being spectators. We all wish that we could coach a college basketball team, and talking on this forum is the closest that we'll ever get.

BlueintheFace
02-08-2010, 11:43 AM
Coach K thinks all you worry-warts are silly:

http://www.wralsportsfan.com/duke/story/6985287/

Jeffrey
02-08-2010, 11:51 AM
Pretty he wasn't because Andre played 13 minutes in that game and Davidson, despite being Patrick's brother, didn't get off the bench.

I obviously need coffee. :D

I meant the more recent Georgia Tech game.

OldPhiKap
02-08-2010, 11:56 AM
1. K should distribute all minutes equally. Absent that, we surely should sit our All-Conference players more in order to develop next year's team.

2. We should go to zone as our primary defense. Man-to-man is so 1980's.

3. We should start wearing our road uniforms for home games, in order to get some wins in them.

4. Isn't it time for K to retire? I mean, if Rupp and Dean stepped down after 800+ wins so should K. Who does he think he is?

5. I miss Billy Packer.

91_92_01_10_15
02-08-2010, 12:01 PM
Isn't that the fun of spectator sports? Are we supposed to just watch games? Discussing sports and acting like we're the coaches is half the fun of being spectators. We all wish that we could coach a college basketball team, and talking on this forum is the closest that we'll ever get.

No one is telling you you can't do what you want, but you can't fault RoyalBlue08 for pointing out that those who criticize Coach K are in fact presuming that they are right and he is wrong and that they "know better" than him.

Wow, I just realized I am criticizing someone for criticizing someone who criticized those who criticize Coach K. I'm gonna go rest now.

Lord Ash
02-08-2010, 12:09 PM
I do have to say this; I hate when people try to equate practice minutes to game minutes. They are two entirely different things, and the emotion that goes into a game is as much a factor in fatigue as the actual physical activity. Plus, the players you play against in a game are usually better than those you play against in practice, and they are playing a lot harder. Minute for minute, practice is not as tiring as a real game.

miramar
02-08-2010, 12:09 PM
I will forever hate Billy Donovan and his 2000 team for this. They introduced the idea that constantly running 10 guys in and out is the definition of depth in college basketball.

It certainly isn't, but the media and thus fans, latched onto it, and to this day, we are still suffering.

While Donovan has played a lot of players at times and has received a lot of publicity for it, he won his national championships basically with seven man rotations, although more would play during blowouts.

I don't think that our problem is with the number of players in the rotation, but with the number of productive players. If you rely on three guys for everything, you will be in big trouble if even one of them has an off night against a quality opponent.

As Coach K said last year after the Villanova loss, it looked like Duke was playing three on five.

This year Thomas is making a major contribution, as is Zoubek. If the Plumless step up more consistently and if Dawkins could at least play ten quality minutes per game, March could be a lot different this year. Those are big ifs, but I don't think I'm asking too much.

mgtr
02-08-2010, 12:10 PM
It seems clear from this and many other "depth" threads that Coach K just doesn't get it. Clearly he needs to spend more time reading these threads than wasting time with the B-School, TV ads, the Olympic team, Coaches vs. Cancer, and those other trivial endeavors. In fact, the more I think about it, he probably should be dumped out of the Hall of Fame (making room for Uncle Roy).:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

shoutingncu
02-08-2010, 12:14 PM
...I think Duke is VERY capable of winning 6 games in march. :D

Not for nothing, but I hope you only win 6 games in March. ;)

Matches
02-08-2010, 12:18 PM
I do have to say this; I hate when people try to equate practice minutes to game minutes. They are two entirely different things, and the emotion that goes into a game is as much a factor in fatigue as the actual physical activity. Plus, the players you play against in a game are usually better than those you play against in practice, and they are playing a lot harder. Minute for minute, practice is not as tiring as a real game.

I agree with this in large part, though it sounds as if K's practices are pretty stressful. Still, in general I agree it's problematic to equate the two.

However, if it's emotional stress we're talking about, is 37 mpg more emotionally stressful than 33 mpg? Do Scheyer et al get additionally stressed by playing the last few minutes of a comfortable win? I gotta figure the answer is "no".

BlueintheFace
02-08-2010, 12:22 PM
Not for nothing, but I hope you only win 6 games in March. ;)

I know one team that will be lucky to actually play half that many games in March ;)

Neals384
02-08-2010, 12:41 PM
I can't believe this thread is so far along without anyone mentioning Czyz...

If only Czyz hadn't decided to transfer, he could be playing 15 minutes a game and our rotation would be 10 deep. Each of the 3 S's could get an additional 5 minutes bench rest per game.

Before you jump all over me...I'm just kidding.

Neal

shoutingncu
02-08-2010, 12:42 PM
I know one team that will be lucky to actually play half that many games in March ;)

Well now that's just not true... We're guaranteed to play at least one post season game. Ol' Roy may not emphasize it, but record be damned... we're making the ACC Tourney! :)

loldevilz
02-08-2010, 12:43 PM
We have 5 bigs that are all getting significant playing time. It sees to me that what would me more desirable would be to see one of them step up and elevate their game to the level of the S guys. If that were to happen, and I have such a difficult time guessing who might do it or when it might come, I think we could be definitely be a final four caliber team.
I have learned to not question K...he seems to have a much better handle on player's development than I do.
I do, however, agree that Andre needs more playing time. If one of the guards were to get injured we would be in serious trouble.

Matches
02-08-2010, 12:55 PM
I do, however, agree that Andre needs more playing time. If one of the guards were to get injured we would be in serious trouble.

I think that would be true with or without Andre. Maybe he'd be better prepared to step in if he was playing more now, maybe not - I dunno - but no one reasonably could expect him to step in and play at anywhere near the level the three S's do.

greybeard
02-08-2010, 12:58 PM
Can you say Kelly is a contributor? The guy gets pushed around by a 6'4" guy and commits stupid fools (I think he is around Zo to much). He just is not physical at all and Duke's SGs and SF are much better. Maybe Coach K should sit Kyle for about 10 minutes and let Kelly play. Will you be happy when Kyle comes back in and Duke is down by 10 points or more? And then you can watch Kyle work his butt off even more trying to help the team come back.


to me this is an incomprehensibly dumb comment. Incomprehensibly! K is on record as saying that Kelly is among the smartest and most versatile players he has coached. Fouls get called, some got committed, none I saw were stupid. The kid is just now in the midst of the intensity of the ACC season getting his chance to play and you expect him to play as if he had been playing all year. Talk about "stupid."

The problem with Duke, and in my mind it is a problem, is that it is a 3-man team. Everyone says so. I don't think that you win with a 3-man team.

It might be that the Plumlees and Zoubek and Lance and Kelly are as inept as they show sometimes and lots of people like dukeimac says they are or it might be, and I believe it is the case, that they don't know what to do when it is time to perform because by and large they are told not to. They are put out there to be pawns--set screens, create space, offensive rebound, and run like hell back on defense. It comes time for them to actually do something on offense maybe they have a little "cognitive dissonance," otherwise known as confussion. "Should I or shouldn't I, if I should, should I do this or that, what happens if I chose wrongly." You try performing under those circumstances.

The Eastern mystics are fond of saying, "What you think you create." I don't like what the Duke coaches are thinking, and I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THIS COMES FROM K! Chris and WoJo have been around too long to think that K is making all the calls that end up relegating guys to less than they can be.

I'd bet a nickle that if K said to Chris, you want to keep your job, against Carolina I want Mason to get 25-30 minutes and score at least 15 and shoot over 45 percent and it happens. I think that it happens with any of the other guys who people pound on on this board, with the possible exception of Zoubs whom they have so pumped up with core and other muscles that the poor guy can barely turn his head.

We will never know of course because the days of scheduling cream puffs mid season instead of Georgetowns etc for out of league play has stopped and K will not override his assistants and take a "chance" on his second stringers. I can't say that I blame K and his assistants; on the other hand, I cant say that I don't.

CDu
02-08-2010, 01:01 PM
Basically, this thread comes down to "Andre Dawkins isn't getting enough playing time." That's really the only reasonable discussion point I see in this thing.

In the 17 games since Mason has returned, we've had the following minutes per game from our 3 bigs off the bench:
Zoubek: 15.1
Plumlee: 14.8
Kelly: 6.2

That's 36.1 mpg from our backup bigs. That's about average for a team, and having two bigs averaging about 30 mpg combined off the bench is certainly average. So our frontcourt depth is exactly in line (if not deeper) than what you typically see from any college team.

So the depth issue is related entirely to the backcourt. But we knew we lacked depth in the backcourt to begin with. We only had one sub for the backcourt once Czyz transferred. And right now, that sub is averaging only 11.5 mpg since Plumlee returned, and only 7.5 mpg since 2010 rolled around.

If Dawkins was still averaging 15-20 mpg, we'd be playing basically as deep a rotation as we possibly can be given our roster. We'd be 8-deep averaging 14+ mpg, with a 9th averaging around 5-7 mpg. That's very good depth.

Hopefully Dawkins will figure it out and earn his minutes back into the 12-15 mpg range. But I don't think there's really much to discuss regarding depth this year. We only have so many options.

A-Tex Devil
02-08-2010, 01:10 PM
I will forever hate Billy Donovan and his 2000 team for this. They introduced the idea that constantly running 10 guys in and out is the definition of depth in college basketball.

It certainly isn't, but the media and thus fans, latched onto it, and to this day, we are still suffering.

This.

We aren't losing to lower seeded teams in the tourney because of depth issues. We are losing because we don't play well. We aren't getting worn down, we are just getting beat. Let's look at the tourney losses since '01: 'Nova, WVU, VCU, LSU, Mich St., UConn, KU, Indiana.

Lack of depth didn't lose us any of those games. We lost because we played like my backside ('Nova, VCU, LSU, Indiana), game planned poorly (WVU, Mich St., LSU) or played an equal or better team (UConn, KU). None of those losses were due to depth. None.

Play your best players as long as you have to to win. Depth is fool's gold. Look at the UT squad this year. Look at '93-'94 UNC. Barnes subbed like a hockey coach for two months of this year and now that Texas is starting to play real teams, there is not a single go-to lineup. If he would have just played the top 7-8 players in a solid rotation where people know their roles (and they could hit free throws) they'd be much better off.

If Scheyer (as an example, not a definitive statement) is our best player, then every minute he's off the floor, our team is weaker. I defer to K and Bob Knight on this type of stuff every time.

BlueintheFace
02-08-2010, 01:20 PM
This.

We aren't losing to lower seeded teams in the tourney because of depth issues. We are losing because we don't play well. We aren't getting worn down, we are just getting beat. Let's look at the tourney losses since '01: 'Nova, WVU, VCU, LSU, Mich St., UConn, KU, Indiana.

Lack of depth didn't lose us any of those games. We lost because we played like my backside ('Nova, VCU, LSU, Indiana), game planned poorly (WVU, Mich St., LSU) or played an equal or better team (UConn, KU). None of those losses were due to depth. None.

Play your best players as long as you have to to win. Depth is fool's gold. Look at the UT squad this year. Look at '93-'94 UNC. Barnes subbed like a hockey coach for two months of this year and now that Texas is starting to play real teams, there is not a single go-to lineup. If he would have just played the top 7-8 players in a solid rotation where people know their roles (and they could hit free throws) they'd be much better off.

If Scheyer (as an example, not a definitive statement) is our best player, then every minute he's off the floor, our team is weaker. I defer to K and Bob Knight on this type of stuff every time.

Indiana= Refs, but whatever

Dukeface88
02-08-2010, 01:27 PM
to me this is an incomprehensibly dumb comment. Incomprehensibly! K is on record as saying that Kelly is among the smartest and most versatile players he has coached. Fouls get called, some got committed, none I saw were stupid. The kid is just now in the midst of the intensity of the ACC season getting his chance to play and you expect him to play as if he had been playing all year. Talk about "stupid."

The problem with Duke, and in my mind it is a problem, is that it is a 3-man team. Everyone says so. I don't think that you win with a 3-man team.

It might be that the Plumlees and Zoubek and Lance and Kelly are as inept as they show sometimes and lots of people like dukeimac says they are or it might be, and I believe it is the case, that they don't know what to do when it is time to perform because by and large they are told not to. They are put out there to be pawns--set screens, create space, offensive rebound, and run like hell back on defense. It comes time for them to actually do something on offense maybe they have a little "cognitive dissonance," otherwise known as confussion. "Should I or shouldn't I, if I should, should I do this or that, what happens if I chose wrongly." You try performing under those circumstances.

The Eastern mystics are fond of saying, "What you think you create." I don't like what the Duke coaches are thinking, and I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THIS COMES FROM K! Chris and WoJo have been around too long to think that K is making all the calls that end up relegating guys to less than they can be.

I'd bet a nickle that if K said to Chris, you want to keep your job, against Carolina I want Mason to get 25-30 minutes and score at least 15 and shoot over 45 percent and it happens. I think that it happens with any of the other guys who people pound on on this board, with the possible exception of Zoubs whom they have so pumped up with core and other muscles that the poor guy can barely turn his head.

We will never know of course because the days of scheduling cream puffs mid season instead of Georgetowns etc for out of league play has stopped and K will not override his assistants and take a "chance" on his second stringers. I can't say that I blame K and his assistants; on the other hand, I cant say that I don't.

I'd agree that we could make an effort to get the ball to Mason or Miles and have them score an extra 10 points a game - but is it really worth doing if it costs us 20 from the big 3?

In light of how inconsistent our post scoring is, I'd rather see the coaches let it come naturally rather than trying to force it. If the bigs are having a night like they did against Wake Forest, we should go with it, but if they're having a game like they did against State, then I don't see the merit in putting too much on their shoulders and ruining their confidence.

77devil
02-08-2010, 01:47 PM
to me this is an incomprehensibly dumb comment. Incomprehensibly! K is on record as saying that Kelly is among the smartest and most versatile players he has coached. Fouls get called, some got committed, none I saw were stupid. The kid is just now in the midst of the intensity of the ACC season getting his chance to play and you expect him to play as if he had been playing all year. Talk about "stupid."

The problem with Duke, and in my mind it is a problem, is that it is a 3-man team. Everyone says so. I don't think that you win with a 3-man team.

It might be that the Plumlees and Zoubek and Lance and Kelly are as inept as they show sometimes and lots of people like dukeimac says they are or it might be, and I believe it is the case, that they don't know what to do when it is time to perform because by and large they are told not to. They are put out there to be pawns--set screens, create space, offensive rebound, and run like hell back on defense. It comes time for them to actually do something on offense maybe they have a little "cognitive dissonance," otherwise known as confussion. "Should I or shouldn't I, if I should, should I do this or that, what happens if I chose wrongly." You try performing under those circumstances.

The Eastern mystics are fond of saying, "What you think you create." I don't like what the Duke coaches are thinking, and I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THIS COMES FROM K! Chris and WoJo have been around too long to think that K is making all the calls that end up relegating guys to less than they can be.

I'd bet a nickle that if K said to Chris, you want to keep your job, against Carolina I want Mason to get 25-30 minutes and score at least 15 and shoot over 45 percent and it happens. I think that it happens with any of the other guys who people pound on on this board, with the possible exception of Zoubs whom they have so pumped up with core and other muscles that the poor guy can barely turn his head.

We will never know of course because the days of scheduling cream puffs mid season instead of Georgetowns etc for out of league play has stopped and K will not override his assistants and take a "chance" on his second stringers. I can't say that I blame K and his assistants; on the other hand, I cant say that I don't.

Where does one begin? Let's start with the premise that the bigs may be experiencing cognitive dissonance which by the way is not confusion, although it may result in a confused state. Are they being given inconsistent coaching and instruction? Where is the evidence to support that supposition or the premise you make later that K and the assistants are not aligned.

You write that the bigs can't perform offensively because they are told not to by the coaches when a much simpler and more logical explanation is that the coaches work with them every day, and understand what they are capable of in their stages of development, and their limitations.

As for the reference to the Eastern mystics, I studied Eastern religions at Duke and never came across it as an attributed saying let alone a commonly used one. I think you made the reference up.

MChambers
02-08-2010, 01:50 PM
Basically, this thread comes down to "Andre Dawkins isn't getting enough playing time." That's really the only reasonable discussion point I see in this thing.

In the 17 games since Mason has returned, we've had the following minutes per game from our 3 bigs off the bench:
Zoubek: 15.1
Plumlee: 14.8
Kelly: 6.2

That's 36.1 mpg from our backup bigs. That's about average for a team, and having two bigs averaging about 30 mpg combined off the bench is certainly average. So our frontcourt depth is exactly in line (if not deeper) than what you typically see from any college team.

So the depth issue is related entirely to the backcourt. But we knew we lacked depth in the backcourt to begin with. We only had one sub for the backcourt once Czyz transferred. And right now, that sub is averaging only 11.5 mpg since Plumlee returned, and only 7.5 mpg since 2010 rolled around.

If Dawkins was still averaging 15-20 mpg, we'd be playing basically as deep a rotation as we possibly can be given our roster. We'd be 8-deep averaging 14+ mpg, with a 9th averaging around 5-7 mpg. That's very good depth.

Hopefully Dawkins will figure it out and earn his minutes back into the 12-15 mpg range. But I don't think there's really much to discuss regarding depth this year. We only have so many options.

This year, I think the concern about depth boils to down to an understandable disappointment or frustration with the development of Andre Dawkins. Step back a moment, however, and remember that (1) he's young, (2) he's experienced a family tragedy, and (3) he's had at least some injury issues.

Given all that, I don't see the point in bemoaning our lack of depth.

Chicago 1995
02-08-2010, 01:58 PM
This.

We aren't losing to lower seeded teams in the tourney because of depth issues. We are losing because we don't play well. We aren't getting worn down, we are just getting beat. Let's look at the tourney losses since '01: 'Nova, WVU, VCU, LSU, Mich St., UConn, KU, Indiana.

Lack of depth didn't lose us any of those games. We lost because we played like my backside ('Nova, VCU, LSU, Indiana), game planned poorly (WVU, Mich St., LSU) or played an equal or better team (UConn, KU). None of those losses were due to depth. None.

Play your best players as long as you have to to win. Depth is fool's gold. Look at the UT squad this year. Look at '93-'94 UNC. Barnes subbed like a hockey coach for two months of this year and now that Texas is starting to play real teams, there is not a single go-to lineup. If he would have just played the top 7-8 players in a solid rotation where people know their roles (and they could hit free throws) they'd be much better off.

If Scheyer (as an example, not a definitive statement) is our best player, then every minute he's off the floor, our team is weaker. I defer to K and Bob Knight on this type of stuff every time.

I think there are two pieces to this puzzle and they need to be divided for discussion. First, there is depth for the sake of stamina and saving players' legs. It's really hard to prove that stamina effected or didn't effect a team, so it is impossible for anyone to prove or disprove an argument. All the evidence is anecdotal. I know that we shot really, really poorly in our last games in 2005 and 2006, for example. Was that MSU's or LSU's defense? JJ having tired legs? Something in the middle? Who knows?

You also need to consider depth for the sake of developing options and for contingencies. In 2006, for example, we didn't do much to develop our depth or options other than JJ and Shelden. That proved problematic against LSU. In 2003, we were left using Michael Thompson who hadn't played a lick all year, in both the Round of 32 against Central Michigan and the Sweet 16 against KU. Thompson didn't play poorly, but obviously, consistent minutes over the course of the season would have had him better prepared for what was being asked of him in the tourney. It can be argued that Casey Sanders falling out of the rotation hurt us against IU in 2002.

There are plenty of counterpoints where other coaches have stuck with guys over the course of the season to see development in March or even the following season. What K does here is the exception, not the rule, and while K's been really successful, so have a host of other coaches with different approaches.

That's why the question gets asked, I think. Jim Calhoun and Jim Boeheim and Roy Williams, for example, have all won a whole bunch of games too, and this is something they do differently than K does. It seems reasonable to compare the two approaches and wonder what's best, especially when our guys are logging so many minutes, and Andre is logging so few. Foul trouble or the flu happens, and if it happens to us, I think we'd have been better served to sacrifice a little to let Andre play through his struggles and get a consistent 10 minutes a night.

OldSchool
02-08-2010, 02:27 PM
However, if it's emotional stress we're talking about, is 37 mpg more emotionally stressful than 33 mpg? Do Scheyer et al get additionally stressed by playing the last few minutes of a comfortable win? I gotta figure the answer is "no".

I don't buy the argument of physical fatigue accumulating over a season and causing players to lose their legs at the end of the season because they were playing, say, 37 minutes a game instead of, say, 31.

However, there is a legitimate concern as to mental fatigue. (I wouldn't call it emotional stress.) I believe it does have cumulative effects over a season.

Being a star player at Duke heightens the mental fatigue factor. First, K demands an extremely high level of focus and concentration, in practice as well as games, and in preparing yourself to face each opponent in light of that opponent's unique strengths and weaknesses.

Second, during the regular season Duke gets the best shot of every opponent every time. Whether it's the preseason, pre-conference play, conference play, late out-of-conference games, beating Duke is a signature win that can take the spotlight away from losses a team had in other games.

Third, the ACC is a grind. It's a long conference season, there are no gimmes (NCSU > Duke), playing on the road is like going into a lion's den, and students, fans and media place a magnifying glass on every aspect of the team every game. Duke plays nationally televised games a lot, meaning any mistakes will be seen by a lot of people.

I'm not sure that playing 31 mpg vs. 38 mpg is what helps alleviate mental fatigue as much as having other players who can pick up the slack in any given game and take the pressure off. With one or two players (JJ and Shelden) having to do it every night, the burden becomes wearing. With three players (the S-men) and occasionally the big men picking up the slack, it's not as bad.

The best treatment for mental fatigue is to get away from basketball for a brief period and turn one's mental concentration to something else. Classes are not really good because everyone is talking to you about basketball, how you did last game, what's coming up etc.

Things like taking the team out bowling for a night. Play an engrossing video game having nothing to do with basketball. Take the team to an indoor track for an afternoon of kart racing. There are dozens of ideas. The point is to refresh the mind by getting away from basketball and fans, and do something fun and intense and different to refresh the mind.

With classes and games coming one after the other, it's tough to find a spot to do something to alleviate mental fatigue but replacing a practice here and there with something to refresh the mind may pay bigger dividends at the end of the season.

Chicago 1995
02-08-2010, 02:33 PM
I don't buy the argument of physical fatigue accumulating over a season and causing players to lose their legs at the end of the season because they were playing, say, 37 minutes a game instead of, say, 31.

However, there is a legitimate concern as to mental fatigue. (I wouldn't call it emotional stress.) I believe it does have cumulative effects over a season.

Being a star player at Duke heightens the mental fatigue factor. First, K demands an extremely high level of focus and concentration, in practice as well as games, and in preparing yourself to face each opponent in light of that opponent's unique strengths and weaknesses.

Second, during the regular season Duke gets the best shot of every opponent every time. Whether it's the preseason, pre-conference play, conference play, late out-of-conference games, beating Duke is a signature win that can take the spotlight away from losses a team had in other games.

Third, the ACC is a grind. It's a long conference season, there are no gimmes (NCSU > Duke), playing on the road is like going into a lion's den, and students, fans and media place a magnifying glass on every aspect of the team every game. Duke plays nationally televised games a lot, meaning any mistakes will be seen by a lot of people.

I'm not sure that playing 31 mpg vs. 38 mpg is what helps alleviate mental fatigue as much as having other players who can pick up the slack in any given game and take the pressure off. With one or two players (JJ and Shelden) having to do it every night, the burden becomes wearing. With three players (the S-men) and occasionally the big men picking up the slack, it's not as bad.

The best treatment for mental fatigue is to get away from basketball for a brief period and turn one's mental concentration to something else. Classes are not really good because everyone is talking to you about basketball, how you did last game, what's coming up etc.

Things like taking the team out bowling for a night. Play an engrossing video game having nothing to do with basketball. Take the team to an indoor track for an afternoon of kart racing. There are dozens of ideas. The point is to refresh the mind by getting away from basketball and fans, and do something fun and intense and different to refresh the mind.

With classes and games coming one after the other, it's tough to find a spot to do something to alleviate mental fatigue but replacing a practice here and there with something to refresh the mind may pay bigger dividends at the end of the season.


To put in perspective though, 6 minutes a night over a 40 game season would be reducing the physical wear and tear by four full games. That's pretty substantial.

roywhite
02-08-2010, 02:34 PM
1-a and 1-b from Throatybeard's handy guide.

Yawn.

OldSchool
02-08-2010, 02:42 PM
To put in perspective though, 6 minutes a night over a 40 game season would be reducing the physical wear and tear by four full games. That's pretty substantial.

Yes, but for these young guys I believe it only cumulates where you have only 1 or 2 days rest between games. Certainly once you give someone in as good a physical shape as Jon, Nolan or Kyle 4 days for the body to recover, they're fresh, at least physically, at that point, unless in between there is an especially grueling practice session that tries to replicate a 40-minute game or they overdo it in the weight room between games.

Matches
02-08-2010, 02:43 PM
In 2003, we were left using Michael Thompson who hadn't played a lick all year, in both the Round of 32 against Central Michigan and the Sweet 16 against KU. Thompson didn't play poorly, but obviously, consistent minutes over the course of the season would have had him better prepared for what was being asked of him in the tourney.

I don't think this is, as you say, obvious at all. It's possible, of course, but it's also possible that being sent out there repeatedly when he wasn't ready to play would've damaged his confidence and made him even less effective. There's no real way to know; every kid is different.

A-Tex Devil
02-08-2010, 02:56 PM
Foul trouble or the flu happens, and if it happens to us, I think we'd have been better served to sacrifice a little to let Andre play through his struggles and get a consistent 10 minutes a night.


See, I disagree on how you develop "contingencies." As you get into conference play (as we are now), you are done working on contingencies. You should play the rotation that gives you the best chance to win that game. Pre-season tourneys and non-conference games are for feeling out the lineup and figuring out who your go-to guys are.

There is reason these guys aren't playing more, and if they got more minutes we'd probably all see it loud and clear. They have opportunity in practice to earn minutes, and it's not happening. I'd rather it be this way then the way Texas is doing it right now and giving minutes to guys like Jai Lucas and Justin Mason just for the sake of doing it.

And with a bunch of college kids in extraordinary shape, a bad shooting night isn't fatigue in my mind (unless it's fatigue from the previous day or something one-off). It's a bad shooting night.

Greg_Newton
02-08-2010, 02:56 PM
Coach K thinks all you worry-warts are silly:

http://www.wralsportsfan.com/duke/story/6985287/


I do have to say this; I hate when people try to equate practice minutes to game minutes. They are two entirely different things, and the emotion that goes into a game is as much a factor in fatigue as the actual physical activity. Plus, the players you play against in a game are usually better than those you play against in practice, and they are playing a lot harder. Minute for minute, practice is not as tiring as a real game.

Thanks for posting that link... two quotes from K stood out to me in relation to Ash's point: "It’s really a 40-minute game. It should be easier for them than a two-hour practice,” and “I have confidence in them. They are veterans. They don’t use up emotional energy like a younger player."

K's first quote doesn't make much sense to me. Unless the ball is live and they are sprinting every second of a 2-hour practice, I would think it would be easier than a 2-hour (real time) game.

K's second quote is a little more reassuring. It's this "emotional energy" that I worry about when it comes to minutes (and I tend to worry more about players feeling like the team is dependent on them to the point that they cannot come out than I do about nominal increases in minutes), and it's nice to see that K is, of course, aware of this and doesn't think it's an issue with these particular players.


They are put out there to be pawns--set screens, create space, offensive rebound, and run like hell back on defense. It comes time for them to actually do something on offense maybe they have a little "cognitive dissonance," otherwise known as confusion.

I tend to agree that this is what we should worry about this year if we're going to be worried. There's a difference between being a role player and developing a complex of being "second tier" player on the team who's sole reason for existence is to facilitate things for the guards. Watch Miles or Z for a few plays... I don't necessarily agree that this is a result of inconsistent coaching, but it's something to keep an eye on.


Basically, this thread comes down to "Andre Dawkins isn't getting enough playing time." That's really the only reasonable discussion point I see in this thing.

True that. I don't know if I quite buy the simple explanation that Andre's not even ready to contribute 5 mpg - I mean, he did singlehandedly keep us in the game against Wisky - but I don't know how you could complain about anything else. Hopefully the story of Andre's freshman year has a happy ending, and this will all be water under the bridge come March...

crimsonandblue
02-08-2010, 02:59 PM
If you just look at the numbers, it's a little odd that effectively inserting a big for Henderson hasn't had a bigger effect on the team's offensive look. I know you're running more true motion. I think that's shown up, particularly early on, in the complexion of how and where shots were taken. Now? I don't know. Seems like it's trending more towards last year.

You're scoring a larger percentage of points from beyond the arc than last year. Granted, that's with taking fewer threes per attempt than a year ago. But you're still not getting to the line nearly as often as last year. But that's what happens when you take Henderson and Williams, both who could slash, and effectively replace them with Dawkins (almost purely perimeter) and a big who isn't much of an offensive threat.

To me, the groundhog day aspect of Duke isn't depth or at least not "just" depth. To me, it's relying on finesse, perimeter oriented offense set parallel to working those guys to the bone. My question over the past few years has been, "can Duke get themselves easy points if the perimeter shots aren't falling." The answer is maybe a little more "yes" this year due to Smith's driving ability and pull up game and the offensive board work you're able to generate with your size across the front. Still . . .

I would still be very frightened by the prospect of running into Duke in the tourney, but I tell you what, I'd be more frightened if they had any one of their big guys to a level where they could score at all with their backs to the basket.

I admit to not watching nearly enough Duke hoops this year to know that Duke's NOT trying to utilize their bigs, but I saw one exchange in the BC game that had me wondering. Duke did a good job of reversing the ball and managed to get a mismatch down low with a BC wing singled up on a Plumleee (I think Miles, but am not sure), who had pretty good position with little to no potential help in the lane. Scheyer had the ball on the wing and a defensive player sagged a bit, but still in decent shape out on him. Scheyer took the three. It went in, but it just reaffirmed what I've seen before out of this team. It still seems like you're playing three on five on offense and there's no real effort to adjust that. Scheyer's a great decisionmaker. If he felt comfortable dumping the ball in, that was the time to do it.

Instead, the Big Three took 40 of 48 shots and all 17 threes.

bird
02-08-2010, 03:05 PM
While this topic may have been beat to death, Kenpom's stats are interesting:

Duke is 313 in bench minutes (out of 347 in the data set), and last in the ACC in that measure.

While we are at it, Duke is 2nd in the country on height, and 9th in effective height.

Duke is 96 in experience.

Also note that while Duke is No. 313 in bench minutes, its overall rating in Kenpom's system is No. 2, with the No. 1 rated offense and No. 23 rated defense in the country.

Statistically, Duke is very tall, pretty experienced, has a short bench, an offense that can be frighteningly good and a solid if not vintage defense. No much news there, but good to see statistics back up impressions.

http://kenpom.com/height.php?s=BenchRank

Regenman
02-08-2010, 03:24 PM
As a Texas and Duke alum, I'll counter the comments about Barnes. I like the fact that Barnes is willing to play a lot of players during the season. Why not? Texas isn't losing because Lucas is getting minutes, the losses are piling up because they can't shoot free throws and Pittman has regressed.

I don't remember Seth Davis as being particularly virulent against Coach K, but he even referenced this situation this week


If Coach K asked my advice (which he does all the time), I would tell him to force-feed freshmen Andre Dawkins and Mason Plumlee a lot more minutes, even if it means losing a few games as they learn the ropes. Those two need to learn to play through mistakes, and the Blue Devils will need their help to reach the Final Four.

As for minutes, I'd love to know how Horvath got into Coach K's doghouse his senior year as our 3rd big man and how he was forced to play ice cold against Okafor (oh yeah, I forgot, Coach K doesn't have a doghouse either....)

Wander
02-08-2010, 03:28 PM
Also note that while Duke is No. 313 in bench minutes, its overall rating in Kenpom's system is No. 2, with the No. 1 rated offense and No. 23 rated defense in the country.

The trends should be noted here. The defense has been getting worse throughout the season, and the offense has been consistently excellent.

greybeard
02-08-2010, 03:36 PM
Where does one begin? Let's start with the premise that the bigs may be experiencing cognitive dissonance which by the way is not confusion, although it may result in a confused state. Are they being given inconsistent coaching and instruction? Where is the evidence to support that supposition or the premise you make later that K and the assistants are not aligned.

You write that the bigs can't perform offensively because they are told not to by the coaches when a much simpler and more logical explanation is that the coaches work with them every day, and understand what they are capable of in their stages of development, and their limitations.

As for the reference to the Eastern mystics, I studied Eastern religions at Duke and never came across it as an attributed saying let alone a commonly used one. I think you made the reference up.

Let me start of the end. "You are what you believe" in one form or another informs not only eastern mysticism but most self-help discilines. Let's start with that saying by a great Yogi, "90 percent of the game is mental. The other half is physicial." Or we could go to the Power of Positive Thinking, or the Seven Secretes . . . . But, I did promise you eastern mystics, and while Yogi did play in the East, I should deliver the real thing. How bout Pantanjali, does he qualify for you 77? You do know who he was? Pantanjali, for the rest of you mokes, because I'm sure 77 is familiar, is generally credited with codifying the secret practices of Yoga. Yeap, he wrote it all down; as another great eastern mystic called him, "the scientist of the inner." According to Pantanjali, to reach "samadhi," you are still with me 77, right, you must first purify and complete the mind. Samadhi, we'll let the rest of them in on this 77, is that place where the mind disappears, where there is only the state of that which is, bliss, meditation, or as sports folks like to call it now, "to be in the moment." This, as you know 77, istands in direct conflict with the Zen Masters, whose view is that all that needs to happen is to drop the mind. Pantagali would agree but insists that first comes Yoga, the discipline necessary for purification and completeness, then comes meditation, silence, emptiness, bliss. I am correct about this, 77, I mean you do agree so far, right?

Well, let me try to cut to it, to purify, to put to rest the mind's illusions, illusions that create duality where there is only one, is the work of the discipline that we know as Yoga. And, for Pantanjali, there were three states of mental incompleteness that would generally infuse how people understood themselves and the world around them in illusory terms, in terms that create suffering. The first illusion type, which Pantanjali says is most destructive, is "kutarka"--which refers to reasoning that is oriented towards the negative, that has a person always thinking in terms of "no, denying, doubting." While even "vitarka"--positive thinking--for Pantajali was an illusion and would keep one from samati, true peace, it is kutarka that causes the most suffering. In our case, 77, that means missed freakin baskets. Satisfied?

Now, back to your other insightful points. I have read all sort of nonsense on this board for several years about "bench players" who just could not perform, and said it was nonsense. The most recent was Mr. Eliot Williams. First people said he could not shoot, then that he was unconfortable on the court because he lacked a sophisticated basketball background, then that he couldn't pass, then that he was incapble of playing the point. I said repeatedly that all this was a bunch of bull. Well, is it? Or is the water in Memphis laced with some special elixar?

Singler, in case you are following it, is having struggling scoring. Is anyone telling him not to shoot? Scheyer atruggled last year. Anyone tell him to stop?

You see Lance or Zoubs or one of the Plumlees make one of their occasional, and when I say occasional we are talking very occasional, moves, and they muff it, they are OUT. If Scheyer or Singler were held to that standard they'd get the same number of minutes as the bench guys. You see now all the time a big presenting for the ball and one of the big 3 waiving them off, and they turn and go set a screen or look for rebounding position. They certaining don't get the ball, throw it back out and look for a better position to retrieve the ball right back in that moment when the defender relaxes, get it back out, and score the ball, AS EVERY EFFECTIVE INSIDE SCORER MUST DO TO BE CONSISTENTLY EFFECTIVE.

My view, Eliot could have run this team last year and should have. He was ten times better at doing it than Paulus ever dreamed of on his best day, and if he did anything other than try to fit in as directed, which in his case was to create space and if he had an open three jack it up, he'd be pulled. Of course, when he looked like a lost lamb because he didn't know whether to poop or go blind, he was pulled anyway.

Then, when they finally started to start him, the direction was that he take it to the basket off the wing and dunk or get rid of it. Yeah, he could shoot occasionally at his own risk, but he was told not just to get to the rim but to try to dunk it, if for nothing else to draw fouls on the bigs and make them defend the rim, which all offenses must do and usually do through including their Bigs as integral to their offense except Duke didn't. How do I was know he was told to do this. Because that was all he did and it was obvious to me, as it should now be obvious to everyone else, that he had so much more, oh so much more in his arsenal. The reality is that he was and remains a very talented guard with tremendous leadership qualities, who can occupy ball on the dribble, run the break, distribute, get to the rim and finish in a variety of fashions including pulling up, and of course shoot from distance.

Now to the cases at hand. If you have watched film of the kid, it is not possible that Mason would not be a big time scorer if the offense was geared to getting him shots. NOT POSSIBLE. Why does he commit stupid fouls? We all know it is because he is frustrated. And why is he frustrated? Is it because he missed one dunk or lost it on a drive or an attempted drive and dish? Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that that is the precipitant cause of his frustration. No, in the sense that an empowered player would play through such mishaps, but Mason knows that he had just made a miscue that was going to get him yanked from the game. That is the reason for the stupid foul. The "BIG THREE" get to make mistakes trying to make plays until the cows come home; the four bigs try to make a play at their own risk.

How can that pressure not effect the quality of play and the likelihood that of error? He that is ambivolent in shooting or making an offensive move is lost before he begins. And, every one of the Bigs on Duke's team is in exactly that position and has been since McRob left. (McRob had the portfolio to play as the game dictated he just lacked the back).

How does it happen that a terrific player like Taylor gets so flumixed that he gets in the game with directions to shoot the 3 and can't throw it in the ocean. I mean I could have missed less worse than him. It is because his game was being micromanaged in a way that did not allow him to play with any feel, to make choices based upon how the court presented. Rather, he was told what to do and when; he was to move to certain places on the floor and if the ball came with space, shoot it. If it went in, he'd get to stay. Looking to create or initiate offense in some other way. Who do you think you are? One of the Big Three?

Scoring the ball from inside requires the same kind of freedom, perhaps more, to make judgments and mistakes as playing the point. Having the freedom to creat body angles, have help defense go for what they think is an exposed ball only to have it disappear by an unconventional loop of the arm to sweep it past a swiping hand and, because the main defender is watching what he is sure will be a steal by the help defender, you end up with an easy lay up, takes the ability to fail without being second guessed, the same way Jon and Kyle get to fail. The way Eliot and Taylor also didn't, not here they didn't.

Finally, I do not know if Chris and WoJo are just following orders or not. I have to believe that as experienced assistants, who have been with K so long, and K's stature both here and elsewhere, that they have considerable input into the freedoms or lack of it that players are allowed. I remember back when K was developing talent, when guys with lesser talents were allowed to succeed and fail, you know, guys like Chris and WoJo for example. So I just assumed that if K was not in a position of delegating to his lead assistants, and listening to their perspectives, maybe some of the guys we are talking about would have gotten the same type of slack as Chris and WoJo did. Who knows, maybe they are just following orders. Even if they are, if they were advocating for more chances to be given to the bigs, I think that they'd be getting them. If not, I can't imagine what Chris and WoJo do for their money. No, I'm serious.

As for Kelly, I think that Duke waited way, way, way too long to give this kid a chance to get his sea legs. Throwing him into the fire in the heat of the the middle of the ACC season was, in my view, unwise, and he is bound to stumble. However, if given the chance to fail a bit, he just might succeed wildly, and should Duke make a serious run, be a MAJOR contributor. The kid can really play. Just like Eliot Williams.

airowe
02-08-2010, 03:39 PM
We obviously need more depth like Georgetown has in order to beat teams like Villanova... it would never work only playing 7 players.

Georgetown plays the shortest bench in the country!!!

bird
02-08-2010, 03:49 PM
Georgetown plays the shortest bench in the country!!!

Georgetown is 344 out of 347 in bench minutes, according to Kenpom's data.

A-Tex Devil
02-08-2010, 03:51 PM
As a Texas and Duke alum, I'll counter the comments about Barnes. I like the fact that Barnes is willing to play a lot of players during the season. Why not? Texas isn't losing because Lucas is getting minutes, the losses are piling up because they can't shoot free throws and Pittman has regressed.

I don't remember Seth Davis as being particularly virulent against Coach K, but he even referenced this situation this week



As for minutes, I'd love to know how Horvath got into Coach K's doghouse his senior year as our 3rd big man and how he was forced to play ice cold against Okafor (oh yeah, I forgot, Coach K doesn't have a doghouse either....)

As a Texas fan, I recommend reading Scipio Tex's 7/11 article on Barking Carnival. It hammers home the problem with Barnes substitutions this year, and highlights for me (although not explicitly in the article) why what Coach K does is generally effective. Play your best players more. Period.

The 7-11 Plan (http://barkingcarnival.fantake.com/2010/02/05/the-7-11-plan/)

I really, really like Rick Barnes, but he continues to substitute haphazardly and keep bad lineup combinations (e.g. Balbay and Mason, who can't shoot, on floor with Pittman at the same time for close to 15 minutes of every game. Hamilton, Johnson and Brown (all 3 black holes) on the floor together, etc.). I frankly feel that he's made these kids head cases since his hook has been so quick when they mess up. They haven't had any fun since they beat Michigan State.

While I would put Texas' free throw shooting as #1 in their struggles, Barnes inability to establish any kind of effective substitution pattern, and to bench ineffective players is a close second.

And Pittman's effectiveness this year has about 25% to do with what's between his ears and 75% to do with the fact that the sagging man-to-man's he has seen are so disrespectful of Texas' shooters that he could reach out and grab the butts of the other teams guards when he is in the post.

Edited to add: Force-feeding minutes and taking the losses associated with them is wrong-headed IMHO.

throatybeard
02-08-2010, 03:54 PM
1-a and 1-b from Throatybeard's handy guide.

Yawn.

Yeah, there's a reason I put 'em first!

airowe
02-08-2010, 03:56 PM
Georgetown is 344 out of 347 in bench minutes, according to Kenpom's data.

Off by 3. Still, you get the point...

Kfanarmy
02-08-2010, 04:03 PM
This.

.... We lost because we played like my backside ('Nova, VCU, LSU, Indiana), game planned poorly (WVU, Mich St., LSU) ... I disagree on the LSU and ,to a certain degree, the VCU loss. LSU decided to foul JJ every time he touched the ball and dare the official to blow the whistle. Refs blinked and essentially allowed LSU' Freshman Temple to push and shove him throughout the game. If that game had been called even reasonably JJ shoots 40 free throws. VCU game was not a good performance by Duke but was also compounded by extremely physical play.

Chicago 1995
02-08-2010, 04:06 PM
Yes, but for these young guys I believe it only cumulates where you have only 1 or 2 days rest between games. Certainly once you give someone in as good a physical shape as Jon, Nolan or Kyle 4 days for the body to recover, they're fresh, at least physically, at that point, unless in between there is an especially grueling practice session that tries to replicate a 40-minute game or they overdo it in the weight room between games.

Don't we hear about rookies in every sport hitting the wall? What about the cumulative effect of innings on pitchers. Minutes logged by NBA players. There's plenty of literatures and anecdotes showing that fatigue is cumulative

Heck, K himself has changed his practices to lessen the likelihood of fatigue.

Maybe it's not a big difference, but I think it's a little crazy to say that there's no cumulative effect of fatigue over the course of a season, and that four games worth of minutes couldn't have made a difference over the course of the season. I know that's not a popular view here, and I know why.

Chicago 1995
02-08-2010, 04:12 PM
See, I disagree on how you develop "contingencies." As you get into conference play (as we are now), you are done working on contingencies. You should play the rotation that gives you the best chance to win that game. Pre-season tourneys and non-conference games are for feeling out the lineup and figuring out who your go-to guys are.

There is reason these guys aren't playing more, and if they got more minutes we'd probably all see it loud and clear. They have opportunity in practice to earn minutes, and it's not happening. I'd rather it be this way then the way Texas is doing it right now and giving minutes to guys like Jai Lucas and Justin Mason just for the sake of doing it.

And with a bunch of college kids in extraordinary shape, a bad shooting night isn't fatigue in my mind (unless it's fatigue from the previous day or something one-off). It's a bad shooting night.

Preseason tourneys and the non-con schedule are fine, but I don't think you can expect a kid who has seen his minutes dwindle be a contigency in March if he's not played meaningful minutes in months. Whatever player it is will be better prepared if he's been consistently deployed in a role and gotten game minutes on a regular basis.

That's why Barnes is playing Mason and Lucas, I'd wager, and it's why most coaches develop a bench more than K has of late.

All I know is that for all the minutes he logged in 2004, 2005 and 2006, JJ had a lot of shots come up short in our most important games. Maybe that's a function of defense, but fatigue might matter some too, you know?

Matches
02-08-2010, 04:28 PM
As for minutes, I'd love to know how Horvath got into Coach K's doghouse his senior year as our 3rd big man and how he was forced to play ice cold against Okafor (oh yeah, I forgot, Coach K doesn't have a doghouse either....)

Heh. I remember people around that time complaining that Nick was playing too much, and that his minutes should have gone to Shavlik Randolph.

bass-piscator
02-08-2010, 05:07 PM
dang, greybeard, quit beating about the bush and tell us how you really feel.

Hermy-own
02-08-2010, 05:34 PM
We need to unify two different threads of thought.
Thread 1: The bigs (and Andre) are being pulled from the game whenever they make the slightest mistake. They aren't allowed freedom to play the game as it comes to them - they are being force fed exactly what they must do on the court. This limits their development, makes them nervous and frustrated when they make mistakes, and doesn't relax them so they can get in a groove. Thus, give the bench players more minutes. (example: greybeard)

Thread 2: People like ol' Roy and Barnes play all their bench players way too often. The second anyone makes a mistake, they get pulled. Thus, all their players are way too afraid to make a mistake, and they get tight. Playing our best players a lot is the way to go. (example:A-Tex Devil)

I think we need to separate how many minutes people should get vs why people get pulled from the game. Greybeard is arguing for our talented Freshman to be given minutes, and more importantly, freedom to be creative and aggressive on offense. They must also feel secure knowing that they won't be pulled from the game after one mistake.

A-Tex Devil is right that a long bench often means players become scared of being pulled. It's almost impossible to give everyone enough minutes where they feel secure about staying in the game. And even if you let people play through mistakes - and people have to be allowed to make mistakes - then when do you pull someone? Right after draining a 3? Also, our 'core' players need at least 20 min a game (the point made by Tex's link). Who are our core players then?

I agree a lot with Greybeard - give the freshman more freedom, let them make more mistakes, and it will pay off in the long run. For A-Tex Devil: Our current strategy wins us a lot of games, we need a strategy geared towards the NCAA tourney, and player development. Tex Devil is right though, that sharing bench minutes should not mean getting pulled at the first mistake.

hurleyfor3
02-08-2010, 06:06 PM
Yeah, there's a reason I put 'em first!

We should just have each item as a sticky, titled by item number. This would give us two or three pages of stickies of course, but at the same time we'd be cutting way back on the number of new threads.

If we ever win a national championship with "no depth," what looming issue will take its place? I vote "We Use Up Our Timeouts Too Quickly". (EDIT: Just noticed this *is* in the HPR, as item 1q.)

MarkD83
02-08-2010, 06:06 PM
(oh yeah, I forgot, Coach K doesn't have a doghouse either....)


I know you were being facetious but K does have a doghouse but it is clear to all his players. If you can' play defense you don't play. For freshman it takes awhile to learn Duke's D.

On a note related to this entire thread...the difference between this year and the past 2-3 years is that Duke still plays only 7-8 players but does not have one player that other teams can key on. The three S's have not all had a great game together, but they have all had great games. Therefore, it will be difficult for opposing teams to design a game plan that works. This reduces the mental burden on any one of them. The mental not the physical aspect of the game is what causes losses in march. This year with 3 players sharing the mental burden I believe that even though they are all logging alot of minutes the mental fatigue will not be as severe.

RoyalBlue08
02-08-2010, 06:09 PM
We need to unify two different threads of thought.
Thread 1: The bigs (and Andre) are being pulled from the game whenever they make the slightest mistake. They aren't allowed freedom to play the game as it comes to them - they are being force fed exactly what they must do on the court. This limits their development, makes them nervous and frustrated when they make mistakes, and doesn't relax them so they can get in a groove. Thus, give the bench players more minutes. (example: greybeard)

Thread 2: People like ol' Roy and Barnes play all their bench players way too often. The second anyone makes a mistake, they get pulled. Thus, all their players are way too afraid to make a mistake, and they get tight. Playing our best players a lot is the way to go. (example:A-Tex Devil)

I think we need to separate how many minutes people should get vs why people get pulled from the game. Greybeard is arguing for our talented Freshman to be given minutes, and more importantly, freedom to be creative and aggressive on offense. They must also feel secure knowing that they won't be pulled from the game after one mistake.

A-Tex Devil is right that a long bench often means players become scared of being pulled. It's almost impossible to give everyone enough minutes where they feel secure about staying in the game. And even if you let people play through mistakes - and people have to be allowed to make mistakes - then when do you pull someone? Right after draining a 3? Also, our 'core' players need at least 20 min a game (the point made by Tex's link). Who are our core players then?

I agree a lot with Greybeard - give the freshman more freedom, let them make more mistakes, and it will pay off in the long run. For A-Tex Devil: Our current strategy wins us a lot of games, we need a strategy geared towards the NCAA tourney, and player development. Tex Devil is right though, that sharing bench minutes should not mean getting pulled at the first mistake.


The NCAA tournament is a one and done free for all that you need a lot of luck to win. I think I would like us to continue with the strategy that wins lot of games if I had a vote!

MarkD83
02-08-2010, 06:19 PM
The NCAA tournament is a one and done free for all that you need a lot of luck to win. I think I would like us to continue with the strategy that wins lot of games if I had a vote!

I agree!!! Besides the key to the NCAAS is to get a high seed. To get a high seed you need to win alot of games.

MartyClark
02-08-2010, 06:30 PM
I'm a first time poster. I'm a long time Duke fan who became attracted to the team during the glory years. I think I understand the difficulties of recruiting and am not at all critical of Coach K and the staff. Having said that, we simply don't have any scoring depth on this team. The Plumlees and Brian Zoubek do some things pretty well but they are not playmakers or scorers. We really need the stars to align for this team to advance in the tournament.

Nevertheless, I love this team. They give an effort every night. Jon Schyer is a remarkable player, maybe my favorite of all time. They are lacking, though, in players who can dribble/penetrate and and make their own shots.

roywhite
02-08-2010, 06:34 PM
I'm a first time poster. I'm a long time Duke fan who became attracted to the team during the glory years. I think I understand the difficulties of recruiting and am not at all critical of Coach K and the staff. Having said that, we simply don't have any scoring depth on this team. The Plumlees and Brian Zoubek do some things pretty well but they are not playmakers or scorers. We really need the stars to align for this team to advance in the tournament.

Nevertheless, I love this team. They give an effort every night. Jon Schyer is a remarkable player, maybe my favorite of all time. They are lacking, though, in players who can dribble/penetrate and and make their own shots.

Welcome to the board.

The key free throws that Marty Clark hit against Indiana in the last minutes of the 1992 NCAA Semifinals are indeed an excellent example of an important contribution by a reserve.

jgehtland
02-08-2010, 06:36 PM
I've been starting responses all day and then deleting them because I figured "why bother"? But now somebody has said the most central thing, and I feel the need to respond.

Quote: "Our current strategy wins us a lot of games, we need a strategy geared towards the NCAA tourney ... "

Let me start with a few un- or lightly-disputed facts.

1) Coach K is the winningest tournament coach in the modern era (#1 in victories, top 5 in percentage)

2) Coach K has changed very little since he got here (we've always had rotations like this)

3) Winning in the tournament is based on three things:
a) getting as high a seed as you can get
b) being prepared for the format of the tourney (quick turnarounds against teams you haven't seen before, lots of hoopla to deal with outside the game)
c) getting lucky

So, based on these things, K's strategy has proven pretty successful. Its just that he hasn't been that successful *lately*, as compared to *his own, statistics-be-damned/well-above-the-expected success* from '88-'01.

Individual fans, or, heck, the entire collected fan base, may not like the way Coach K coaches the team, but he's been doing it for 30 years and it has, most emphatically, led to success in the tournament. Maybe it isn't the most exciting or fan-friendly or even player-friendly system, but it DOES succeed. Just not so much this decade outside of '01 and '04.

So, please, complain all you want about how Coach does his job. But please don't mistake recent outcomes for overall success. Basketball is just like everything else in life: build up the hand that has the most chance of success and then go all in with it. In 30 years, that has averaged out to excellent success. Just because Duke has reverted to the mean lately doesn't mean the system is broken.

MarkD83
02-08-2010, 07:00 PM
Welcome to the board.

The key free throws that Marty Clark hit against Indiana in the last minutes of the 1992 NCAA Semifinals are indeed an excellent example of an important contribution by a reserve.

This is a very interesting example. People have pointed to Dawkins needing more playing time so that he is ready in march. However, Coach K did put Andre in at the end of the BC game after not playing all game. He got the ball, was fouled and then hit one of two in a key situation. I wish he had hit both, but this is an example of Andre getting critical "playing" time that will help Duke in march.

Richard Berg
02-08-2010, 07:12 PM
Notably: unlike most game situations, foul shots aren't likely to re-tweak a bum ankle. Nor do they reveal to onlookers what Dre's conditioning level is (which would in turn give opponents an indication how long he's been truly out of action vs merely confined to the Blue Team).

Hermy-own
02-08-2010, 07:18 PM
I've been starting responses all day and then deleting them because I figured "why bother"? But now somebody has said the most central thing, and I feel the need to respond.

Quote: "Our current strategy wins us a lot of games, we need a strategy geared towards the NCAA tourney ... "

Let me start with a few un- or lightly-disputed facts.

1) Coach K is the winningest tournament coach in the modern era (#1 in victories, top 5 in percentage)

2) Coach K has changed very little since he got here (we've always had rotations like this)

3) Winning in the tournament is based on three things:
a) getting as high a seed as you can get
b) being prepared for the format of the tourney (quick turnarounds against teams you haven't seen before, lots of hoopla to deal with outside the game)
c) getting lucky

So, based on these things, K's strategy has proven pretty successful. Its just that he hasn't been that successful *lately*, as compared to *his own, statistics-be-damned/well-above-the-expected success* from '88-'01.

Individual fans, or, heck, the entire collected fan base, may not like the way Coach K coaches the team, but he's been doing it for 30 years and it has, most emphatically, led to success in the tournament. Maybe it isn't the most exciting or fan-friendly or even player-friendly system, but it DOES succeed. Just not so much this decade outside of '01 and '04.

So, please, complain all you want about how Coach does his job. But please don't mistake recent outcomes for overall success. Basketball is just like everything else in life: build up the hand that has the most chance of success and then go all in with it. In 30 years, that has averaged out to excellent success. Just because Duke has reverted to the mean lately doesn't mean the system is broken.

You are probably right. I am probably wrong. But my comment was very carefully not directed at the rotation. I was agree with GreyDevil's comment that the freshman(and everyone, actually) need more freedom to be aggressive and to feel comfortable that they won't be yanked after one mistake. Right now, I think that Coach K is doing an excellent job not yanking people after one mistake (I've seen both Andre and Mason make plenty of freshman mistakes and stay in the game) but he is constraining certain players a bit. Basically, I'm going back to the old argument on these boards, that we need to feed the post players more, so that we don't depend on 3 players for all our scoring. And so we don't play 3v5 on offense.

Like you, I have thoughts on these threads but usually think, 'why bother'. In this case, I thought that people arguing against each other were not on the exact same page. The comment that you and many others pulled out for criticism was not a central part of my post, and was really me going on a tangential thought, related to a cranky line of thought on big men that goes through DBR.

As for me being far too temporal... you are probably right, again. Alas. I still agree with my post though. :).

greybeard
02-08-2010, 07:37 PM
There was a relevant exchange about the quality of minutes being given players on all levels on another recent thread the one titled Harvard.

We are not just talking freshmen here, or at least I am not, nor minutes. O have noticed since I began visiting this site that folks correctly identify when side-players do not perform up to what people would expect. The assumption almost always is that they can't. My perception has almost always been that such assumptions are wrong. I feel strongly that in the case of Duke's bigs, and in that I include Kelly, the assumption that these guys can't score is complete nonsense.

Some would say that even if I'm right that would be okay, that is, it would be okay that guys are kept from reaching their potential, if the team goes deep and wins it all. Certainly a tenable position. It just happens to be one that I do not share. I am not sure that that has always been a paradigm that K has embraced. I kind of doubt it. It reminds me too much of some guards you meet at the gym who are wanting to tell everyone where to go and what to do, as if players in other positions are incapble of seeing the game and initiating for the team as well. They did used to call the position the "pivot" for a reason; Duke has too many centers for my taste, but no pivot men. Sad.

jgehtland
02-08-2010, 08:02 PM
There was a relevant exchange about the quality of minutes being given players on all levels on another recent thread the one titled Harvard.

We are not just talking freshmen here, or at least I am not, nor minutes. O have noticed since I began visiting this site that folks correctly identify when side-players do not perform up to what people would expect. The assumption almost always is that they can't. My perception has almost always been that such assumptions are wrong. I feel strongly that in the case of Duke's bigs, and in that I include Kelly, the assumption that these guys can't score is complete nonsense.

Some would say that even if I'm right that would be okay, that is, it would be okay that guys are kept from reaching their potential, if the team goes deep and wins it all. Certainly a tenable position. It just happens to be one that I do not share. I am not sure that that has always been a paradigm that K has embraced. I kind of doubt it. It reminds me too much of some guards you meet at the gym who are wanting to tell everyone where to go and what to do, as if players in other positions are incapble of seeing the game and initiating for the team as well. They did used to call the position the "pivot" for a reason; Duke has too many centers for my taste, but no pivot men. Sad.

You wonder why people can sometimes respond negatively to your posts. I would have no problem at all if you are saying "Duke's program doesn't do a good job developing bigs because we are a guard-oriented offense" or something. But what you are doing instead is casting aspersions on the coaching staff, literally saying that they consciously *prevent* players from reaching their potential. The way you talk about it, it sounds downright malicious.

I just don't find it even remotely plausible that Coach K and his staff would recruit players to come to Duke and hold them back from their potential. I would say statistics back me up on this; how many national/acc/defensive players of the year have there been at Duke? How many of those were obvious from their freshman year? JJ certainly wasn't -- good guard, sure, but NPOY? Shelden? Not even close for DPOY. Wojo? Seriously? Even Battier was completely overshadowed in his own class by everyone but Avery. These players all exceeded expectations, sometimes *dramatically*.

I'm starting to sense the underlying theme, though. A lot of people seem to think that Duke's players are simply the best. And any failure to be the best is the fault of a coach choosing to make that so. But some players just aren't NBA material, and they are good but not great college players.

And before anybody trots out the tired "oh, I see, you aren't allowed to question K on this board", of course you are. I do, all the time. I don't like it when he yanks Kelly after a bad foul. I REALLY don't like it when we go stall at 10 minutes to play. We're all free to question the coach, here and everywhere else. But question the tactics; don't invent intent. Or, heck, say that he's recruiting kids from towns he has a grudge against to make them ride the pine. Your right. But other people are within their right to disagree.

Also, as an aside, I'm sick and cranky today, or I'd have sprinkled a lot more smileys around my last two posts. Sorry!

77devil
02-08-2010, 09:13 PM
Let me start of the end. "You are what you believe" in one form or another informs not only eastern mysticism but most self-help discilines. Let's start with that saying by a great Yogi, "90 percent of the game is mental. The other half is physicial." Or we could go to the Power of Positive Thinking, or the Seven Secretes . . . . But, I did promise you eastern mystics, and while Yogi did play in the East, I should deliver the real thing. How bout Pantanjali, does he qualify for you 77? You do know who he was? Pantanjali, for the rest of you mokes, because I'm sure 77 is familiar, is generally credited with codifying the secret practices of Yoga. Yeap, he wrote it all down; as another great eastern mystic called him, "the scientist of the inner." According to Pantanjali, to reach "samadhi," you are still with me 77, right, you must first purify and complete the mind. Samadhi, we'll let the rest of them in on this 77, is that place where the mind disappears, where there is only the state of that which is, bliss, meditation, or as sports folks like to call it now, "to be in the moment." This, as you know 77, istands in direct conflict with the Zen Masters, whose view is that all that needs to happen is to drop the mind. Pantagali would agree but insists that first comes Yoga, the discipline necessary for purification and completeness, then comes meditation, silence, emptiness, bliss. I am correct about this, 77, I mean you do agree so far, right?

Well, let me try to cut to it, to purify, to put to rest the mind's illusions, illusions that create duality where there is only one, is the work of the discipline that we know as Yoga. And, for Pantanjali, there were three states of mental incompleteness that would generally infuse how people understood themselves and the world around them in illusory terms, in terms that create suffering. The first illusion type, which Pantanjali says is most destructive, is "kutarka"--which refers to reasoning that is oriented towards the negative, that has a person always thinking in terms of "no, denying, doubting." While even "vitarka"--positive thinking--for Pantajali was an illusion and would keep one from samati, true peace, it is kutarka that causes the most suffering. In our case, 77, that means missed freakin baskets. Satisfied?

Now, back to your other insightful points. I have read all sort of nonsense on this board for several years about "bench players" who just could not perform, and said it was nonsense. The most recent was Mr. Eliot Williams. First people said he could not shoot, then that he was unconfortable on the court because he lacked a sophisticated basketball background, then that he couldn't pass, then that he was incapble of playing the point. I said repeatedly that all this was a bunch of bull. Well, is it? Or is the water in Memphis laced with some special elixar?

Singler, in case you are following it, is having struggling scoring. Is anyone telling him not to shoot? Scheyer atruggled last year. Anyone tell him to stop?

You see Lance or Zoubs or one of the Plumlees make one of their occasional, and when I say occasional we are talking very occasional, moves, and they muff it, they are OUT. If Scheyer or Singler were held to that standard they'd get the same number of minutes as the bench guys. You see now all the time a big presenting for the ball and one of the big 3 waiving them off, and they turn and go set a screen or look for rebounding position. They certaining don't get the ball, throw it back out and look for a better position to retrieve the ball right back in that moment when the defender relaxes, get it back out, and score the ball, AS EVERY EFFECTIVE INSIDE SCORER MUST DO TO BE CONSISTENTLY EFFECTIVE.

My view, Eliot could have run this team last year and should have. He was ten times better at doing it than Paulus ever dreamed of on his best day, and if he did anything other than try to fit in as directed, which in his case was to create space and if he had an open three jack it up, he'd be pulled. Of course, when he looked like a lost lamb because he didn't know whether to poop or go blind, he was pulled anyway.

Then, when they finally started to start him, the direction was that he take it to the basket off the wing and dunk or get rid of it. Yeah, he could shoot occasionally at his own risk, but he was told not just to get to the rim but to try to dunk it, if for nothing else to draw fouls on the bigs and make them defend the rim, which all offenses must do and usually do through including their Bigs as integral to their offense except Duke didn't. How do I was know he was told to do this. Because that was all he did and it was obvious to me, as it should now be obvious to everyone else, that he had so much more, oh so much more in his arsenal. The reality is that he was and remains a very talented guard with tremendous leadership qualities, who can occupy ball on the dribble, run the break, distribute, get to the rim and finish in a variety of fashions including pulling up, and of course shoot from distance.

Now to the cases at hand. If you have watched film of the kid, it is not possible that Mason would not be a big time scorer if the offense was geared to getting him shots. NOT POSSIBLE. Why does he commit stupid fouls? We all know it is because he is frustrated. And why is he frustrated? Is it because he missed one dunk or lost it on a drive or an attempted drive and dish? Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that that is the precipitant cause of his frustration. No, in the sense that an empowered player would play through such mishaps, but Mason knows that he had just made a miscue that was going to get him yanked from the game. That is the reason for the stupid foul. The "BIG THREE" get to make mistakes trying to make plays until the cows come home; the four bigs try to make a play at their own risk.

How can that pressure not effect the quality of play and the likelihood that of error? He that is ambivolent in shooting or making an offensive move is lost before he begins. And, every one of the Bigs on Duke's team is in exactly that position and has been since McRob left. (McRob had the portfolio to play as the game dictated he just lacked the back).

How does it happen that a terrific player like Taylor gets so flumixed that he gets in the game with directions to shoot the 3 and can't throw it in the ocean. I mean I could have missed less worse than him. It is because his game was being micromanaged in a way that did not allow him to play with any feel, to make choices based upon how the court presented. Rather, he was told what to do and when; he was to move to certain places on the floor and if the ball came with space, shoot it. If it went in, he'd get to stay. Looking to create or initiate offense in some other way. Who do you think you are? One of the Big Three?

Scoring the ball from inside requires the same kind of freedom, perhaps more, to make judgments and mistakes as playing the point. Having the freedom to creat body angles, have help defense go for what they think is an exposed ball only to have it disappear by an unconventional loop of the arm to sweep it past a swiping hand and, because the main defender is watching what he is sure will be a steal by the help defender, you end up with an easy lay up, takes the ability to fail without being second guessed, the same way Jon and Kyle get to fail. The way Eliot and Taylor also didn't, not here they didn't.

Finally, I do not know if Chris and WoJo are just following orders or not. I have to believe that as experienced assistants, who have been with K so long, and K's stature both here and elsewhere, that they have considerable input into the freedoms or lack of it that players are allowed. I remember back when K was developing talent, when guys with lesser talents were allowed to succeed and fail, you know, guys like Chris and WoJo for example. So I just assumed that if K was not in a position of delegating to his lead assistants, and listening to their perspectives, maybe some of the guys we are talking about would have gotten the same type of slack as Chris and WoJo did. Who knows, maybe they are just following orders. Even if they are, if they were advocating for more chances to be given to the bigs, I think that they'd be getting them. If not, I can't imagine what Chris and WoJo do for their money. No, I'm serious.

As for Kelly, I think that Duke waited way, way, way too long to give this kid a chance to get his sea legs. Throwing him into the fire in the heat of the the middle of the ACC season was, in my view, unwise, and he is bound to stumble. However, if given the chance to fail a bit, he just might succeed wildly, and should Duke make a serious run, be a MAJOR contributor. The kid can really play. Just like Eliot Williams.

This is all fine and good but Pantanjali never wrote anything remotely close to the idiom you wrote in your previous post. I stand by my statement that you made up the attribution such as you do so often on this board.

As for the rest of this post, it's such a mess of disjointed ramblings, I'm not going to bother to respond other than to make one point. K's record contains a litany of accomplished bigs and other frosh who made huge contributions early in their Duke career that is simply indisputable.

Criticize the coaching staff all you want, but if you do, do it on a basis that has some semblance of reality instead of just throwing around baseless accusations.

gumbomoop
02-08-2010, 09:40 PM
...the difference between this year and the past 2-3 years is that Duke still plays only 7-8 players but does not have one player that other teams can key on. The three S's have not all had a great game together, but they have all had great games. Therefore, it will be difficult for opposing teams to design a game plan that works. This reduces the mental burden on any one of them. The mental not the physical aspect of the game is what causes losses in march. This year with 3 players sharing the mental burden I believe that even though they are all logging alot of minutes the mental fatigue will not be as severe.

This is an interesting observation, and worth more consideration. It's surely true that as long as 2 of 3-S have excellent games, we have solid chance to win. And it makes no difference which 2, in any particular game. [Does it?]

It's also true that this year's top teams all have more depth than Duke, by which I mean KU, UK, Syracuse, Nova.

I'm among those who worries a bit that Kelly and Dawkins have been used sparingly, but as long as each of those 2 occasionally gets a chance to contribute - and does so even a bit, 1-2 good plays/game, literally - I don't think they'll be totally lost in NCAAT.

And while there's no argument about depth where bigs are concerned, I think there's consensus on this board [a minor miracle, if true] that our depth in post is almost purely defensive depth, and even at that too defined by lots of fouls available. We need Lance to continue his recent strong support of 3-S with his FTs and now-more-controlled intensity. And we desperately need, in each game, some good stuff from any one of the 3 bigs. Z has given that more than either of the MPs.

greybeard
02-08-2010, 10:03 PM
This is all fine and good but Pantanjali never wrote anything remotely close to the idiom you wrote in your previous post. I stand by my statement that you made up the attribution such as you do so often on this board.

As for the rest of this post, it's such a mess of disjointed ramblings, I'm not going to bother to respond other than to make one point. K's record contains a litany of accomplished bigs and other frosh who made huge contributions early in their Duke career that is simply indisputable.

Criticize the coaching staff all you want, but if you do, do it on a basis that has some semblance of reality instead of just throwing around baseless accusations.

You do agree that the big 3 waive off post men almost all the time, correct? That would be because (a) the coaches tell them to; (b) they say screw the coaches.

Do you agree or not that Mason at almost any school that uses their big men would be averaging double figures? Same with Miles? You put either on Georgetown even with Monroe and they would be double digit scorers. Period.

How many chances at the rim do the four bigs who share the floor get collectively not counting put backs? How many? This is not on purpose?

Singler was chased all over the floor against BC with the guy guarding him hardly needing to close when Singler ran from inside out to the 3. The big who was guarding the center off of whom Singler had come switched and almost beat Singler to the spot, leaving Duke's big with a 3 on him and no one to double. Most teams die for that. Not Duke. How many one-on-one entry passes did you see? That's what I thought.

Now, would Duke lose if they threw it inside more to these guys, let them participate in the distribution of the ball, attack the rim and score or throw it out? I don't know, nor do you. We both don't know because it don't happen. I happen to believe that Duke would be a much better offensive team if it included these guys. K apparently doesn't. I think that that is a shortcoming of his assistants. I think that that same shortcoming explains the success that Williams and King are having as against the common perception here on this board that neither could play and contribute in the ways they currently are.

I do not believe that this is due to malevolence or anything mean-spirited on the part of Duke's coaches. I just think that the assistants are not getting the most out of lots of players. Sue me. I think that that is so.

Chris and WoJo were much better players when they left than when they began but neither impressed me. I always had an eye for effective play, the kind of play that I'd like to emulate. Nothing in either player's game caught my eye. Nothing.

When Z arrived, I thought he was TERRIFIC in setting up his move to space inside the lane with a clear passing lane available while leaving his man wrong footed and a step or two behind. Duke stunk at throwing the ball inside that year; it was used to throwing it to the landlord after the landlord sealed a guy in a similar spot. That's what they insisted on doing with Z. I haven't seen Z move to an open spot in the middle all season, much less with a step or two on his man. Progress this isn't.

I think both Plumlees are used to the game flowing through them and are lost with the scarce number of touches they get and the limited role they are asked to play in creating offensive advantage, which would include advantage for themselves. The alternative is that, despite a willingness by the coaches to include them in creating offense, they just are not currently capable. I happen to reject the former; you don't, great.

Now, it might be that the Plumlees and Kelly will grow notwithstanding the constraints currently imposed on them (I think Kelly actually has more freedom than the other two and will start acting on it once he gets his legs, btw). I certainly hope so. Be interested to know of players who you think have overcome such pigeon-holing. Me, I think that it is a dangerous ground when five bigs of the quality Duke has are ALL regarded as incapble of being integral to creating offense. Very dangerous ground, even if it is so, which I happen to think is nonsense.

Dukeface88
02-09-2010, 12:28 AM
I realize this isn't addressed to me, but I'll chip in with my two cents.


You do agree that the big 3 waive off post men almost all the time, correct? That would be because (a) the coaches tell them to; (b) they say screw the coaches.

Do you agree or not that Mason at almost any school that uses their big men would be averaging double figures? Same with Miles? You put either on Georgetown even with Monroe and they would be double digit scorers. Period.

Mason and Miles might be average double digits on a team that forced the ball to them...but at the cost of both efficiency and consistency. Sometimes they play like they did against Wake. Sometimes the play like they did at State and Georgetown where they got mutiple entry passes, but didn't finish.


How many chances at the rim do the four bigs who share the floor get collectively not counting put backs? How many? This is not on purpose?

Of course it's "on purpose". The coaches recognize the strengths of this team lie on the perimeter. You may not like it, but that's what it is. I don't think the bigs are incapable of scoring, I think they're incapable of scoring consistently. And I think you're wrong about freedom to create; Mason apparently has a green light to jack up threes if he's open. Someone has confidence in his decision making.


Now, would Duke lose if they threw it inside more to these guys, let them participate in the distribution of the ball, attack the rim and score or throw it out? I don't know, nor do you. We both don't know because it don't happen. I happen to believe that Duke would be a much better offensive team if it included these guys. K apparently doesn't. I think that that is a shortcoming of his assistants. I think that that same shortcoming explains the success that Williams and King are having as against the common perception here on this board that neither could play and contribute in the ways they currently are.

Now hold on a minute. Taylor King and Elliot Williams have both had a significant amount of practice time and experience since they played at Duke and from his stats (I haven't seen much of Nova) Taylor hasn't actually seen much progress. He does rebound more and has a better FT%. However, his FG percentage after tonight's 0-9 preformance is the same (41%), his a/to is the same, his defensive stats are effectively the same and his per-40 scoring and assits are lower. So...per 40, he's got 3 more boards, and 5 fewer points. I'm unconvinced that's much of an improvement.


When Z arrived, I thought he was TERRIFIC in setting up his move to space inside the lane with a clear passing lane available while leaving his man wrong footed and a step or two behind. Duke stunk at throwing the ball inside that year; it was used to throwing it to the landlord after the landlord sealed a guy in a similar spot. That's what they insisted on doing with Z. I haven't seen Z move to an open spot in the middle all season, much less with a step or two on his man. Progress this isn't.

When Z arrived, he hadn't had mutiple injuries and surgeries that robbed him of explosiveness. Beyond his foot issues, he wears an ankle brace, a knee brace and an elbow brace. Do you think it's because he likes the way it looks, or that he might have the joint problems that are endemic to people in his height range?


I think both Plumlees are used to the game flowing through them and are lost with the scarce number of touches they get and the limited role they are asked to play in creating offensive advantage, which would include advantage for themselves. The alternative is that, despite a willingness by the coaches to include them in creating offense, they just are not currently capable. I happen to reject the former; you don't, great.

Now, it might be that the Plumlees and Kelly will grow notwithstanding the constraints currently imposed on them (I think Kelly actually has more freedom than the other two and will start acting on it once he gets his legs, btw). I certainly hope so. Be interested to know of players who you think have overcome such pigeon-holing. Me, I think that it is a dangerous ground when five bigs of the quality Duke has are ALL regarded as incapble of being integral to creating offense. Very dangerous ground, even if it is so, which I happen to think is nonsense.

Define "integral to creating offense". I happen to think that Zoub's excellent passing, rebounding and putbacks are very useful, that LT's mid range jumper and improved FT shooting are a big part of why he's getting more minutes, that both Plumlees have shown flashes of excellence and that Kelly has shown himself to be capable in his role as a "perimeter big man". I think that all three of the underclassmen will continue to improve; I think Kelly, will gain the strength to go up against other big men, and that both Plumlees will settle down and stop making silly errors. I don't think that any of them should be the focus of the offense right now.

greybeard
02-09-2010, 01:54 AM
Dukeface88, a reasonable defense of the status quo, which since Sheldon left has left Duke, with the possible exception of McRob, with not a single big who got meaningful touches on offense and was expected to do anything but be a bit player. Not ONE, and there are now FIVE BIGS, at least four of whom were very highly rated coming in. Not one in all five who merits getting as many touches as say Smith, or Singler who is shooting a dismal percentage and has yet to make a penetrating pass to any of the five bigs that anyone can remember all year. Not one of these guys is ready to join the offense, except as a bit player who is there to set screens, rebound, clear out, and give fouls on defense.

You think that the Plumlees if on a team that needed them would not contribute mightily on offense without costing more than they scored through turnovers and mufted plays. Mind numbing.

You do concede that none of the Big Four gets meaningful touches inside and that they are routinely waved out of the play by one of the Big 3, not to secure better position, just to get out of the way because a penetrating pass to them would be too "risky." There are times when all four have had good position and still do not get the ball.

If you do not attack the basket with a well-positioned big you empower the people that they are supposed to contest on the other end and defeat the main objective of any offense which is to force defenders to defend the rim. You allow instead for all five defenders to worry in the main about stopping 3 opponents from scoring, not 5, which come tournament time will in all likelihood cost. Most great offensive schemes use 5 players, all of whom are integral to the flow, and must take the shots that the defense allows.

When Duke plays that does not happen and people like you believe that it's with good reason--that they can't get it done.

That is precisely what people were saying about Williams and King when they left. Williams couldn't shoot, couldn't lead a team, was a great on ball defender and needed to get better at dunking which was according to many here the extent of his offensive game. Turns out that that wasn't so.

I have watched Nova a lot and have seen Tyler be integral to that team's success. More often than not he is on the floor in important times, he is free to take shots when the situation suits, he goes to the rim, and shoots well. He would be doing none of that had he stayed. He already was pigeon-holed.

As for Z, he stopped moving to space because he never got the ball, except when the defender was already all over him, when he was forced by the coaches to get into a so-called athletic position from which he found it impossible to move. He has shown in the last two years plenty of agility with up and under and other moves around the basket, but is so rigid because of all the weight training that he is too stiff to play anywhere near his potential. If he were hurting, you'd see him favor something and he favors nothing. Those things on his arm and knee are not braces; they perhaps increase blood flow. If Z has hurt his elbow or knee I'd have to believe that they were strained in all that weight training which has left him with an impressive physical presence but no balance or grace; not possible with that much rigidity through his rib cage and spine up into his neck.

You think that the Plumlees are not ready to play actively on offense and insist that on other teams that they would cost more than they scored if they played like normal 4s or 5s. All I can say is wow!

So, in the end, it is your position that Duke got Miles who was headed for Standford where they have had more than their success with bigs, particularly brothers, but it turns out that neither he nor his more heralded younger brother are smart or skilled enough to play. What's wrong with this picture. And, Lance, you like his hustle, but I have to think that his shooting percentage is higher than Kyle's. And so what if he loses it once in a while when attacking the glass, or misses a shot that he should make. Kyle doesn't? You let the guy loose and let him mess up being integral to the offense a full run in a game, in one game out of four years, and maybe you would have one piece of evidence to prove that your surmiss is correct. You let him do it three or four games in a row, like you have Kyle this year, and Scheyer last, and your argument would be stronger but only if Lance screwed the pooch so to speak. On the other hand, what if he double clutched his way to 15 a game. We already know that Duke can win if a guy keeps shooting and trying to score the ball without success; why not give Lance a chance? I'm sure you have an answer but having watch Nelson and Paulus have some truly attrocious offensive games I'm sure that I couldn't begin to accept it as valid, and am surprised that you would continue to propound it, like some falstaffian figure who is sure he knows what would be and presages it.

In the end, what we know is that Duke has not allowed its bigs to play an equal role in the offense, presumably in order to put what the coaches see as its best foot forward, but invariably that foot has not taken Duke very far in the post season. This year it has 5 bigs, several of whom come with considerable pedigres, but still the coaches can find none to play offense in any meaningful sense of the term. Not one. Sounds crazy to me.

Before I'd accept that, me, I'd find some assistants who could coach the big three to make these other guys productive partners in the offense, rather than cannon fodder. They'd do it or they'd sit. I think that Duke would be the better team for it. Opps, the four guys who might have replaced them (I'm including Marty here) have all left.

Bluedevil114
02-09-2010, 05:45 AM
Depth is developed in practice. The season is not over as we have three freshman still improving. Coach K is teaching these three freshman the better they practice the more they play.

It is simple.

Right now they are not playing the minutes because they do not practice as hard as they need to. Trust Coach K. Everyone acts like he does not know what he is doing and that he has not been criticized for this in the past.

Coach K and his coaching staff are developing these players to make a run at the end of the season. Remember Elliot Williams, he did not start until this time last year.

Go Duke!!

DevilHorns
02-09-2010, 08:52 AM
Williams couldn't shoot, couldn't lead a team, was a great on ball defender and needed to get better at dunking which was according to many here the extent of his offensive game. .

I tend to agree with you on some things, but this in my eyes is not true. Elliott's departure kidney-punched this team's fanbase. Do you remember all those threads about how we may end up middle-of-the-pack ACC, maybe squeezing in with a weak seed, and my god, if we lost a guard, we would be where UNC is now :D? Last season I didn't think dunking was the only aspect of his game... then again... you may be right that the coaching staff encouraged him to penetrate if found 1 v 1 on the perimeter with space, and so, that became his primary offensive display. We simply had better shooters for the motion offense, and he wasn't part of the rotation that came off screens for open shots. I don't know if Elliott would've been pulled for a shooting an open mid-range shot. I kind of doubt he would've been pulled. I just think the play development on offense wasn't designed for that.

As for this year, I don't think most Duke fans think that Andre Dawkins can't dribble and distribute the ball at all.... I actually think he's told to stay on the perimeter because that at this point is his strongest attribute. He can nail it. We could have him dishing the ball around (but in all honesty, I'm sure the staff knows its much higher % to have Nolan or Jon drive in and dish out to him or a big).

As for Miles, I am with you on this one. I hated it last year when IMO we did not use him enough. We could've let him develop more. But at the same time, remember we do not see these players in practice, and we don't have the opportunity to analyze every little part of their game. I do think that the staff has realized (as many on this site believe) that this team's post-season success depends on the fast and perhaps miraculous improvement of Mason. Thats why he is given more freedom to create, to exercise his potential. I think the staff sees Miles in practice, and realize that he is incredibly effective a few feet from the rim, excellent at put-backs and getting position for rebounds, but maybe not the most effective way to score.

In the end: if we channeled more of our offense through the post, we would lose more games, but perhaps, we would develop more of our bigs. I honestly don't think its worth it to lose those more games, achieve a weaker tourney seed, and enter in as a less offensively efficient team. Hard to know the balance, but I think we should remember that while we only see these players in games, the staff sees them in every angle of light during practice (and by studying tape) as well.

Steve68
02-09-2010, 09:31 AM
Dukeface88, a reasonable defense of the status quo, which since Sheldon left has left Duke, with the possible exception of McRob, with not a single big who got meaningful touches on offense and was expected to do anything but be a bit player. Not ONE, and there are now FIVE BIGS, at least four of whom were very highly rated coming in. Not one in all five who merits getting as many touches as say Smith, or Singler who is shooting a dismal percentage and has yet to make a penetrating pass to any of the five bigs that anyone can remember all year. Not one of these guys is ready to join the offense, except as a bit player who is there to set screens, rebound, clear out, and give fouls on defense.

You think that the Plumlees if on a team that needed them would not contribute mightily on offense without costing more than they scored through turnovers and mufted plays. Mind numbing.

You do concede that none of the Big Four gets meaningful touches inside and that they are routinely waved out of the play by one of the Big 3, not to secure better position, just to get out of the way because a penetrating pass to them would be too "risky." There are times when all four have had good position and still do not get the ball.

If you do not attack the basket with a well-positioned big you empower the people that they are supposed to contest on the other end and defeat the main objective of any offense which is to force defenders to defend the rim. You allow instead for all five defenders to worry in the main about stopping 3 opponents from scoring, not 5, which come tournament time will in all likelihood cost. Most great offensive schemes use 5 players, all of whom are integral to the flow, and must take the shots that the defense allows.

When Duke plays that does not happen and people like you believe that it's with good reason--that they can't get it done.

That is precisely what people were saying about Williams and King when they left. Williams couldn't shoot, couldn't lead a team, was a great on ball defender and needed to get better at dunking which was according to many here the extent of his offensive game. Turns out that that wasn't so.

I have watched Nova a lot and have seen Tyler be integral to that team's success. More often than not he is on the floor in important times, he is free to take shots when the situation suits, he goes to the rim, and shoots well. He would be doing none of that had he stayed. He already was pigeon-holed.

As for Z, he stopped moving to space because he never got the ball, except when the defender was already all over him, when he was forced by the coaches to get into a so-called athletic position from which he found it impossible to move. He has shown in the last two years plenty of agility with up and under and other moves around the basket, but is so rigid because of all the weight training that he is too stiff to play anywhere near his potential. If he were hurting, you'd see him favor something and he favors nothing. Those things on his arm and knee are not braces; they perhaps increase blood flow. If Z has hurt his elbow or knee I'd have to believe that they were strained in all that weight training which has left him with an impressive physical presence but no balance or grace; not possible with that much rigidity through his rib cage and spine up into his neck.

You think that the Plumlees are not ready to play actively on offense and insist that on other teams that they would cost more than they scored if they played like normal 4s or 5s. All I can say is wow!

So, in the end, it is your position that Duke got Miles who was headed for Standford where they have had more than their success with bigs, particularly brothers, but it turns out that neither he nor his more heralded younger brother are smart or skilled enough to play. What's wrong with this picture. And, Lance, you like his hustle, but I have to think that his shooting percentage is higher than Kyle's. And so what if he loses it once in a while when attacking the glass, or misses a shot that he should make. Kyle doesn't? You let the guy loose and let him mess up being integral to the offense a full run in a game, in one game out of four years, and maybe you would have one piece of evidence to prove that your surmiss is correct. You let him do it three or four games in a row, like you have Kyle this year, and Scheyer last, and your argument would be stronger but only if Lance screwed the pooch so to speak. On the other hand, what if he double clutched his way to 15 a game. We already know that Duke can win if a guy keeps shooting and trying to score the ball without success; why not give Lance a chance? I'm sure you have an answer but having watch Nelson and Paulus have some truly attrocious offensive games I'm sure that I couldn't begin to accept it as valid, and am surprised that you would continue to propound it, like some falstaffian figure who is sure he knows what would be and presages it.

In the end, what we know is that Duke has not allowed its bigs to play an equal role in the offense, presumably in order to put what the coaches see as its best foot forward, but invariably that foot has not taken Duke very far in the post season. This year it has 5 bigs, several of whom come with considerable pedigres, but still the coaches can find none to play offense in any meaningful sense of the term. Not one. Sounds crazy to me.

Before I'd accept that, me, I'd find some assistants who could coach the big three to make these other guys productive partners in the offense, rather than cannon fodder. They'd do it or they'd sit. I think that Duke would be the better team for it. Opps, the four guys who might have replaced them (I'm including Marty here) have all left.

I keep re-reading your long arguments hoping for some enlightenment and I still can't buy into what you are saying. Neither of the Plumlees has shown the ability to score inside with the possible exception of the Wake game. They have missed way too many chippies, dunks, and/or put backs to be considered serious inside threats by anyone. Many of Miles' points have come on alley-oops, not from a position with his back to the basket. Mason has not lived up to his hype (at least not yet) and makes freshman mistakes at an alarming rate for a player said by some to be the best basketball player on the team. As another poster stated earlier, it is an adventure almost any time Lance touches the ball inside; and we all know of Zoub's limited offensive capabilities. However, the four of them together have provided an adequate front line. They have rotated effectively throughout the game, somewhat deflating the lack of depth and development argument, and providing some balance to the Big 3.

On the perimeter we have the highest scoring trio in college basketball. Exactly which one of them do you want to have reduced minutes? We do bring in Dawkins (or at least we did before he started his recent down spiral) and Kelly for a few minutes to give the Big 3 an occassional rest. We all knew we would be short in the backcourt before the season began, so this strikes me as a pretty effective use of the talent we have. All college teams are flawed - the objective is to minimize the flaws, maximize the strengths, and win ball games. At 19-4 I think we have done a pretty good job of that. I think the one game we saw the freshmen "allowed to play through their mistakes" was the Georgetown game and the result was not very pretty. You apparently don't agree with any of this, but that's what makes this board interesting, isn't it?

hq2
02-09-2010, 09:44 AM
I have to agree with the last post. It's up to the bigs to prove that they can do something when one of the big three throws them the ball. Up until now, they haven't shown it on a consistent basis. They need to prove to the big three that they deserve more touches by helping out more. That would include more passes to cutters by Zoubek, (which he's gotten better at), more willingness to take the open jumper when it's there by Lance, and more
help away from the basket setting screens and picks and running the pick and roll by the Plumlees. If they would do that, instead of just waving their arms for the ball under the basket, I think the big three would involve them all more. However, at this stage, expecting any of them to show a significant back to the basket post up game is not a good bet.

By the way, I think that Graybeard post may set the record for longest DBR post in history.

Jeffrey
02-09-2010, 12:58 PM
Neither of the Plumlees has shown the ability to score inside with the possible exception of the Wake game. They have missed way too many chippies, dunks, and/or put backs to be considered serious inside threats by anyone.

Do you think that Mason is lacking in offensive talent? IMO, Mason has tremendous offensive talent. I see many double-doubles in his future.

CDu
02-09-2010, 01:06 PM
Do you think that Mason is lacking in offensive talent? IMO, Mason has tremendous offensive talent.

I think it depends on what you mean by talent. If you mean potential, then I completely agree. If you mean skill, then I disagree.

Mason is an extremely gifted leaper, and is pretty fast for a big guy. But he's not very quick laterally, and he has no post-game at all yet. I think Mason has tons of offensive potential, but I don't think he has very much realized offensive skills yet.

When he develops a post game and gets better as a shooter, I think he'll be an absolute force offensively. But right now his offense is limited to taking advantage of complete breakdowns defensively, along with fast break layups/dunks, alleyoops, and putbacks.

BlueDevilCorvette!
02-09-2010, 01:21 PM
Well if the guards aren't going to throw the ball to the bigs down low, then why can't the bigs just focus on putbacks and/or offensive rebounding and go back up strong rather than kicking the ball back out? If our bigs have any offensive capabilities whatsoever, it seems like they would occassionally be more eager to score when they get the ball (ex. Wake game). There are many times when Z gets an offensive rebound and rather than instinctively make a move to get his shot off, he kicks it back out to the perimeter. Z would already be in prime position to score but his first action is to kick it out. Duke's other bigs tend to do this too. Seriously, Miles P. has the body to bang and get points off of putbacks, so why isn't our bigs first and foremost showing confidence in their offensive games. Is this a product of the system or just a lack of confidence overall?

Jeffrey
02-09-2010, 01:25 PM
I think it depends on what you mean by talent. If you mean potential, then I completely agree. If you mean skill, then I disagree.


As with almost all freshman, his skills need to be developed. IMO, he has substantial ability and will realize his potential.

jv001
02-09-2010, 01:27 PM
I think it depends on what you mean by talent. If you mean potential, then I completely agree. If you mean skill, then I disagree.

Mason is an extremely gifted leaper, and is pretty fast for a big guy. But he's not very quick laterally, and he has no post-game at all yet. I think Mason has tons of offensive potential, but I don't think he has very much realized offensive skills yet.

When he develops a post game and gets better as a shooter, I think he'll be an absolute force offensively. But right now his offense is limited to taking advantage of complete breakdowns defensively, along with fast break layups/dunks, alleyoops, and putbacks.

CDu has pretty much summed up Mason's play. He has great leaping ability but lacks lateral quickness. In my mind Kelly is quicker than Mason and has better skill sets. However Mason may have a higher ceiling because he can really get better. He runs the floor and can make some incredible blocks and dunks. But on defense he loses his man too many times and does not switch on defense quickly enough. On offense he does not finish well and never uses his left hand on layups. This could prevent his shot from being blocked or at worst he goes to the foul line. Oh that's been another weak area. He shoots foul shots poorly. Mason has a long way to go in a short time to make us a FF team. Go Duke!

greybeard
02-09-2010, 01:47 PM
I keep re-reading your long arguments hoping for some enlightenment and I still can't buy into what you are saying. Neither of the Plumlees has shown the ability to score inside with the possible exception of the Wake game. They have missed way too many chippies, dunks, and/or put backs to be considered serious inside threats by anyone. Many of Miles' points have come on alley-oops, not from a position with his back to the basket. Mason has not lived up to his hype (at least not yet) and makes freshman mistakes at an alarming rate for a player said by some to be the best basketball player on the team. As another poster stated earlier, it is an adventure almost any time Lance touches the ball inside; and we all know of Zoub's limited offensive capabilities. However, the four of them together have provided an adequate front line. They have rotated effectively throughout the game, somewhat deflating the lack of depth and development argument, and providing some balance to the Big 3.

On the perimeter we have the highest scoring trio in college basketball. Exactly which one of them do you want to have reduced minutes? We do bring in Dawkins (or at least we did before he started his recent down spiral) and Kelly for a few minutes to give the Big 3 an occassional rest. We all knew we would be short in the backcourt before the season began, so this strikes me as a pretty effective use of the talent we have. All college teams are flawed - the objective is to minimize the flaws, maximize the strengths, and win ball games. At 19-4 I think we have done a pretty good job of that. I think the one game we saw the freshmen "allowed to play through their mistakes" was the Georgetown game and the result was not very pretty. You apparently don't agree with any of this, but that's what makes this board interesting, isn't it?

if you watched Kyle this year, and as soon as he went 0 for lets say 6, he was pulled, or 1 for 6, and that's all you got to see, you'd be saying the same thing about him. Ditto for Jon last year. Your response?

jgehtland
02-09-2010, 02:15 PM
if you watched Kyle this year, and as soon as he went 0 for lets say 6, he was pulled, or 1 for 6, and that's all you got to see, you'd be saying the same thing about him. Ditto for Jon last year. Your response?

I'd say that when Kyle and John shoot, they shoot with confidence and authority and those shots are *good shots* whether or not they go in.

And our bigs do some great things sometimes, but, seriously, how many times have you seen Z or Mason or Miles get stuffed at the rim? 1 out of 4 shots they put up? How many times do they get tied up under the basket? Another 1 out of 4?

Let me reverse the question: do you remember Carlos Boozer, Shelden Williams, Cherokee Parks, and Elton Brand? Do you remember what they have in common? Freshmen big men who played big minutes right away because they knew what they were doing.

Remember Taymon Domzalski? Shavlik Randolph? Erik Meek? Nick Horvath? CHRISTIAN LAETTNER? What did they have in common? Freshmen big men who didn't get to play as much because they weren't ready yet. Well, some of that first group became all stars, and some didn't. Ditto for the latter group. Mind you, Christian didn't play a whole bunch until the end of his freshman year (much like Elliot Williams last year). He turned out ok.

You keep making these blanket statements, and I have to say, bitter blanket statements that imply some malicious intent on the part of the coaches. It just doesn't make any sense to me. I understand you are frustrated, but I just don't get the obvious disdain you have for the coaches of the team you root for.

arnie
02-09-2010, 02:28 PM
I have to agree with the last post. It's up to the bigs to prove that they can do something when one of the big three throws them the ball. Up until now, they haven't shown it on a consistent basis. They need to prove to the big three that they deserve more touches by helping out more. That would include more passes to cutters by Zoubek, (which he's gotten better at), more willingness to take the open jumper when it's there by Lance, and more
help away from the basket setting screens and picks and running the pick and roll by the Plumlees. If they would do that, instead of just waving their arms for the ball under the basket, I think the big three would involve them all more. However, at this stage, expecting any of them to show a significant back to the basket post up game is not a good bet.

By the way, I think that Graybeard post may set the record for longest DBR post in history.

Greybeard has a lot more time on this hands than most of us and I also agree with a lot of what he says. I think the proof either way will come next year with the maturation of both Plumlees. If neither is a focus on offense and neither is scoring at least 10-12 points a game; I think its valid to point a finger at their coaches. We should have penetrating point guard(s) that other teams have to rspect. The opportunity for expanded big man scoring should be there.

airowe
02-09-2010, 02:50 PM
Dukeface88, a reasonable defense of the status quo, which since Sheldon left has left Duke,

I couldn't get past Sheldon.

ChicagoCrazy84
02-09-2010, 03:08 PM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/seth_davis/02/08/georgetown/


Just a blurb from SI on Duke that I came across. Though short, I agree with him. We can't go all season relying on Smith, Scheyer, and Singler. It will get us nothing excpet maybe an ACC regular season win. If we lose a few games giving Dawkins and Plumlee 20+ minutes with 8+ shots, I would be all for it. I could care less about a regular season championship. Having those guys contribute consistently doesn't guarantee anything, I understand that, but it gives us a better chance to match up with certain teams once you get to the 2nd round and beyond. Plus, it gets them better prepared for next season!

greybeard
02-09-2010, 03:15 PM
I'd say that when Kyle and John shoot, they shoot with confidence and authority and those shots are *good shots* whether or not they go in.

And our bigs do some great things sometimes, but, seriously, how many times have you seen Z or Mason or Miles get stuffed at the rim? 1 out of 4 shots they put up? How many times do they get tied up under the basket? Another 1 out of 4?

Let me reverse the question: do you remember Carlos Boozer, Shelden Williams, Cherokee Parks, and Elton Brand? Do you remember what they have in common? Freshmen big men who played big minutes right away because they knew what they were doing.

Remember Taymon Domzalski? Shavlik Randolph? Erik Meek? Nick Horvath? CHRISTIAN LAETTNER? What did they have in common? Freshmen big men who didn't get to play as much because they weren't ready yet. Well, some of that first group became all stars, and some didn't. Ditto for the latter group. Mind you, Christian didn't play a whole bunch until the end of his freshman year (much like Elliot Williams last year). He turned out ok.

You keep making these blanket statements, and I have to say, bitter blanket statements that imply some malicious intent on the part of the coaches. It just doesn't make any sense to me. I understand you are frustrated, but I just don't get the obvious disdain you have for the coaches of the team you root for.

I am not making blanket or bitter statements. The guys you mention as succeeding their freshman year all went on to pro careers, stellar ones at that. There is a huge gap between stellar pro careers and full partnership on offense for more than competent players like the Plumlees, Lance, and Zoubs.

I am not bashing anyone; I only believe that the assistant coaches at Duke are failing some people. You think otherwise, and chose to say that all four of Duke's bigs belong with some players whom you regard as failed recruits that is your business. I have watched them and disagree. I should remind you that Miles was recruited by a terrific Standford program that at least in recent years had had much more success recruiting and developing big men than Duke. And, before you go dumping him on the heap of failed recruits, you might want to recall that he does have yet another brother.

I happen to believe that Duke would be much better playing five on five on offense than three on five, and, make no mistake, that is what it is doing.

Play in the pivot is all about catching it in good position. What is good or not varies with players, with how they come down after a catch, who is where, what angle they have, etc. You get one or two touches and you take what you get. You don't get to chose. You go off less than ideal catches because that's all you get and it will impact outcomes. The catch is the thing! If Maryland was able to make O'Neal, a 6'7" non jumping slow guy into a reasonably potent center who had free reign to take it to the basket when he wanted and was integral to their offense's distribution of the ball, Duke can find a way to integrate the players it has in its offense, at least in my view. That it has not is to me a disappointment. I have to believe that it is to K too.

BTW, I have been snowed in since last Friday.

DevilHorns
02-09-2010, 03:16 PM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/seth_davis/02/08/georgetown/


Just a blurb from SI on Duke that I came across. Though short, I agree with him. We can't go all season relying on Smith, Scheyer, and Singler. It will get us nothing excpet maybe an ACC regular season win. If we lose a few games giving Dawkins and Plumlee 20+ minutes with 8+ shots, I would be all for it. I could care less about a regular season championship. Having those guys contribute consistently doesn't guarantee anything, I understand that, but it gives us a better chance to match up with certain teams once you get to the 2nd round and beyond. Plus, it gets them better prepared for next season!

Thats true, but with a worse seed (that undoubtedly would occur if we didn't win the ACC and piled on 2-3+ losses on top of that) would also make it more difficult for us to "get to the 2nd round and beyond." Its a mixed bag. I think Mason is getting plenty of minutes and opportunity to shine. He just hasn't done it yet. Dawkins on the other hand is often lost on defense and its hard to argue that he should be forced more minutes if it means less from the prolific perimeter trio. Then again, if we are up big, I want Dawkins to come in so that in case 1 of the big 3 is playing a terrible game in the NCAA tourney, Dawkins could have more confidence in stepping up with quality minutes.

jv001
02-09-2010, 03:25 PM
Couple of things regarding our post play or lack of it. For one as Jumbo stated in Phase IV our perimeter players could get the ball to our inside guys better. But our inside guys could give the perimeter guys a better passing lane by sealing their man better. They could also catch, go up strong and finish the play when they do get the ball. If the negatives stems from lack of coaching or from lack of ability of our players I don't know. Maybe a combination of the two. I have to agree we need some production on offense from our interior guys. This would take a lot of pressure off our outside shooting which has been less than stellar lately. Go Duke!

jgehtland
02-09-2010, 03:41 PM
I am not making blanket or bitter statements. The guys you mention as succeeding their freshman year all went on to pro careers, stellar ones at that. There is a huge gap between stellar pro careers and full partnership on offense for more than competent players like the Plumlees, Lance, and Zoubs.

I am not bashing anyone; I only believe that the assistant coaches at Duke are failing some people. You think otherwise, and chose to say that all four of Duke's bigs belong with some players whom you regard as failed recruits that is your business. I have watched them and disagree. I should remind you that Miles was recruited by a terrific Standford program that at least in recent years had had much more success recruiting and developing big men than Duke. And, before you go dumping him on the heap of failed recruits, you might want to recall that he does have yet another brother.

I happen to believe that Duke would be much better playing five on five on offense than three on five, and, make no mistake, that is what it is doing.


Whoa, hoss. I never said that Mason, Miles, Lance, Z, or anybody else in any post was a "failed recruit". Not even close. I said that a lot of big guys who came through Duke weren't all stars their freshman year. I explicitly said that they went on to have good careers at Duke. I don't know how you miscontstrued what I was saying. My point is that you simply can't judge what Mason is going to do over the course of his career by half of an injury-shortened freshman season. I hope that Miles shows more of what he showed at the beginning of the year by the end of the year. But in no case do I consider ANY of them "failed". Unless your definition of "failed" is "not in the top 5 at their position". Which is just expecting too much.

I also think Duke would be immensely better if the bigs could post, catch, and hit the layup. Where you and I disagree is whether we think Coach K is specifically, consciously, and inexplicably choosing to prevent that from happening. Because as far as I know, Duke won its only three championships with a big guy who could get buckets in the paint (Laettner, Laettner and Boozer) and came close with Brand. And if you think he doesn't know that, you are underestimating him greatly. And your continued scorn for Wojo and Collins ("I saw NOTHING of value in their play" and your belief that they are somehow tanking recruits without K's knowledge) is just bizarre.

So, let's summarize, because I think we have reached impasse:

* we need our bigs to develop to reach our potential (agreed)
* I think Z and Lance do a really good job maximizing their skills and playing to their potential (you disagree and think the coaches are holding them back)
* I think the Plumlees have more learning to do and are NOT playing to their potential, probably through a combination of injuries, confidence, and coaching (you think the coaches are holding them back)

I honestly think our positions aren't that far apart; I just really don't believe that our coaching staff is consciously doing things that give us a worse chance of winning. I think they are working as hard as they can to win. You disagree, and that is where I think there is not much further arguing to be done. C'est la vie.

Good luck with the snow, btw. I guess you are in the DC area? I'm glad NC melted out last week; I'm already tired of winter. ;-)

tbyers11
02-09-2010, 04:24 PM
I happen to believe that Duke would be much better playing five on five on offense than three on five, and, make no mistake, that is what it is doing.

Play in the pivot is all about catching it in good position. What is good or not varies with players, with how they come down after a catch, who is where, what angle they have, etc. You get one or two touches and you take what you get. You don't get to chose. You go off less than ideal catches because that's all you get and it will impact outcomes. The catch is the thing! If Maryland was able to make O'Neal, a 6'7" non jumping slow guy into a reasonably potent center who had free reign to take it to the basket when he wanted and was integral to their offense's distribution of the ball, Duke can find a way to integrate the players it has in its offense, at least in my view. That it has not is to me a disappointment. I have to believe that it is to K too.

BTW, I have been snowed in since last Friday.

Did you actually watch Dave Neal (not O'Neal) play for Maryland? He is not a viable comparison for Miles or Zoubek at all. He rarely caught the ball with his back to the basket in a position where he had to use a post move to score. He faced the basket a lot and put the ball on the floor to beat bigger guys who were guarding him. Neal also shot lots of 3's. 132 of his 396 career points came via the 3. Neal also did not become an integral part of the offense until his senior year. He only scored 99 points combined in his first 3 seasons. Neal's senior year skill sets do resemble those of Mason. However, in the limited role that the coaches are allowing him to have, Mason has already scored 79 pts this year or alomst as many as Neal had in his first 3 years combined. Were Gary Williams and the coaching staff holding Neal back his first three years? Mason will be much better than senior Dave Neal with just a little more time. I don't think you can extrapolate 1/2 of an injury-influenced freshman year from Mason to his future career

I do agree with you that the post players do need to get more entry passes from the perimeter and we need to be more of a true five-man offense. The solution is a bit of a double-edged sword in my opinion. The bigs haven't finished many of the limited opportunities that they have had and frequently don't get good post position either, therefore the passers don't have confidence in them. However, they need more opportunities to develop the necessary skills but can't get them if no one passes to them.

Where I disagree is that the coaching staff or the perimeter players have failed them in a deliberate way. Coach K made it public after the Georgetown game that he was adjusting the motion offense so that players other than Kyle, Jon and Nolan could catch the ball in good position to make a shot or pass and not just be screeners. I thought this was noticeable in the GT and BC games compared to Georgetown.


if you watched Kyle this year, and as soon as he went 0 for lets say 6, he was pulled, or 1 for 6, and that's all you got to see, you'd be saying the same thing about him. Ditto for Jon last year. Your response?

As for this comment, the big difference between Jon and/or Kyle not being pulled after a cold shooting start is two-fold. The first is a bit of a gray area in that they have proven that they can score lots of points where the Plumlees haven't. I understand that the Plumlees haven't been given as many chances, but they have not done very well with the chances that they have gotten.

The second is much more cut-and-dry in my opinion. Kyle and Jon bring A LOT more to the defensive end of the table than Miles or, particularly Mason, do at this point. In fact, I would wager that there have been very few instances where either of the Plumlees have gotten a "quick" hook due to their offensive play. Their quick substitutions have been almost always due to poor defensive play or excessive fouling.

Steve68
02-09-2010, 04:36 PM
if you watched Kyle this year, and as soon as he went 0 for lets say 6, he was pulled, or 1 for 6, and that's all you got to see, you'd be saying the same thing about him. Ditto for Jon last year. Your response?

I'm not sure what you are driving at with this response, but I'll answer anyway. Shooting is not all that either Kyle or Jon brings to the game. They both defend well and neither tends to make silly mistakes on either offense or defense. We are a better team with them on the floor than with them on the bench. Miles, Lance, and Zoubs are defensive players first - any offense out of them is a bonus. Andre and Kelly are offensive players first - both need to work on their defense to be consistent contributors. Mason hasn't really shown much on either side yet. Yes he has had some nice dunks, and yes he has had a block or two, but mostly he looks lost out there. He seems to be mentally still playing at a high school level where he was able to drive the ball through traffic, make spectacular inside passes, and/or overpower his opponent. That doesn't work at this level, at least not yet. I believe he will develop (hopefully quickly), but he just hasn't shown it yet. So overall, I stand by my original post - play the Big 3 as much as possible and surround them with complementary players who help get the job done. I believe that is exactly what K is doing and I really don't see a problem with it. If one of the other players steps up to become a consistent fourth option on offense and a steady player on defense, so much the better. Maybe someone will be this year's Williams, but we've already seen more of these guys this year than we had of Williams by this time last year and I just don't see it happening. Actually, Williams wasn't even scheduled to start against Boston College last year, but McClure got sick and Williams was a last minute change. Anything can happen.

6th Man
02-09-2010, 04:41 PM
I can't for the life of me figure how the Plumlee brothers played so great against Wake and have not been able to come close to that type of game since then. The only way we advance in March is if one of them can start playing the way they did in that game. We know it is in them.

For me it is much more about balance than depth. There is not quite enough down low currently to make us a balanced team.

77devil
02-09-2010, 05:25 PM
As with almost all freshman, his skills need to be developed.

This is a meaningless statement. Sure freshman need development. The question is how much? Mason's skills, injury notwithstanding, are significantly less developed at this stage than Ferry, Laettner, Brand, Boozer and Shelden, and perhaps less than Parks.


IMO, he has substantial ability and will realize his potential.

It is not at all clear to me yet what that potential is. Mason has not evidenced any back to basket post game thus far; he frequently loses his man on defense, and makes too many bad passes and silly fouls.

greybeard
02-09-2010, 05:34 PM
1. Scoring for a big is a function of touches. Yoiu get enough of them, you "go" when you feel it. You don't get enough of them, you go whether you feel it or not.

2. Mason is used to people playiong through him in the post, to playing a PIVOTAL role in the offense. The PIVOT POSITION is and has never been part of Duke's offense, except maybe when Ferry was here and then again very briefly during the McRob era. Laetner was a slightly different type center, more akin to what you see in the Princeton and he was a pivot point for the offense, a point through which attacks on the basket were initated. Boozer and Brand and Shelly (ok?) were essentially scorers who were expected to go if they got it or simply throw it out. There was no play-making to their games; still isn't.

3. It is beyond ridiculous to suggest that Mason does not know how to seal his man, or beat him, or distribute creatively. I believe that he is frustrated because the Big Three run things and he is expected to be a bit player. I believe that he rebels and says to himself, screw them and screw the coaches. This is not good.

4. The notion that the coaches and Big Three want the ball to go inside but the Bigs just can't seem to present so they can receive the ball is, to put it mildly, wild. The reality is that the coaches and Big Three do not trust the Bigs with the ball and therefore di niot feature them. The Bigs know this and at least on the surface have accepted this, at least Z and L have. The Plumlees, and that would be both of them, not so much. I see rebelion in their play. Miles' decision to shoot it when he got it no matter where he was, and he was way away from the basket from an odd spot that would not be one of the spots that players routinely practice from got him both yanked and benched. Mason looks real happy when someone like Smith comes over to talk to him after he tries to drive and gets stripped. These guys are thoroughbreds and are being underutilized and don't like it.

5. In my opinion, they are right not to like it. In my opinion, both Chris and WoJo see the game as being lead by the littles with the Bigs to serve only insofar as they earn it. Sounds like the difference between Chris's PaPa and the Zen Master.

6. At any rate, that is the way I think that Chris and WoJo honestly see the game and that that shapes in large part how this team presents. You will recall that Duke lost a tremendous asset before last season and the experiment as to whether Chris and WoJo are up to the task of filling that void is being played out. I have my views regarding what the answer is, you all have yours.

7. A big can see a passing lane that would be available if the little saw it to and both deployed in a way to create advantage for the big. That would mean that the little dribbles to the delivery point, or even dare I say passes it there, and the big fakes one way and goes to the place where he can catch with advantage and finish without having to seal no one. You see it every day by a gazillion different teams but not here, except maybe when Z is the passer and sees someone like Singler and delivers for an easy 2.

K is in a position where he has to rely on his assistants for a lot of things. They are who they are and wishing that they were something different will not make it so. Maybe the other things that they do for the program, like recruiting, makes up for what I believe are their shortcomings, or maybe I am all wet.

I believe that I have exhausted this point, and shall refrain from raising it again. I enjoy watching Duke play and am a real fan. Have been for quite a while.

devildownunder
02-09-2010, 05:54 PM
I've been starting responses all day and then deleting them because I figured "why bother"? But now somebody has said the most central thing, and I feel the need to respond.

Quote: "Our current strategy wins us a lot of games, we need a strategy geared towards the NCAA tourney ... "

Let me start with a few un- or lightly-disputed facts.

1) Coach K is the winningest tournament coach in the modern era (#1 in victories, top 5 in percentage)

2) Coach K has changed very little since he got here (we've always had rotations like this)

3) Winning in the tournament is based on three things:
a) getting as high a seed as you can get
b) being prepared for the format of the tourney (quick turnarounds against teams you haven't seen before, lots of hoopla to deal with outside the game)
c) getting lucky

So, based on these things, K's strategy has proven pretty successful. Its just that he hasn't been that successful *lately*, as compared to *his own, statistics-be-damned/well-above-the-expected success* from '88-'01.

Individual fans, or, heck, the entire collected fan base, may not like the way Coach K coaches the team, but he's been doing it for 30 years and it has, most emphatically, led to success in the tournament. Maybe it isn't the most exciting or fan-friendly or even player-friendly system, but it DOES succeed. Just not so much this decade outside of '01 and '04.

So, please, complain all you want about how Coach does his job. But please don't mistake recent outcomes for overall success. Basketball is just like everything else in life: build up the hand that has the most chance of success and then go all in with it. In 30 years, that has averaged out to excellent success. Just because Duke has reverted to the mean lately doesn't mean the system is broken.


Well no, it's not broken. You're right about that. And the general thrust of your post is on point. The problem is that all systems have their positives and negatives. In the years in which Duke has had big success, we've seen the upside of the "build up the hand that has the most chance of success and then go all in with it" approach. In recent years, the hand we've had hasn't had quite as many trumps in it, so we've seen the down side of that approach.

But we can all agree that K is unlikely to change his approach at this point, so we're all wasting our time fussing about it I guess.

CDu
02-09-2010, 07:43 PM
As with almost all freshman, his skills need to be developed. IMO, he has substantial ability and will realize his potential.

Yes, but what does this have to do with the statement that he's shown little to no ability score from the post to this point? Obviously he's not a finished product. Obviously, it is very likely that the kid gets substantially better during his time at Duke. And with his leaping ability and height, "substantially better" could be saying something special. But I think the point was that right now the Plumlees haven't shown much of any offensive game except capitalizing on broken plays or finishing plays set up by one of our big three.

Is it completely understandable that he doesn't have a post game right now? Sure. But that doesn't change the situation for this year's team any.

jgehtland
02-09-2010, 10:08 PM
I honestly don't know what to make of it, I only want to throw it out there as it seems pertinent.

I've been watching the Michigan State/Purdue game tonight. Admittedly, I've only watched the second half. In that half, though, neither team has run a single play through a back-to-the-basket big. Not one. Seriously.

Their bigs have set screens, reset screens, rebounded, etc. A few times they've caught the pass wide open for a dunk off of a dribble drive by a guard. But not once has either team thrown the ball to somebody established on the block.

I've seen Roe for MSU and Thomson (?) for Purdue attempt to establish position, only to not get the ball.

So, it would seem that the offensive imbalance we suffer from is not isolated to just us, but two other top 10 teams at least.

Again, don't know what it means overall, but it is very interesting.

DevilHorns
02-09-2010, 10:17 PM
I honestly don't know what to make of it, I only want to throw it out there as it seems pertinent.

I've been watching the Michigan State/Purdue game tonight. Admittedly, I've only watched the second half. In that half, though, neither team has run a single play through a back-to-the-basket big. Not one. Seriously.

Their bigs have set screens, reset screens, rebounded, etc. A few times they've caught the pass wide open for a dunk off of a dribble drive by a guard. But not once has either team thrown the ball to somebody established on the block.

I've seen Roe for MSU and Thomson (?) for Purdue attempt to establish position, only to not get the ball.

So, it would seem that the offensive imbalance we suffer from is not isolated to just us, but two other top 10 teams at least.

Again, don't know what it means overall, but it is very interesting.

I am watching the MSU-Purdue game as well. Purdue is definitely a similar type of team as us; they have their own big three and don't feed the post (at least in this game?). MSU does feed the post more, but they are down now and are playing a much faster offense and tossing up some 3s.

I found it interesting though when Steve Lavin says during this game that Duke will probably be a sweet 16 team since we don't have the bigs, and yet Purdue is a true final 4 threat. I think Duke's image over the past 4 years is clouding judgment. If our 3 get hot, our defense stays solid, and our bigs eat up scraps, we can beat anyone. I mean anyone. This year is wide open.

greybeard
02-09-2010, 11:48 PM
But we can all agree that K is unlikely to change his approach at this point, so we're all wasting our time fussing about it I guess.

In Kyle's freshman year, K, fresh off an Olympic experience, incorporated lots from the Phoenix offense and completely reorganized his method of attack. It took EVERYONE by surprise and Duke was rolling until a stretch of very rough games when Singler got terribly beat up and never recovered sufficient to carry the inside rebounding Duke needed.

What was the revolution. It was to attack from the wings to the foul lane off of a controlled dribble at which point the wing would decide (a) whether to pull up for a jump shot; (b) kick it to Paulus or the other wing for a 3; or (c) duck his inside shoulder and take it to the rim. Nelson, Scheyer and G were the main attackers but Kyle sometimes played that role as well.

So, saying that K never changes his offensive concepts just is not true.

Whether his assistants can imagine an offense that makes use of the bigs that Duke has, and get the team on board as making touches and points in the paint a priority has never been proven. Without that, what's a head coach to do?

Jeffrey
02-10-2010, 10:38 AM
Yes, but what does this have to do with the statement that he's shown little to no ability score from the post to this point?

.... I think the point was that right now the Plumlees haven't shown much of any offensive game except capitalizing on broken plays or finishing plays set up by one of our big three.

Yes, this is what we're discussing and what I disagree about. IMO, Mason has shown offensive ability. I find his defensive ability to be much more suspect.

IMO, Mason has shown offensive assertiveness and aggression. Did Newton, McRoberts, and Randolph display Mason's level of offensive assertiveness and aggression?

IMO, most of Mason's offensive opportunities have come from "capitalizing on broken plays or finishing plays set up by one of our big three".

CDu
02-10-2010, 10:51 AM
Yes, this is what we're discussing and what I disagree about. IMO, Mason has shown offensive ability. I find his defensive ability to be much more suspect.

I agree that his defense is suspect, and that's not uncommon for a freshman big man learning Coach K's system. But I think his offense is also suspect right now. I think there's plenty of potential. But he doesn't really have any post moves at all, and isn't very comfortable off the dribble unless the defense lapses and he can go all the way to the rim. Basically, if he can get an uncontested dunk/layup, he's great. Otherwise, when he's faced resistance defensively, he's looked really uncomfortable to this point.


IMO, Mason has shown offensive assertiveness and aggression. Did Newton, McRoberts, and Randolph display Mason's level of offensive assertiveness and aggression?

McRoberts showed as much or more offensive aggression/assertiveness than Mason has. Newton I don't remember very well. Randolph showed more skill and fluidity very early on, but he regressed over time. Beyond that, I'm not sure how these comparisons matter. Aggressiveness/assertion do not necessarily equate to ability/skill/performance.


IMO, most of Mason's offensive opportunities have come from "capitalizing on broken plays or finishing plays set up by one of our big three".

I disagree that most of his opportunities have come on these plays. I agree that he's gotten a lot of those types of opportunities. But he's also been given the ball on the block numerous times, and he's looked very awkward when attempting post moves.

As I said above, he looks very comfortable when the defense breaks down and he can go right to the rim. But he hasn't really shown the ability (yet) to create and score when the defense is there. I think that will come for him, and when it does he'll be a force. But up to now, we haven't really seen it from him in my opinion. Which, along with his defensive struggles, are the reason that we're seeing him struggle offensively (5-15 from the field in his last six games).

77devil
02-10-2010, 11:05 AM
IMO, Mason has shown offensive assertiveness and aggression. Did Newton, McRoberts, and Randolph display Mason's level of offensive assertiveness and aggression?

My goodness is your standard really Greg Newton? But since you brought it up, McBob was far more effective offensively as a freshman although his post up game needed looks of work. Shav's overall game at this stage was more developed than Mason's as was his performance until it tailed off at the end with injuries. Let's hope Mason's trajectory is in the other direction.

Jeffrey
02-10-2010, 11:14 AM
McRoberts showed as much or more offensive aggression/assertiveness than Mason has.

IMO, McRoberts was hesitant to be our offensive go-to-guy when we needed him to be the man.


Newton I don't remember very well.

Wish I could say that.


Aggressiveness/assertion do not necessarily equate to ability/skill/performance.

I think they're a quality Mason possesses which was lacked by some of our previous bigs.

CDu
02-10-2010, 11:15 AM
My goodness is your standard really Greg Newton? But since you brought it up, McBob was far more effective offensively as a freshman although his post up game needed looks of work. Shav's overall game at this stage was more developed than Mason's as was his performance until it tailed off at the end with injuries. Let's hope Mason's trajectory is in the other direction.

Agreed. McRoberts and Randolph were more advanced offensively than Mason right now. Of course, Randolph never really could get it together in college, and McRoberts didn't really progress.

I think Plumlee could develop into big things, as he's stronger and a better leaper than Randolph and McRoberts. But they had more polished/effective offensive games as freshmen than Plumlee.

CDu
02-10-2010, 11:20 AM
IMO, McRoberts was hesitant to be our offensive go-to-guy when we needed him to be the man.

Sure he was. But he was also still a more polished and more effective offense player than Mason is right now. I don't doubt that if and when Mason develops his offensive game, he'll be a better scorer than McRoberts. But he hasn't shown that ability yet.


I think they're a quality Mason possesses which was lacked by some of our previous bigs.

There is absolutely a quality in Mason that some of our previous bigs lacked. But that's not what we've been discussing. We've been discussing the ability to score in the post. To this point, Mason hasn't shown that ability. Randolph and McRoberts were more passive, but they possessed far better ability to score in the post than Mason has to this point.

If your only point is that Mason is aggressive and athletic and will eventually become a great scorer for us, then I completely agree. I think when Mason learns some post moves and improves his shooting touch, he'll be a much better offensive player than those guys. But that potential has not yet shown itself in any way to this point. He's still very raw offensively right now, and thus still pretty ineffective offensively. That is all that I've been arguing.

Jeffrey
02-10-2010, 11:24 AM
IMO, most of Mason's offensive opportunities have come from "capitalizing on broken plays or finishing plays set up by one of our big three".


Which, along with his defensive struggles, are the reason that we're seeing him struggle offensively (5-15 from the field in his last six games).

IMO, the fact Mason has averaged only 2.5 attempts per game for the last six games supports my belief.

roywhite
02-10-2010, 11:25 AM
Agreed. McRoberts and Randolph were more advanced offensively than Mason right now. Of course, Randolph never really could get it together in college, and McRoberts didn't really progress.

I think Plumlee could develop into big things, as he's stronger and a better leaper than Randolph and McRoberts. But they had more polished/effective offensive games as freshmen than Plumlee.

Not to be too elementary here, but Mason needs to work on his shooting. He gets points on dunks, which is fine, but he needs to be able to shoot a mid-range jump shot, anywhere from 5 feet to 15 feet out and to hit his free throws at a better rate.

Should develop through practice and experience.

Jeffrey
02-10-2010, 11:29 AM
McRoberts and Randolph were more advanced offensively than Mason right now.

I'd hope so. Where were both of them ranked in their high school class?


Of course, Randolph never really could get it together in college, and McRoberts didn't really progress.

In your opinion, why?

Jeffrey
02-10-2010, 11:39 AM
We've been discussing the ability to score in the post. To this point, Mason hasn't shown that ability.


If your only point is that Mason is aggressive and athletic and will eventually become a great scorer for us, then I completely agree.

Yes, that's what I'm saying.

However, how do you conclude that Mason "will eventually become a great scorer for us" when you feel "Mason hasn't shown that ability"?

greybeard
02-10-2010, 11:58 AM
CDu, before you go making judgments about the few, not numerous, opportunities that Mason gets, check your assessments of Elliot. They weren't so accurate.

BTW, when Mason gets a touch he goes and that is because he doesn't get very many of those. Same with Miles. These guys are used to playing basketball. Having a Big Three sounds like the Wizzards.

You do not hear Kobe, and did not hear MJ after Chris's dad eer left, talking about the Big anything. Last year it was "the Journey;" for MJ is was "the strength of the pack is the wolf and the strength of the wolf is the pack."

Amazing how much Bynam improved once Phil let Kobe know that they were prepared to move him, that would beKobe, and Kobe got religion and brought into the Triangle and the concept that everyone gets to handle and score the ball. Phil never plays the game, the offensive game, without involving all five players in creating, initiating and finishing. NEVER. He had cast-off centers scoring regularly; how come? Because they were integral to the offense.

Diaw was labeled a bum in Atlanta. Did pretty good in Phoenix now didn't he? How come? He played the pivot in their half court sets and was incredible. And scored just about whenever he chose to go. So would the Plumlees if Duke stopped talking about its Big Three.

It is ridiculous to presume that Miles and Mason right now are not equiped to score the ball effectively inside if the offense was geared to creating such opportunities. Ridiculous.

cato
02-10-2010, 12:07 PM
MJ after Chris's dad eer left

Chris's dad eer?


It is ridiculous to presume . . . . Ridiculous.

You, sir, are a master of irony.

redick4pres
02-10-2010, 12:19 PM
Why is it that the week of the Carolina game (never fails), especially when we're favored to win, everyone starts to panic on here?!?! Guys (and gals), relax! Everyone is soooo keyed up and stoked about a chance to blow UNC out of the water tonight that they're worried we might somehow slip up and lose tonight...thus, all the excuses about playing time, practice time, coaching problems, etc...In no way, shape, or form should we be talking about this at this point and time in the season except for the fact that we want a readily excuse in case we happen to take it on the chin tonight. If this is a major concern to you, then join in on the HUNDREDS of posts about this during every offseason! Don't bring the negativity to the board this week, or this day...I'm trying to prepare my mind for rooting against our hated rival. You guys should be doing the same! GTHC!!!

CDu
02-10-2010, 12:36 PM
Yes, that's what I'm saying.

However, how do you conclude that Mason "will eventually become a great scorer for us" when you feel "Mason hasn't shown that ability"?

I say "I think he will eventually..." because I think he'll develop that ability in the post.

I believe he has the potential to become a great scorer for us, IF he develops his post moves and offensive game.

91_92_01_10_15
02-10-2010, 12:42 PM
It is ridiculous to presume that Miles and Mason right now are not equiped to score the ball effectively inside if the offense was geared to creating such opportunities. Ridiculous.

Just as it would be ridiculous to presume that they are equipped to score effectively at this time.

Jeffrey
02-10-2010, 12:43 PM
I say "I think he will eventually..." because I think he'll develop that ability in the post.

Why do you "think he'll develop that ability in the post"? Is your opinion based upon something you've seen Mason display? If not, what is it based upon?

jgehtland
02-10-2010, 12:47 PM
"ridiculous". I do not think it means what you think it means.

There are, literally, thousands of players in Division I basketball who do not score in bunches. Who are used as part of an offensive plan. Who are not featured in the offense, but still critical to it. Is Delvon Roe being misused by MSU? He never got a touch in the "pivot" yesterday, but MSU has been pretty successful. What about Aminu at Wake Forest? Most of his touches are off the bounce or off rebounds and cuts. They seem to do well.

What you mean is that you cannot understand an offense that maximizes its most skilled scorers and allows the other players on the floor to score from broken plays, rebounds, put backs, etc. You also cannot believe that post players may take time to become efficient enough at what they do to "graduate" into the "Big N", whatever N may be.

But it is NOT "ridiculous" to believe that they might not be able to contribute at that level yet. It is certainly *plausible* to believe either thing. Your continued insistence that there is only one possible truth, that the Plumlees are superstar offensive talents at the college level being held back by two bonehead assistant coaches, may be the truth, but it anything but obvious that it IS the truth.

CDu
02-10-2010, 12:49 PM
CDu, before you go making judgments about the few, not numerous, opportunities that Mason gets, check your assessments of Elliot. They weren't so accurate.

I don't remember what exactly I said about Eliot Williams. It's possible that I was wrong, and it's also possible that you have a mistaken impression of my judgments. In either case, I'm not really sure how that's relevant here. Plumlee and Williams are different people.


You do not hear Kobe, and did not hear MJ after Chris's dad eer left, talking about the Big anything. Last year it was "the Journey;" for MJ is was "the strength of the pack is the wolf and the strength of the wolf is the pack."

I find it ironic that you suggest that MJ quote as evidence that he was big on the idea of keeping others involved offensively. No player demanded the ball more than him, no player was more selfish, and no player made a point of showing his teammates that they were inferior offensively than him. The guy dominated the possessions like no other. He had to literally be convinced to share the ball.


It is ridiculous to presume that Miles and Mason right now are not equiped to score the ball effectively inside if the offense was geared to creating such opportunities. Ridiculous.

I'm pretty sure you've misrepresented my point (it's also possible that I misstated my point in one of the many posts on this topic). I didn't say (or at least I didn't mean) they absolutely don't have the ability. I said they haven't yet shown the ability to this point. I think they certainly have the potential to do so, when they develop their post games more. But there's absolutely nothing ridiculous about my ascertain that the Plumlees haven't really shown the ability to score in the post.

CDu
02-10-2010, 12:52 PM
Why do you "think he'll develop that ability in the post"? Is your opinion based upon something you've seen Mason display? If not, what is it based upon?

It's based on his combination of size, strength, leaping ability, and my hope. I think he'll eventually develop into a very good scorer for us. But that doesn't change the fact that to this point he hasn't shown the ability to score in the post.

CDu
02-10-2010, 12:57 PM
I'd hope so. Where were both of them ranked in their high school class?

Randolph was a top-20 recruit (like Plumlee). McRoberts was top-5. Again, I'm not sure why this matters in the least when discussing whether or not Plumlee has shown the ability to score in the post.


In your opinion, why?

Who knows? I can only guess. I'll do so, with the obvious caveat that it's a guess.

In Shav's case I think it was partly due to injuries and partly due to having to play against smaller quicker players too often and losing confidence. And he was probably a bit overrated coming out of high school.

In McRoberts's case I think it's because he saw himself as a "point forward" rather than a back-to-the-basket scorer. And because he'd never really been asked to carry the load offensively. And because he only stayed two years. In McRoberts's defense, he did average 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks as a sophomore. Those are really good numbers. I think he's been largely undervalued here.

Jeffrey
02-10-2010, 01:21 PM
Randolph was a top-20 recruit (like Plumlee). McRoberts was top-5. Again, I'm not sure why this matters in the least when discussing whether or not Plumlee has shown the ability to score in the post.

I thought both of them were ranked #1 in their high school class. If so, then one should expect:


McRoberts and Randolph were more advanced offensively than Mason right now.



In Shav's case I think it was partly due to injuries and partly due to having to play against smaller quicker players too often and losing confidence.

In McRoberts's case I think it's because he saw himself as a "point forward" rather than a back-to-the-basket scorer. And because he'd never really been asked to carry the load offensively.

Agreed. IMO, both would have benefited from more offensive assertiveness and aggression.

IMO, Mason has shown offensive assertiveness and aggression

Jeffrey
02-10-2010, 01:28 PM
It's based on his combination of size, strength, leaping ability, and my hope.

Have you seen anything in Mason, other than "strength, leaping ability", that has caused you to conclude he is "athletic"?

OldSchool
02-10-2010, 01:42 PM
If I could chime in here - I think Mason is unusually well-coordinated for someone of his size, so I consider him athletic beyond merely leaping ability and strength.

He is capable of putting the ball on the floor and driving effectively. With more practice he will be much smoother at this. I saw him drive the "athletic" Derrick Favors off the dribble to the basket and draw a foul. He is the best of our bigs at taking his man off the dribble with the exception of Kyle.

He made a great low-post spin move against his defender a few games ago that had me jump out of my seat - I forget which game it was - but IMO there is no other big on our team capable of such a move with the exception of Kyle.

He can hit the 3-point shot. And he must be hitting it regularly in practice, because clearly K has given him the green light to shoot if he is open and feels in rhythm.

And that behind-the-back blind dunk he did is NOT easy to do - that requires a lot of coordination and spatial awareness.

He is not a bad passer in that he is capable of putting the ball just where he wants to, but his problem in that has been poor judgment trying to force the ball into a too difficult space and he needs to develop his court vision and awareness more.

We have only seen flashes of what Mason is capable of here and there, and it doesn't seem like he is going to put it all together this year. But I completely agree with Bilas that Mason is the most talented (raw, undeveloped talent) basketball player we have. Yes, Mason is athletic.

Dukeface88
02-10-2010, 01:51 PM
Why do Wojo and Collins get blamed for Shav and McBob, but don't credit for Shelden?

CDu
02-10-2010, 01:56 PM
I thought both of them were ranked #1 in their high school class. If so, then one should expect:

McRoberts was a top-5 player (not quite #1) and certainly a more highly-touted recruit than Plumlee. Randolph was the #23 rated player in 2002 according to Scout.com. He was very much in the same neighborhood as Kelly and Plumlee.

Regardless, I'm not sure what this has to do with anything other than expectations. I fully agree that the expectations shouldn't be as high for Plumlee as they were for McRoberts. I'm not talking about expectations. I'm merely talking about performance. It's not like I'm making a value judgment on Plumlee as a recruit. I'm just making an assessment of what he's done to this point in his very young career.


Agreed. IMO, both would have benefited from more offensive assertiveness and aggression.

IMO, Mason has shown offensive assertiveness and aggression

That may be. But assertiveness and aggression do not equal ability. Mason very well already possess the ability to score in the post. But he has not yet shown that ability. Showing assertiveness and aggression just show that he has the willingness to use any ability that he may (or may not) have.

CDu
02-10-2010, 02:10 PM
Have you seen anything in Mason, other than "strength, leaping ability", that has caused you to conclude he is "athletic"?

Those aren't sufficient to be considered athletic? Do you not think he's athletic? I think he's a very good athlete. On top of the leaping ability and strength, he's also shown some coordination while airborne that is impressive. He's not the quickest guy in the world in terms of lateral quickness (which may be limiting him a bit on the post right now along with the lack of a strong shooter's touch), but he is a very good leaper and very comfortable in the air. Again, though, I'm not really sure what these questions have to do with the point that he hasn't yet shown the ability to score in the post.

Jeffrey
02-10-2010, 03:22 PM
McRoberts was a top-5 player (not quite #1) and certainly a more highly-touted recruit than Plumlee. Randolph was the #23 rated player in 2002 according to Scout.com. He was very much in the same neighborhood as Kelly and Plumlee.

My memory isn't the greatest, so I looked it up.

McRoberts was #1 according to RSCI:

http://home.roadrunner.com/~rsci/RSCI_100_Final_2005.htm

I forgot that Randolph fell substantially during his senior year of high school.

CDu
02-10-2010, 03:33 PM
My memory isn't the greatest, so I looked it up.

McRoberts was #1 according to RSCI:

http://home.roadrunner.com/~rsci/RSCI_100_Final_2005.htm

I forgot that Randolph fell substantially during his senior year of high school.

Ah. I hadn't seen the RSCI rating - just Scout (which had him at #4) and Rival (which had him at #2). Neither here nor there though.

Jeffrey
02-10-2010, 03:58 PM
Ah. I hadn't seen the RSCI rating - just Scout (which had him at #4) and Rival (which had him at #2). Neither here nor there though.

Sure, it is. You said:


McRoberts and Randolph were more advanced offensively than Mason right now.

And, I was pointing out that ranking services had expected them to be, at this point, in their freshman season.

I believe Mason will have a better Duke career than either of them, based upon the abilities & attributes that Mason has already displayed.

Mason is not getting many touches. As you stated, 15 in the last 6 games. However, I'm seeing promising attributes that indicate scoring ability. I think that's what we have to determine his scoring ability, because:


IMO, most of Mason's offensive opportunities have come from "capitalizing on broken plays or finishing plays set up by one of our big three".

Back to the thread topic.... I'd like to see more plays run for Mason.

CDu
02-10-2010, 04:15 PM
Sure, it is. You said:

And, I was pointing out that ranking services had expected them to be, at this point, in their freshman season.

My point is, and remains, that Mason has yet not shown any ability to score in the post. So no, it doesn't matter where McRoberts or Randolph were ranked. You presented a non sequitur discussion here. Where McRoberts was rated (top-5, #1, #200) makes no difference to whether or not Plumlee has yet shown any ability to score in the post.


I believe Mason will have a better Duke career than either of them, based upon the abilities & attributes that Mason has already displayed.

Mason is not getting many touches. As you stated, 15 in the last 6 games. However, I'm seeing promising attributes that indicate scoring ability. I think that's what we have to determine his scoring ability, because:

I think it's a very real possibility that Mason eventually becomes a better scorer than Randolph or McRoberts (certainly in the case of Randolph, and very possibly in the case of McRoberts). But that's not what we've been discussing. We've been discussing whether Mason is an able scorer in the post. And again, I don't think he's shown that ability to score in the post yet. Hopefully he will soon.

I don't equate aggression/assertiveness to ability, which is what you seem to be doing. I think you need a combination of skill and aggression, but skill is a key. Right now, Mason is aggressive, but his post skills are VERY raw. If he develops those post skills, he should become a very good scorer in the post. Right now, though, he hasn't shown evidence of being a very capable scorer in the post.


Back to the thread topic.... I'd like to see more plays run for Mason.

I'd rather see Mason commit fewer fouls, defend better, and start doing more with the chances that he's getting. If he does those things, then he'll have earned more touches. I don't particularly care to see more plays run for him if he's going to keep shooting 33% from the field. I don't buy the argument that forcefeeding him touches will make him a better post scorer.

He's not getting many opportunities because he has not been able to do much with those opportunities. When he stops fouling and learns (or shows that he is comfortable with) post moves, he'll get those opportunities.

Jeffrey
02-10-2010, 04:25 PM
We seem to be going around & around on the other areas of your post, so I'll let them rest.


I don't particularly care to see more plays run for him if he's going to keep shooting 33% from the field. I don't buy the argument that forcefeeding him touches will make him a better post scorer.

If we want someone to improve their scoring, then I think we need to give them a chance. We do not know "he's going to keep shooting 33% from the field". What I do think we know is that if you want someone to get better at shooting, then you need to have them shoot.

A-Tex Devil
02-10-2010, 05:22 PM
We seem to be going around & around on the other areas of your post, so I'll let them rest.



If we want someone to improve their scoring, then I think we need to give them a chance. We do not know "he's going to keep shooting 33% from the field". What I do think we know is that if you want someone to get better at shooting, then you need to have them shoot.

I am in the "no forcefeeding" camp unless it is someone that is deferring too much, as opposed to shooting badly, like Gerald his freshman year. What if we keep forcefeeding him and he doesn't come around? Second half of conference season is not the time to do it. It's such a chicken and egg question. But at this point in the season, I'd like to stick with what is winning roughly 85% of the time.

We are fine, guys. We don't have top 5 talent, but we have a really, really good team that can beat anyone on a given day. Let's stick to what's working (because even if we lose 2-3 more conference games, I'll consider it having worked). If we lose 4-5 more conference games, I'll eat my words.

bluesin
02-10-2010, 05:28 PM
Mason is not getting many touches. As you stated, 15 in the last 6 games. However, I'm seeing promising attributes that indicate scoring ability. I think that's what we have to determine his scoring ability, because:




Just as a point of contention, 15 shots isn't the same as 15 touches, to be intellectually honest you'd have to go through the games and see how many times he actually got the ball to determine his total number of touches, I'm fairly confident that it wasn't a mere 15 times. Additionally, I'd like to refer you to http://kenpom.com/team.php?team=Duke so you can see how much usage Mason gets in his time in the game (last among the significant contributors), which admittedly may not be the usage people want him to get -- that's a totally personal judgment call. This link http://kenpom.com/blog/index.php/weblog/help_with_team_page/ explains that page -- but to sum up the part I feel is relevant "Players are now categorized by their involvement in the offense (%Poss) and within each section are ordered by minutes played."

Statistically Mason seems to be getting involved in the offense quite a bit when he's on the floor, though he's not producing (92.8 ORating, which is quite frankly bad). People can take that for what they will, but personally I think from watching the game, and those stats, he's got talent and ability but isn't making very good use of it at the moment for a number of reasons. I also get the impression that the team/coaches is/are trying to help him reach his potential, or he wouldn't be seeing the ball as much as he (statistically) is.

Jeffrey
02-10-2010, 05:30 PM
I am in the "no forcefeeding" camp unless it is someone that is deferring too much, as opposed to shooting badly, like Gerald his freshman year. What if we keep forcefeeding him and he doesn't come around? Second half of conference season is not the time to do it. It's such a chicken and egg question. But at this point in the season, I'd like to stick with what is winning roughly 85% of the time.

We are fine, guys. We don't have top 5 talent, but we have a really, really good team that can beat anyone on a given day. Let's stick to what's working (because even if we lose 2-3 more conference games, I'll consider it having worked). If we lose 4-5 more conference games, I'll eat my words.

Your focus is different than mine. My focus is what happens after conference games conclude.

CDu
02-10-2010, 05:33 PM
We seem to be going around & around on the other areas of your post, so I'll let them rest.

Fine by me. I felt that the rest was off-topic anyway.


If we want someone to improve their scoring, then I think we need to give them a chance. We do not know "he's going to keep shooting 33% from the field". What I do think we know is that if you want someone to get better at shooting, then you need to have them shoot.

I don't think that simply giving him more chances in games will make him a better post scorer. He's looked so raw in the post that I think this would just lead to more bad looks. Remember - that 33% in the last 6 games includes a made 3 (not a post move), a driving dunk past a defender who fell (not a post move), a dunk off an assist from Scheyer, a dunk off a turnover, and a dunk off of a transition defense breakdown. So in actual post situations, he's somewhere around 1-8 (12.5%). And that only includes the situations where he actually attempted a shot. I tend to think that this is less a function of the lack of touches and more a function of the lack of developed post game.

Given that he's struggling so much with post moves, I think working with him in practice to develop specific moves in post situations is more beneficial than forcing him chances in situations that he's maybe not equipped to handle. Obviously practice isn't the same as game situations, but if you don't have a good base to start from it doesn't do much good to throw it in to game situations. When he starts showing he's more comfortable and capable, you get him more looks.

Right now, I just hope he can cut down on fouls and defensive mistakes, and find opportunities to finish alleyoops and transition buckets. If he can do that, that's good enough for me. Anything else is cake. And if he starts showing more post skills, I'll be happy to see him get more opportunities. But I think he needs to start showing something with those limited opportunities before we start feeding him more and more opportunities.

Jeffrey
02-10-2010, 05:36 PM
Just as a point of contention, 15 shots isn't the same as 15 touches, to be intellectually honest you'd have to go through the games and see how many times he actually got the ball to determine his total number of touches, I'm fairly confident that it wasn't a mere 15 times.

I meant 15 shots. Not an issue of being "intellectually honest".

My point stands. Mason has avergaged 2.5 shots per game over the last 6 games. IMO, that's not many shots.

A-Tex Devil
02-10-2010, 05:43 PM
Your focus is different than mine. My focus is what happens after conference games conclude.

I'll contend that if we lose in the ACC or NCAA tourney it will have nothing to do with lack of development during the regular season. It will be because we played a better team or that the players we need to play well (S,S,S) had a bad game. That will happen to roughly 11 teams in the ACC tournament and 64 teams in the NCAA tournament.

I can't think of a single case where a struggling player/role player on a winning team is given a larger role outside of the normal flow of a specific game (e.g. Wake), and some epiphany occurred. I may be being dense, but I am racking my brain and not recalling anyone.

Mason is bound to have a few more games like the Wake game this year. That's great. But let the game come to him. No need to change what we are doing to try to get him more in the flow of the offense.

Jeffrey
02-10-2010, 05:52 PM
I don't think that simply giving him more chances in games will make him a better post scorer. He's looked so raw in the post that I think this would just lead to more bad looks. Remember - that 33% in the last 6 games includes a made 3 (not a post move), a driving dunk past a defender who fell (not a post move), a dunk off an assist from Scheyer, a dunk off a turnover, and a dunk off of a transition defense breakdown. So in actual post situations, he's somewhere around 1-8 (12.5%). And that only includes the situations where he actually attempted a shot. I tend to think that this is less a function of the lack of touches and more a function of the lack of developed post game.

I thought we were talking about his scoring ability. I agree that he does not have a "developed post game". I think some of the made baskets you referenced illustrate a way he could become more involved in our offensive game. IMO, we're running even more motion than earlier in the season.

Jeffrey
02-10-2010, 06:01 PM
I'll contend that if we lose in the ACC or NCAA tourney it will have nothing to do with lack of development during the regular season. It will be because we played a better team or that the players we need to play well (S,S,S) had a bad game.

Not trying to throw you a curve, but the following is an opinion I've repeatedly expressed on this board:

If one of the big three has foul or injury problems, then I think the lack of Andre's development during the regular season could be an issue.

CDu
02-10-2010, 06:08 PM
I thought we were talking about his scoring ability. I agree that he does not have a "developed post game". I think some of the made baskets you referenced illustrate a way he could become more involved in our offensive game. IMO, we're running even more motion than earlier in the season.

We have been talking about his scoring ability in the post. At least that's what I've been talking about, and that's what precipitated our entire discussion.

With regard to scoring in the post, it goes hand-in-hand with "developed post game." The made baskets I referenced are not in any way evidence of scoring ability in the post. They are evidence of taking advantage of breakdown situtations or finishing off of good drives by others.

I'd love to see Mason get more opportunities like the buckets I described earlier. He's great in those situations, and those are situations that suggest we're winning the game. But we don't get those situations by simply getting Mason more touches. Those plays comes from having the big three break down the defense more or having the defense fall asleep or break down more often. That's entirely different than the discussion of Mason's ability to score in the post.

bluesin
02-10-2010, 06:36 PM
I meant 15 shots. Not an issue of being "intellectually honest".

My point stands. Mason has avergaged 2.5 shots per game over the last 6 games. IMO, that's not many shots.

I don't think that point does stand in context. 2.5 shots per game is not many (I'll agree with that), but your point seems to be that he needs more shots, or opportunities to score. My point is that he gets the ball enough to get more shots, he's not taking them. That's mostly because he's not in good position, or does not utilize his personal skills well enough to get the shots he knows he can make, or that the coaches want him to take in the flow of the offense. He's not taking many shots for sure over the last 6 games, but he's certainly getting the ball enough to be taking more shots IF he were in a position to take them properly. To encourage him to take shots that are not good ones, for himself or the team, would be to encourage him to play selfishly, and it wouldn't particularly develop his abilities as a basketball player I don't think. I'm not saying he always gets the ball in a position to succeed but I am saying at least part of the onus to receive the ball in a position to score effectively lies on him, and he's just not doing it yet.

greybeard
02-10-2010, 07:23 PM
I don't think that point does stand in context. 2.5 shots per game is not many (I'll agree with that), but your point seems to be that he needs more shots, or opportunities to score. My point is that he gets the ball enough to get more shots, he's not taking them. That's mostly because he's not in good position, or does not utilize his personal skills well enough to get the shots he knows he can make, or that the coaches want him to take in the flow of the offense. He's not taking many shots for sure over the last 6 games, but he's certainly getting the ball enough to be taking more shots IF he were in a position to take them properly. To encourage him to take shots that are not good ones, for himself or the team, would be to encourage him to play selfishly, and it wouldn't particularly develop his abilities as a basketball player I don't think. I'm not saying he always gets the ball in a position to succeed but I am saying at least part of the onus to receive the ball in a position to score effectively lies on him, and he's just not doing it yet.

Nonsense.

bluesin
02-10-2010, 07:29 PM
Nonsense.

Well that's a lot shorter than the usual Nonsense I read when you post I suppose. Not that it's particularly informative.

I'll admit that I do occasionally enjoy reading what you have to say, in particular I find your discussions on soccer and balance and offensive theory to be intriguing, if not always something I agree with. But some of the stuff I've read about what you think is going on with the post offense this season I could have easily dismissed out of hand as nonsense as well, I didn't however because I thought perhaps if I were to dismiss it I should at least take the time to write out a response that included facts, or at least opinions contained in full statements. I suppose you decided my opinions and facts weren't worth a similar courtesy, which I find to be somewhat disappointing.

devildownunder
02-10-2010, 07:37 PM
In Kyle's freshman year, K, fresh off an Olympic experience, incorporated lots from the Phoenix offense and completely reorganized his method of attack. It took EVERYONE by surprise and Duke was rolling until a stretch of very rough games when Singler got terribly beat up and never recovered sufficient to carry the inside rebounding Duke needed.

What was the revolution. It was to attack from the wings to the foul lane off of a controlled dribble at which point the wing would decide (a) whether to pull up for a jump shot; (b) kick it to Paulus or the other wing for a 3; or (c) duck his inside shoulder and take it to the rim. Nelson, Scheyer and G were the main attackers but Kyle sometimes played that role as well.

So, saying that K never changes his offensive concepts just is not true.

Whether his assistants can imagine an offense that makes use of the bigs that Duke has, and get the team on board as making touches and points in the paint a priority has never been proven. Without that, what's a head coach to do?

*sigh* I never said, or even suggested that doesn't change his offensive concepts. We were talking about depth and I addressed that directly. I said he doesn't expand his rotation very much or at all. And that he isn't likely to start doing that in the future. As far as Xs and Os strategy, K is one of the most flexible guys in the game FROM SEASON TO SEASON. In season it's a bit different; he does make changes but he really has to be pushed into almost a crisis situation to do it (not that this is necessarily a bad thing). But one of the things I really love about K is that he doesn't go into each season trying to force his personnel into some "system" that he's convinced works. He adapts his strategy for the season -- especially on offense -- to his personnel.

A-Tex Devil
02-10-2010, 07:40 PM
Not trying to throw you a curve, but the following is an opinion I've repeatedly expressed on this board:

If one of the big three has foul or injury problems, then I think the lack of Andre's development during the regular season could be an issue.

I think it just boils down to chicken & egg like dilemma - do we need to play the young guys more, damn the consequences or else? Or will they be able to improve in practice, and if they do. they'll earn the minutes?

I completely understand the dilemma, but I guess I trust what the staff is doing here. If it made sense to them to play Andre more minutes, they would. If it made sense to run more of the offense through Mason more they would. (And I am hardly an apologist, generally).

All that being said, I'm a big believer in making plays come to you. I think that's what the freshman "stars" around the country do from day one. They get themselves open, they come to the ball, they kill it on defense. If Mason for instance, can start making the game come to him without gumming up the works on an offense that is running pretty well right now according to Mr. Pomeroy and others, then... awesome. And I think he did that against Wake.

Jeffrey
02-12-2010, 10:52 AM
I don't think that point does stand in context. 2.5 shots per game is not many (I'll agree with that), but your point seems to be that he needs more shots, or opportunities to score. My point is that he gets the ball enough to get more shots, he's not taking them. That's mostly because he's not in good position, or does not utilize his personal skills well enough to get the shots he knows he can make, or that the coaches want him to take in the flow of the offense. He's not taking many shots for sure over the last 6 games, but he's certainly getting the ball enough to be taking more shots IF he were in a position to take them properly. To encourage him to take shots that are not good ones, for himself or the team, would be to encourage him to play selfishly, and it wouldn't particularly develop his abilities as a basketball player I don't think. I'm not saying he always gets the ball in a position to succeed but I am saying at least part of the onus to receive the ball in a position to score effectively lies on him, and he's just not doing it yet.

I paid attention to your touch theory during the UNC game. Many, if not most, of Mason's touches were near the 3 point line and he was intentionally not "in a position to score effectively". I do not think touches is a good way to grade Mason's offensive performance. I will continue to look at the number of shots taken/made.

Jeffrey
02-12-2010, 10:56 AM
If Mason for instance, can start making the game come to him without gumming up the works on an offense that is running pretty well right now according to Mr. Pomeroy and others, then... awesome. And I think he did that against Wake.

Do you think he did it against UNC?

bluesin
02-12-2010, 11:45 AM
I paid attention to your touch theory during the UNC game. Many, if not most, of Mason's touches were near the 3 point line and he was intentionally not "in a position to score effectively". I do not think touches is a good way to grade Mason's offensive performance. I will continue to look at the number of shots taken/made.

Ok, first of all it's not a theory, it's a fact that he touches the ball a lot when he's on the floor, more than any of the other bigs actually. Secondly, you're basically stating my point -- Mason is not doing well enough at establishing position down low to be an effective receiver of the ball on the low block all the time, so he doesn't get as many touches down low. And I'd also point out that he had at least 5 touches where he had a chance to score, because he took 4 shots according to the box score (and he was fouled on one shot that didn't drop), he was the 4th leading scorer behind our big 3 @ UNC as a freshman going against one of the taller frontcourts in the ACC/country. I'd say that's a sign of growth, even if some of the touches came off of rebounds or from the 3point area.

Yes, I'll agree that he's probably not going to be super-effective if he's always catching the ball at or near the 3-point line. But, he's also more effective facing the basket and I'd actually like to see him catch it there on occasion when he's guarded by a big man he can take off the dribble or shoot over. He's shown the ability to shoot from out there and take it to the hoop -- more importantly (to me anyway) he seems comfortable with those offensive situations. So just because you don't like him catching it out there, doesn't automatically make it a bad catch for him to assert himself offensively. I think of all the big men Mason is the most dangerous catching the ball on offense out there, and he's shown that he can be dangerous catching it inside as well on occasion.

I think what you have to do to prove he should be getting it more often on the block is pay attention to all of the times he's sealed his man in the post or established position and the guards don't get him the ball. I'd be willing to admit I am completely off base if you can see him doing that 8-10 times a game and I'm just missing it, but I don't think I am. Just looking at shots made/taken is fine as a metric for shooting %, but if you're going to do it that way for offensive production you have to acknowledge why he's getting the number of shots he is from different spots on the floor and where the good/bad shots are for his skill set. You said if you want someone to "get better at shooting, then you need to have them shoot." I'm curious as to why you seem to be implying this happens in games and not practice.

Look, I want Mason to improve as much as the next guy, but I really don't think it's as simple as, he needs to shoot more in games and he needs more post touches, that's an oversimplication and it ignores some issues that Mason has on the offensive end. To me the biggest issues seems to be with confidence and decision making, not that he makes poor decisions more that he seems to decide slowly sometimes. To me neither one of those problems goes away if he just shoots more or gets the ball in the post 2-3 times more a game, and he seems to have confidence when he's able to stay on the floor without fouling (but that I think is more related to his defense).

A-Tex Devil
02-12-2010, 12:31 PM
Do you think he did it against UNC?

Yeah, to some extent after Lance went down. But not overly so. He's a freshman post without a fully developed offensive game. Most of his buckets are going to be cleaning up around the rim and he's been pretty good at that. He's going to get a lot more minutes over the next few games. If he works hard at getting open on offense, Nolan and John are not shy about feeding the post. But most of what I see him, Lance, Zoubek and his brother do is set screens for the guards up high with weak rolls to the basket that don't call for the immediate pass. I am excited, though, to see what he can do with more minutes if he stays out of foul trouble.

Kedsy
02-12-2010, 12:51 PM
I'd say that when Kyle and John shoot, they shoot with confidence and authority and those shots are *good shots* whether or not they go in.

And our bigs do some great things sometimes, but, seriously, how many times have you seen Z or Mason or Miles get stuffed at the rim? 1 out of 4 shots they put up? How many times do they get tied up under the basket? Another 1 out of 4?

Let me reverse the question: do you remember Carlos Boozer, Shelden Williams, Cherokee Parks, and Elton Brand? Do you remember what they have in common? Freshmen big men who played big minutes right away because they knew what they were doing.

Remember Taymon Domzalski? Shavlik Randolph? Erik Meek? Nick Horvath? CHRISTIAN LAETTNER? What did they have in common? Freshmen big men who didn't get to play as much because they weren't ready yet. Well, some of that first group became all stars, and some didn't. Ditto for the latter group. Mind you, Christian didn't play a whole bunch until the end of his freshman year (much like Elliot Williams last year). He turned out ok.

You keep making these blanket statements, and I have to say, bitter blanket statements that imply some malicious intent on the part of the coaches. It just doesn't make any sense to me. I understand you are frustrated, but I just don't get the obvious disdain you have for the coaches of the team you root for.

Cherokee Parks played an average of 12.8 minutes per game (3 starts) his freshman year.

Shavlik Randolph played 13.5 mpg (6 starts) his freshman year.

Christian Laettner played 16.8 mpg (16 starts) his freshman year.


So while I tend to agree with you that it has to do with the coaching staff's evalution of readiness/offensive skillset, rather than some anti-big man conspiracy, you ought to get your facts straight before making this sort of argument.

I disagree, however, that our current big men are blocked/tied up/stripped anywhere close to half the time. That's a gross exaggeration and simply not true.

Also, it's "Jon," not "John."

jgehtland
02-12-2010, 02:38 PM
My exact quote was that the first group got to play a bunch of minutes "right away", while the latter group had to wait awhile to get their minutes. I explicitly stated that Laettner didn't come on strong until the end of the year (but come on strong he did).

If you compare Laettner and Parks, you will see that, yes, Laettner averaged more minutes per game, because he started and played a lot at the end of the year. But over the first 10 games of each's freshman year:

Laettner: 11.8 mpg, 0 starts
Parks: 15.3 mpg, 3 starts

I picked 10 arbitrarily. It isn't until the 28th game of the season that their averages finally and permanently cross in Laettner's favor due to Parks having frontloaded a bunch of 20-25 minute games in the first half of the season.

Which means my point stands: Some of our bigs get chances right away, and others are forced to earn time from the bench, and it isn't always obvious in retrospect which ones are which until you peek into the numbers. Which means that it isn't necessarily some grand conspiracy of Duke coaches to hold big men down; some of them get a whole lot of burn right from the start, and others have to grow into the system.

And I apologize for the "John", as a person who harps on the Sheldon's of the world incessantly, its inexcusable. I will, however, challenge anybody to type the name "Jon" without having your index finger just automatically add the "h" have the time. ;-)

Finally, of course my figures for blocks/tie-ups was an exaggeration. But honestly, its a common them on this board: some of our bigs play a lot smaller than they are, and they need to not do that. Its a learnable skill. They need to learn it.

jgehtland
02-12-2010, 02:45 PM
Nothing pleases me more than being told to "get my facts straight". I like to be challenged on my recollections and assumptions. In this particular case, I'd already validated those assumptions before posting, but I do appreciate anybody who challenges proposed facts.

Wasn't it Kinsey who said "Any sentence that starts with 'the fact of the matter is' almost always ends with a lie?" Likewise, 67% of all statistical statements whose data isn't provided are false. ;)

Kedsy
02-12-2010, 02:47 PM
My exact quote was that the first group got to play a bunch of minutes "right away", while the latter group had to wait awhile to get their minutes. I explicitly stated that Laettner didn't come on strong until the end of the year (but come on strong he did).

If you compare Laettner and Parks, you will see that, yes, Laettner averaged more minutes per game, because he started and played a lot at the end of the year. But over the first 10 games of each's freshman year:

Laettner: 11.8 mpg, 0 starts
Parks: 15.3 mpg, 3 starts



OK, it's no big deal. But Shavlik Randolph played 16.9 mpg his first 8 games (14.9 mpg through 10; 15.5 through 15), and you have him on the not ready list. Mason averaged 15.6 mpg for his first 10 games this season. It's a minor point (and as I said before I agree with your larger point) but it's hard to argue Parks shouldn't be in the same list as Laettner, Randolph, and Mason P.


Edit: I don't know if your last post was meant seriously or sarcastically, but my intent was not to be insulting in any way. Also, the 67% thing is funny, and I enjoyed your Princess Bride allusion in an earlier post.

jgehtland
02-12-2010, 03:30 PM
Not sarcastic at all. Never let anybody lie with numbers. Too easy. ;)

Jeffrey
02-12-2010, 05:47 PM
But most of what I see him, Lance, Zoubek and his brother do is set screens for the guards up high with weak rolls to the basket that don't call for the immediate pass.

Yesiree. That appears to be their purpose since we have a Big 3 that is carrying us on offense. IMO, we're running even more motion than we did earlier in the season. I suspect we're doing that mostly for Kyle's benefit and Kyle appears to be more at ease. IMO, the game plan is not for the bigs to frequently post low.

On the bigger picture, I agree with your overalls views and definitely think this is a chicken or egg scenario.

Jeffrey
02-12-2010, 06:07 PM
Ok, first of all it's not a theory, it's a fact that he touches the ball a lot when he's on the floor, more than any of the other bigs actually.

You appear to be measuring Mason based on touches. I disagree with that approach. It's definitely not a fact that touches is the best techinque.... it may, however, be your theory. IIRC, your original post went into substantial detail about Mason's touches.

All of this comes out of my post using the word touches when I meant shots (2.5 per game over a 6 game period). IIRC, when I corrected myself, you claimed I was stating something out of context.



Secondly, you're basically stating my point -- Mason is not doing well enough at establishing position down low to be an effective receiver of the ball on the low block all the time, so he doesn't get as many touches down low.

No, I'm not. Mason is frequently touching the ball near the 3 line because he is up there mostly to screen. That's clearly the game plan.


So just because you don't like him catching it out there, doesn't automatically make it a bad catch for him to assert himself offensively.

I will not quote Greybeard. :D

I have absolutely no idea how you came up with that. I never said I "don't like him catching it out there". At this point, I prefer his face up game.

greybeard
02-12-2010, 06:35 PM
Why some people assume that a big has to be standing still in order to make an effective catch in the paint escapes me. Everything one sees in well conceived offenses says that it is the opposite--that the most effective play comes off catches on the move.

Why some people thin that anyone on Duke is good at getting the ball inside ignores history. Even when McRob was here, and was getting position and they wanted to get him the ball, the ball always came late and rarely in places that helped a big create advantage.

How anyone can imagine that Mason does not post up with the best of them and does not have a range of moves off a back to the basket catch defies common sense. The guy has been playing organized ball for how long? Going to super duper camps run by top coaches every summer. Playing top AAU ball, probably going to clinics since he was six. How difficult do any of you think it is to develop a traditional down-low game repetoire?

Mason and his brother can both handle themselves down low exceptionally well. Once they are given a full hand to play, they will. Until now that has not happened.

bluesin
02-12-2010, 06:56 PM
You appear to be measuring Mason based on touches. I disagree with that approach. It's definitely not a fact that touches is the best techinque.... it may, however, be your theory. IIRC, your original post went into substantial detail about Mason's touches.

All of this comes out of my post using the word touches when I meant shots (2.5 per game over a 6 game period). IIRC, when I corrected myself, you claimed I was stating something out of context.

I'm merely stating the fact that he's getting touches in the offense, not that that's the best way to measure offensive output or not. It is, I think, a factor, which is what I was stating in my initial post. I'm sorry if you thought I was saying you were speaking out of context. I was trying to convey that shots and touches have to be looked at together, in the context of the game itself. That's the context I was attempting to refer to. I actually think you have a point that he should be taking more shots in the game, but I think we disagree on how he should be getting them.




No, I'm not. Mason is frequently touching the ball near the 3 line because he is up there mostly to screen. That's clearly the game plan.

I guess what my confusion is here is that if he's at or near the 3 point line, and you like his face up game, and agree that he is raw in the post (not sure if you do but I get that impression) then where do you want him to catch the ball? I mean near the 3 point line to me is within 2 feet or so, and in the low block is not where he operates best. That leaves a little area to catch it inside the arc near the high post, and the areas in the corners. Catching it in the high post (or corners) and facing up might be effective, I think he has the athleticism and skills to take a defender to the hoop in some of those circumstances. But I don't really know why that's less effective than giving him more space to operate by catching the ball a little closer to the 3 point line (a shot he has shown he can hit so far), or looking for him when he's one on one in the post and doesn't have to make something with a post move -- which is what I see him doing now in addition to the easy buckets off of transition, dunks, and put-backs.

I think he needs more shots, but I don't think they need to be forced shots, and I think once he gets better positioning and more confidence (which he seems to be, especially after UNC) he'll take more. Really what I'm disagreeing with you I think is that I see 2.5 shots but he's involved in the offense, so I'd prefer he get the confidence to take more of the shots that work in the offense, being a little more assertive with his good offensive touches to turn them into shots and trying to get better position on offense to turn touches into easy baskets (using the skills he has). You seemed dissatisfied with his shots per game, where I'm more content with that if he's working to be part of the offense that seems to be already working pretty well. BUT, I do think he needs to take and make more out of the opportunities he has when he is involved in the offense.




I will not quote Greybeard. :D

lol :p


I have absolutely no idea how you came up with that. I never said I "don't like him catching it out there". At this point, I prefer his face up game.

I got the impression that you were dissatisfied with his number of shots, and didn't like how he was involved in the offense based on your previous comments. It wouldn't be the first time I misunderstood something someone said, if I did I apologize. I'm glad we agree that his face up game is a strength for him right now, I personally don't see it as a problem catching it out there some of the time, especially if it takes his man out of position on defense and/or allows him to pick and roll or cut to the basket (which he's not doing superbly or consistently yet, but he could in the future). And I think if he showed more down low or in his moves to the basket he wouldn't catch it out that far as much, but only time will tell on that I suppose.

I'm not trying to be contrary, hopefully you don't take offense. I guess you could say my theory is combine touches with shots and look at the offense as a whole to see how he's performing on that end of the floor (not even going to go into his defense right now). I was just giving the fact that Mason touches the ball a lot on offense, touches are no where near enough to judge how a player is performing on offense. And I didn't think shots in a game were either.

Jeffrey
02-12-2010, 07:40 PM
I actually think you have a point that he should be taking more shots in the game, but I think we disagree on how he should be getting them.


I guess what my confusion is here is that if he's at or near the 3 point line, and you like his face up game, and agree that he is raw in the post (not sure if you do but I get that impression) then where do you want him to catch the ball?


But I don't really know why that's less effective than giving him more space to operate by catching the ball a little closer to the 3 point line (a shot he has shown he can hit so far), or looking for him when he's one on one in the post and doesn't have to make something with a post move -- which is what I see him doing now in addition to the easy buckets off of transition, dunks, and put-backs.


I think he needs more shots, but I don't think they need to be forced shots, and I think once he gets better positioning and more confidence (which he seems to be, especially after UNC) he'll take more. Really what I'm disagreeing with you I think is that I see 2.5 shots but he's involved in the offense, so I'd prefer he get the confidence to take more of the shots that work in the offense, being a little more assertive with his good offensive touches to turn them into shots and trying to get better position on offense to turn touches into easy baskets (using the skills he has). You seemed dissatisfied with his shots per game, where I'm more content with that if he's working to be part of the offense that seems to be already working pretty well. BUT, I do think he needs to take and make more out of the opportunities he has when he is involved in the offense.


I'm glad we agree that his face up game is a strength for him right now, I personally don't see it as a problem catching it out there some of the time, especially if it takes his man out of position on defense and/or allows him to pick and roll or cut to the basket (which he's not doing superbly or consistently yet, but he could in the future).


I thought I had covered my views on most of those issues earlier in this thread with this post:

http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showpost.php?p=362136&postcount=158

I've been saying I think we need to get Mason more involved with the offense because I think he has substantial offensive talent. Most reponded that Mason does not have good post moves at this time. I responded that's not the only way to get him involved in the offense. I think we should work the offensive strengths he has already shown.

bluesin
02-12-2010, 07:46 PM
How anyone can imagine that Mason does not post up with the best of them and does not have a range of moves off a back to the basket catch defies common sense. The guy has been playing organized ball for how long? Going to super duper camps run by top coaches every summer. Playing top AAU ball, probably going to clinics since he was six. How difficult do any of you think it is to develop a traditional down-low game repetoire?


Ignoring the rest of your post for now, I guess people can imagine that Mason doesn't post up with the "best of them" because they have watched him play basketball. It's not even a secret that during his recruitment he was known for not having a strong post game or playing well with his back to the basket. Here, see what the (so called anyway) experts in recruiting had to say about him:
http://tinyurl.com/yeld92t
http://tinyurl.com/6xf68w
http://basketballrecruiting.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=934848 (bottom of the page)

He's a good player, and has a fantastic upside, and I'm not knocking his ability to play basketball -- but he's not a back to the basket post player yet, that's just not what he's good at doing.

And to answer you, it seems to be pretty difficult to develop a simple "traditional down low game," let alone a back to the basket game that is effective at the elite college level. If it wasn't hard I'd imagine that more big men would come out of high-school ready to play the college game and score a lot of post points, but there really aren't too many. I mean if it is so easy then why isn't Yarou at Villanova getting more than 3 points a game? Or Henson at UNC with 3.6? Dante Taylor at 4.1? Daniel Orton 3.5? Orikahi at UConn with 5.3? These are all players who were rated as PF or C on Scout at or around Mason and weren't projected as lottery picks, to the best of my knowledge, like Favors or Cousins (also ranked around where Mason was), shoot some people even had Henson going pretty high. Just for reference Mason is at 4.8 and he broke his hand, so he hasn't played 20+ games like some/most of those guys.

I'm sure there are examples of other players who have started scoring like it's the easiest thing in the world, but I just used those as examples of players, this year, at good programs in good conferences with good coaches who were similarly sized and talented on paper to Mason. It's apparently not easy to learn the post game, despite your claims to the contrary.



Why some people thin that anyone on Duke is good at getting the ball inside ignores history. Even when McRob was here, and was getting position and they wanted to get him the ball, the ball always came late and rarely in places that helped a big create advantage.


So you're saying that because we couldn't (in your eyes) get the ball to McRob when you thought it was good position no one in Duke can get the ball inside? That was 2 years ago, I'd say players change, offenses change, and really McRob wasn't exactly the best at getting inside position anyway and wasn't exactly trying to be the go to guy on offense either. There really is a lot more that could be said about this, but I'll just leave it at that for now.

Kedsy
02-12-2010, 07:47 PM
No, I'm not. Mason is frequently touching the ball near the 3 line because he is up there mostly to screen. That's clearly the game plan.

I disagree with this. Z and Lance and Miles are also up at the three-point line screening, but they don't touch the ball up there. Mason gets it there because he is a credible threat to do something.

Someone who gets a lot of touches is by definition involved in the offense, whether he ends up shooting or not. Assuming Mason is getting a lot of touches as the other poster states, the key to evaluating his performance is whether those touches lead to a productive possession for the team, not whether he ends up shooting the ball.

Frankly, in my opinion he doesn't even have to touch the ball to be involved in the offense. He just has to be threat enough to keep a defender close by. If our bigs never take a shot but do keep their defenders occupied, I like our chances to score with all three S's being guarded one-on-one.

jgehtland
02-12-2010, 07:47 PM
Why some people assume that a big has to be standing still in order to make an effective catch in the paint escapes me. Everything one sees in well conceived offenses says that it is the opposite--that the most effective play comes off catches on the move.

Why some people thin that anyone on Duke is good at getting the ball inside ignores history. Even when McRob was here, and was getting position and they wanted to get him the ball, the ball always came late and rarely in places that helped a big create advantage.

How anyone can imagine that Mason does not post up with the best of them and does not have a range of moves off a back to the basket catch defies common sense. The guy has been playing organized ball for how long? Going to super duper camps run by top coaches every summer. Playing top AAU ball, probably going to clinics since he was six. How difficult do any of you think it is to develop a traditional down-low game repetoire?

Mason and his brother can both handle themselves down low exceptionally well. Once they are given a full hand to play, they will. Until now that has not happened.

Hee hee. I love it. Explain that it is impossible to believe that our bigs might have difficulty in the post by claiming that all of our guard since mcbob's time are incapable of feeding the post. Doesn't your argument about coaching and organized play apply to that skill as well?

Our post offense is less than efficient. This is true. There are many possible reasons for it. You are the only person in this thread who is sure of the answer. Really really sure.

bluesin
02-12-2010, 08:21 PM
I thought I had covered my views on most of those issues earlier in this thread with this post:

http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showpost.php?p=362136&postcount=158

I've been saying I think we need to get Mason more involved with the offense because I think he has substantial offensive talent. Most reponded that Mason does not have good post moves at this time. I responded that's not the only way to get him involved in the offense. I think we should work the offensive strengths he has already shown.

Ok, so you say you want to get Mason more involved with the offense. He's already involved. I gave you the statistics for his involvement. If you mean you want him to score more, I also would like for him to score more, so we agree on that. You say his face up game is good, and you think we should use some of his other offensive talents. I agree with that too. You say in that post you linked " I think some of the made baskets [CDu] referenced illustrate a way he could become more involved in our offensive game. IMO, we're running even more motion than earlier in the season." Just for reference some of the baskets mentioned were 2 dunks in transition (one off a turnover), a driving dunk (the defender fell down), a 3 pointer, and a dunk off a Jon assist (which if memory serves was a one on one reaction play not a post move). So you'd like for Mason to dunk more (I agree, who doesn't like a dunk). But 2 of those plays also came from catching it at or around the 3 point line, the obvious one was the 3 the other being the drive. So the places he's getting the ball and the kinds of shots you seem to want him to have in the (half-court) offense line up, it appears to me. So really it seems like he's being put in a position to succeed with where he touches the ball on offense. I guess I just don't know what else you want to do to "work the offensive strengths he has already shown." I think a lot of it is on Mason now to apply the offensive strengths he's already shown, to step it up so to speak.

Maybe we just don't understand one another, but you seem to be asking for more ways to involve Mason in the offense and I'm pointing out he's already involved quite a bit and wondering what you think should be done to involve him even more and how that will be more effective than what's being done now (also why you think what's being done now isn't as effective as you think it should be and why, beyond Mason not putting up a lot of shots in a few games).

jv001
02-12-2010, 09:51 PM
Actually I'm waiting for Mason to use his left hand around the basket. Maybe he could go to the Carlos Boozer training school. Go Duke!