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Jumbo
02-08-2010, 10:07 PM
OK, we're all going to play a little game at the start here, and it's called "Let's pretend Jumbo wrote this last Friday before the B.C. game, like he was supposed to have done." Cool? Fantastic! So, anyway, Phase IV does capture the period from the game at B.C. through the end of the regular season (when some team with fugly uniforms comes into Cameron). So over that nine-game stretch, here are the questions I'll ponder and analyze.

1) Can Duke stay healthy?
As I've said, this is the most important part of every phase this season. And nothing is a close second.

2) Can Duke take the most important step in truly running an excellent motion offense by becoming a better, more aware, passing team?
This is critical in so many different ways. Start with the three perimeter players. They're all terrific in so many areas, but I'd say that only Jon Scheyer has above average court vision. Nolan Smith is an attack-oriented guard -- as Duke needs him to be -- but did go through a stretch earlier in the season where he really seemed to understand how to play a drive and kick game. Lately, he hasn't been as good in that area. And a less-emphasized portion of the game in which Kyle Singler has struggled this season has been in his passing, particularly off the dribble. Often, he's missing open perimeter players when all that is necessary is a good kick-out or skip pass. I suspect this is just another aspect of adapting to playing on the perimeter, and that his head is down in part because he's protecting the ball against smaller, quicker players. But, first and foremost, they must get better at recognizing when another member of the trio has a better shot, and deliver the ball quicker.

But it doesn't stop there. All three perimeter players need to recognize that when Duke is running motion and constantly setting screens off the ball that the bigs are, and will be, open. Essentially, the guys guarding the big men are cheating when they set screens, helping prevent the perimeter players from catching a quick pass and daring Duke to make a pass from beyond the arc that a big man would have to catch and finish. The reasoning is sound -- Duke's bigs have had problems simply catching in some games, let alone finishing. But for Duke to take the next step, the guards have to trust the bigs and deliver those passes. Maybe it'll cost the team a win down the way. But if they keep hitting them, I have faith that enough members of the quintet will deliver that defenses will be forceed to respect them, which in turn will make them even more effective screeners and open things back up on the perimeter.

So, go forth with this motion-based approach. But if you're in for a dime, Coach K, then go in for a dollar. Push the guys to execute motion the way it was built to be run.

3) Is Miles Plumlee just in a slump, or has he regressed?
Every since his huge performance against Wake Forest, Miles has struggled, averaging just 2 ppg and 3.2 rpg, with only 2 total blocks and just 5-of-18 shooting in 6 games. He's been averaging 15 mpg in that span and is committing 2.5 fouls per contest. Clearly, that needs to change. But can it? His confidence has to be hurting. The good thing is that Duke has legit depth inside, and Zoubek and Thomas continue to show real progress as seniors. But Duke needs the added dynamic Miles can bring for roughly have the game, with his mobility, weakside rebounding and explosiveness around the hoop to catch and finish.

4) What is a realistic expectation for Mason Plumlee at this point?
Clearly, Mason isn't the player I expected to see this season, and I'm sure the wrist injury is largely to blame. That said, he has some bad habits that haven't been cured in 17 games, 251 minutes and 2-plus months of practice. He's losing his man far too often on defense. He's making risky, senseless passes on offense. When he gets the ball near the hoop, he's not playing through contact to finish. He's shooting free throws poorly. And, perhaps worst of all, he's committing some truly silly fouls -- reach-ins off rebounds, frustration fouls after misses, etc. These things haven't improved much over time.

Now, progress isn't always linear, and he could go from making these mistakes to not making them in a day, I guess. At the same time, I think we've all been waiting for a "light bulb moment," and that might be expecting too much. I still think he can elevate Duke to a different level this year, but it's going to have be in limited areas. His back-to-the-basket game just isn't developed yet, and he'll need an offseason to learn some low-post moves. So Duke just isn't going to be able to dump the ball into him on the block and let him go to work. Instead, let's hope for growth in the areas I mentioned above during this period. All of them share a common theme -- simplifying the game. On defense, I have faith that he can learn where he needs to be within the team's scheme. If that happens, the game should slow down, and his instincts should be able to take over, allowing him to react better to be a weakside shotblocker, strong rebounder, etc. Hopefully that will lead to less fouling. On offense, he needs to catch strong, go up strong, and finish strong. If he's just simply stronger with the ball, perhaps he'll stop forcing more advanced plays -- both passes and shots. He can still be a really good comlementary player by the end of this period. But that progress needs to start now.

5) Can Duke consistently shoot (reasonably) well from the perimeter, particularly on the road?
Duke in Cameron (13 games): .499 FG%; .442 3PT%.
Duke outside of Cameron (10 games): .413 FG%; .317 3PT%.
That's a glaring difference and it needs to change. Duke needs Scheyer, Smith and Singler to be steady shooters when they get open looks, regardless of where they are playing. That doesn't mean they need to be great every night, or that all three guys have to be on at once. But they have to knock down enough open jumpers to keep the other aspects of the offense flowing.

6) Speaking of 3-point shooting, will Duke find a fourth perimeter scorer?
I can't stand the pointless, endless, ridiculous, rambling, uneducated (is this strong enough yet?) debates about "depth" in the abstract. Actually, I probably can state that even stronger, but there's no point. Depth, as a concept, means nothing. Weaknesses, on the other hand, matter. And Duke could use someone else who could knock down a jumper besides the three perimeter starters.
Here's what I know: Andre Dawkins is struggling big-time right now, and Coach K is handling him the right way. If Coach K doesn't trust his ball-handling (which is clear) or his defense (also clear), then it doesn't make sense to throw him out there and reinforce bad habits, especially given that he's young and has been through an incredible ordeal. That doesn't mean, though, that he can't make progress in practice so that at some point, he's ready to contribute again. And if that point comes where he's able to do those other things at a decent level, we know he has a beautiful stroke.
Until that time comes, though, K seems intent on increasing Ryan Kelly's role as a perimeter player. He has remarked on several occasions that the added emphasis on motion offense will help Kelly. And Kelly can help Duke by confidently taking open 3s and making them. He's getting legit first-half minutes now, and if he plays well, he can earn some time in the second half, too. It would be nice to know that if there's a game where the Big 3 are struggling, someone else might be able to hit a 3-pointer or two to get things going. Ideally, Duke will have two options off the bench by the end of the season. But I'd gladly settle for one.

7) Can Duke get a handle on its, uh, handling opponents?
Duke fouls too much. Period. And it's basically all coming from the bigs. I don't mind aggressive fouls fighting for a rebound or a blocked shot or trying to take a charger or even the occasional moving screen. Here's what I don't like: Reaching in after someone else has snared a rebound. Pushing guys in the back when you have no position. Hand-checking. Holding jerseys. Look, it's an incredibly fine line to walk when you are trying to prove to opponents that you can be as physical as anyone out there, while simultaneously making sure you don't foul. But Duke is letting teams get in the bonus too easily through fouls off the ball. The big guys simply have to be more disciplined. As a corollary, Duke needs to do a better job of getting to the free throw line, because the foul shooting differential you'd expect from a top team just isn't there. But I think properly executing the motion offense should take care of some of the offensive concerns. The bigger issue is the defensive/loose-ball fouls, which also undermine an excellent defensive effort on too many occasions.

8) Can Duke maintain consistent energy and attention to detail?
This connects directly to the point about defense above. This, for the most part, is an outstanding defensive team. Coach K has said enough. Duke can play outstanding D against anyone, and must play outstanding D to win big. But there have been lapses, particularly against NC State and Georgetown. Did the guys get that problem out of their system in those games? Are they ready to give all-out effort every night, to communicate well, to focus on the little things that matter so much in big games? Time to show us.

9) Late-game execution
Can Duke improve what little we've seen of its late-game execution? This team has barely played any close games, which is why the Boston College game was so important. That said, we've seen three areas that need to be improved:
A) Running the offense with the same discipline and precision as earlier in the game and not forcing low-percentage shots. We saw this mostly against Georgia Tech, but if Duke gets into more close games, it will be interesting to see what the team tries to do. I still like the ball in Scheyer's hands as a decision-maker. I still like knowing that Nolan can get a decent shot with the shot-clock winding down (that's why I like him off the ball to start these plays -- I don't think he sees the floor well enough to start things and get us the best possible shot, but he can finish quickly). And, I think if Duke really, really needs a bucket, my first option would still be to post Singler. He continues to show that he can abuse smaller opponents if he gets the ball on the block. If Duke finds itself in a few close games in this stretch, let's see if they go to that approach.
B) Finishing off good defensive possessions with tough rebounds. That cost Duke against Georgia Tech and almost cost them against B.C. Just finish the play.
C) Getting the ball to Jon Scheyer when the other team is fouling late. That was the biggest flaw in the whole final sequence against Boston College. Duke has a 90% FT shooter and couldn't get him to the line. Now, B.C. was putting two guys on him and even using a third to help off Dawkins/Kelly to deny Scheyer. But if Duke could consistently get J.J. Redick the ball in those situations, Coach K should be able to draw up enough stuff to do the same for Scheyer. I can't stress enough how much of a priority this needs to be. Smith is quicker and stronger, so he might have a slightly easier time of getting open. And he's a good FT shooter who wants the ball. But he's not a 90% guy. The whole team needs to be clear that in those situations, the ball goes to Scheyer. End of story. So from the design of the play to the decision by the inbounder (usually Singler) to the precision of the screens, to the cuts and reads by Scheyer himself, Duke has to take advantage of such a valuable weapon.

Anyway, that's what's on my mind as Duke enters the final phase of the regular season. I'm too tired and lazy to check for typos right now, but I suppose I can do that some other time. Looking forward to reading what everyone else has to say. Go Duke!

duk3
02-08-2010, 10:33 PM
long time lurker, finally posting, but i noticed in the final analysis of phase III that coach k had mentioned jon having a back injury of sort. the question of what was wrong was posed to scheyer today during his time with the media and he said that it was something that started earlier in the week. i was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of when this injury happened, specifically when coach k first mentioned it because the first time that i had seen anything about it was when jumbo mentioned it. i was just surprised i missed it because i tend to read all of the post-game stories and interviews.

Duvall
02-08-2010, 10:38 PM
long time lurker, finally posting, but i noticed in the final analysis of phase III that coach k had mentioned jon having a back injury of sort. the question of what was wrong was posed to scheyer today during his time with the media and he said that it was something that started earlier in the week. i was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of when this injury happened, specifically when coach k first mentioned it because the first time that i had seen anything about it was when jumbo mentioned it. i was just surprised i missed it because i tend to read all of the post-game stories and interviews.

http://i49.tinypic.com/3445m2v.jpg

Okay, maybe not. But I would put my money on the source of the injury being another Hewitt Special.

Troublemaker
02-08-2010, 10:52 PM
Jumbo, brother, that's a lonnng and outstanding post. I wish I had the time and acumen to reply to everything you wrote with my own take on the matter.

As is, of particular interest to me is what you wrote here:



But it doesn't stop there. All three perimeter players need to recognize that when Duke is running motion and constantly setting screens off the ball that the bigs are, and will be, open. Essentially, the guys guarding the big men are cheating when they set screens, helping prevent the perimeter players from catching a quick pass and daring Duke to make a pass from beyond the arc that a big man would have to catch and finish. The reasoning is sound -- Duke's bigs have had problems simply catching in some games, let alone finishing. But for Duke to take the next step, the guards have to trust the bigs and deliver those passes. Maybe it'll cost the team a win down the way. But if they keep hitting them, I have faith that enough members of the quintet will deliver that defenses will be forceed to respect them, which in turn will make them even more effective screeners and open things back up on the perimeter.

See, I'm pretty ambivalent about this strategy. In an ideal world, we'd have bigs that can catch and finish. But I don't think we do. I have to admit a sin of a fan here. On those down screens that LT sets to free up Jon or Kyle to pop out at the elbow to receive a pass, sometimes curling back into the lane for a drive and sometimes stopping right at the elbow to take a jumpshot, I root for the defenders to communicate perfectly and not double-team the shooter. Because if they both jump out at Jon and Kyle, then those guys will hit LT with a pass on the block, wide open momentarily. The weakside defenders arrive, and then the adventure begins. Can LT put in the layup before the help gets there? Will he get blocked? Will he get stripped? Will he lose the ball going up? Will he get tied up? I just don't know if we can count on our bigs to finish and it's so disheartening when they don't.

I think the best thing this offense can do, and I think you agree, is post up Singler more. If you're looking for inside offense, that's the way to go. But I suspect the coaching staff is uncomfortable posting Kyle without the bigs being perimeter threats. It causes spacing issues. That's why this recent development of Ryan Kelly getting more playing makes me hopeful. I think eventually we can run sets with Kyle in the post and Kelly helping to spread the floor for him. Alongside LT, who is decent with the midrange jumper this year. Not good, but decent. Kelly also seems to be good at making entry passes. That's how I would approach things on offense. Run motion, sure, to free up shots for the Big 3, but also run sets for Kyle in the post.

Wander
02-08-2010, 10:57 PM
Jumbo - I am curious to hear your views on whether you think Duke has a realistic chance to win the national championship. Good stuff as always. My two disagreements: I don't think we have any sort of pressing need to find a fourth perimeter scorer (I am not concerned about any aspects whatsoever of Scheyer's/Smith's game), and I wouldn't call this an "outstanding" defensive team.

BlueintheFace
02-09-2010, 12:03 AM
Jumbo, when we get to stall ball, put me in the camp that wants the ball in Nolan Smith's hands. I know Jon is the best decision-maker on the team by a lot, but he has struggled a number of times with the shot clock winding down (silly threes, turnovers, etc...). Nolan Smith has proven (and K has acknowledged) that he is the only one on the team that is good at creating his own shot. K's stall ball usually consists of winding the shot clock down to single digits and then running a high screen and roll. When Jon can't get the half step on his defender he has to pull out and shoot a long three or pass it. Nolan, however, can get that half step and drive the lane for the foul, the basket, or to draw the weakside defender allowing for a put-back opportunity.

Now, when K (rarely) runs different sets late in the shot clock for stall ball, sure. Give it to Jon. I want him running the show, but I think history, through previous seasons and this one, has shown that K wants that shot clock at 12-8 seconds and he wants the high ball screen. Give me Nolan every time.

superdave
02-09-2010, 09:33 AM
Motion - In the motion offense against BC, I noticed (which has been pointed out elsewhere) that Kyle was looking to catch and shoot more off screens than to create off the dribble. This is a good way to increase Kyle's efficiency. Also, it enable him to find open bigs or spot-up shooters whenever he draws a 2nd defender.

Post ScoringOur bigs are capable of scoring consistently, but only when they receive the ball in a scoring position. When our big 3 get into the lane, our bigs ought to be open. But to feed them and expect them to make a move, well, that probably wont work. In attack mode, our big 3 can find open big men for easy buckets. But that means we need to attack a lot.

Defense - I agree with Jumbo on committment to Defense. We can play great defensively at times, but do not put it all together for entire game or for several straight games. Two things mentioned that can be improved upon immediately: First, stop the silly fouls. This is all about self-discipline. Our bigs can get there and without much trouble. Maybe some time in the video room would help. Second, our help-side defense on the interior can be quicker. A lot of times we go for blocks rather than a true help (Mason, Miles) or the first guy rotates over but the backside help doesnt make it. When we start hitting these more consistently, well cut down fouls even further and rebound even better.

Dar95
02-09-2010, 10:02 AM
I think consistency on defense is going to be the key to this team doing great things - we've seen in 3 out of the 4 losses (except GT1) that they can just lose it from time-to-time. We've done our usual great job of removing 3 pointers from the equation, but I see 3 areas in particular where we could use improvement:

1) Help defense. Particularly from our bigs, and Plumlees in particular - when we pressure and close out on the perimeter the way we do, there are going to be times when a guard gets by. Our bigs need to recognize the ball and be there to stop easy penetration.

2) Stupid fouls. As mentioned, we're extending possessions and getting into the bonus quicker than necessary, not to mention ending up with players in foul trouble.

3) Getting back in transition. This has been a less consistent problem, but while we've done a great job on the offensive glass this year, there's been some tradeoff in terms of transition D. In particular, I've noticed loose ball situations where our guards seem to assume we will get possession and end up getting burned downcourt.

Offensively, we're #1 (by a reasonable margin) in offensive efficiency in the Pomeroy ratings. While I agree that continuing to emphasize increased motion and court awareness is important, on that end it's mostly a matter of keeping doing what we're doing.

jv001
02-09-2010, 10:09 AM
More good stuff Jumbo. Some observations;
Motion Offense..much better option than the dribble drive. Guys don't stand around in this offense. I'm with Jumbo in that we could use more post up from Kyle..This will have to come from Coach K. I still like the high low game for continuity. We have some guys that can execute this offense.
Mason Plumlee. At this point I don't know what to expect from Mason. He's losing his man way too many times on defense. He's commiting silly fouls in frustration. He reminds me of Miles last year. Just too much thinking and not enough playing the game. Let's hope he get's it in practice because he will not get it in games.
Another scorer. It's evident that Andre has hit that freshman wall. He's not moving like he did at the beginning of the year and he's not the shooter he was at the beginning of the year. I know that he's gone through things that would keep most young men down and out. But to his credit, he's competing. I look for Andre to make strides in practice and begin to get more minutes. I would love to see it Wednesday night. As for Ryan, I like his improvement. He's not a game changer yet, but he seems to get it more than Mason and Dre. As everyone knows, he just needs more strength but most freshman need more strength. To sum it up, I think this team has not reached it's potential and will get better by March. Go Duke!

bird
02-09-2010, 10:41 AM
My two disagreements: I don't think we have any sort of pressing need to find a fourth perimeter scorer (I am not concerned about any aspects whatsoever of Scheyer's/Smith's game), and I wouldn't call this an "outstanding" defensive team.

I too think the perimeter is in good hands, and also think this is a solid, but not vintage, defensive squad. I may be a bit prejudiced by my love for the overplaying, ball-hawking Duke squads of years past who could lauch a 12-0 run in a couple of minutes from the defensive end, but KenPom's stats show that our defensive efficiency this year to be strong but not elite. There are fixable issues, but this team is never going to apply savage ball pressure and lock-down perimeter denial.

My biggest concern right now is the step back by Miles. He's got the athleticism and strength, and is gaining the experience, to be a powerful inside presence. I don't understand his recent struggles; he has fallen off the upward curve.

Chitowndevil
02-09-2010, 10:46 AM
1) No doubt.

2) Great point. The key ingredient in a motion offense is spacing. To space the court effectively you must have players who can finish near the basket. Duke's bigs have been extrememly weak finishing plays. Singler, Scheyer, and Smith are routinely double or triple teamed on drives to the basket because opponents have so little fear of an interior pass.

3 & 4 I view as an extension of 2. To have a legitimate shot at the Final Four Duke absolutely must have at least one big man who can "catch strong, go up strong, and finish strong".

5 & 6 are also related in my view. I do think Duke's home/road shooting splits have a lot to do with its opponents (Wisconsin is 5th overall in Defensive Efficiency, Clemson is 4th, Georgia Tech 13th). Duke has also played four road games (and only two home games) since Sinlger aggravated his wrist against Wake. Still, I absolutely agree Duke needs a 4th perimeter scorer, for the same reason cited in point 2 above. After the Villanova game last season, Coach K lamented that they were basically playing 5 on 3. That has certainly been the case for long stretches this season offensively.

7 (& 8) YES. This is an incredibly important point I hear virtually NOBODY talking about. Duke has 5 players with over 5 fouls committed per 40 minutes, including Miles (6.5), Mason (7.2), and Zoubs (8.8!!). I realize this is partly a product of having lots of fouls to give down low. But as Jumbo mentions, many of these fouls are silly: look no farther than against BC, where Duke had a chance to push its lead to 12-13 on the final possession of the first half, and instead put BC on the line with a chance to close to 8. Those silly fouls add up, especially come March. They can undermine a team's ability to play tough, physical defense late in games - in a close game, putting the opponent on the line is usually the WORST outcome of a possession.

9) Jon Scheyer needs to have the ball late, period. Nolan Smith has shown an ability to bail us out late in the shot clock, but the ball still needs to be in Scheyer's hands the majority of the time - not just for his FT%, but also his court vision as mentioned before.

arydolphin
02-09-2010, 10:50 AM
C) Getting the ball to Jon Scheyer when the other team is fouling late. That was the biggest flaw in the whole final sequence against Boston College. Duke has a 90% FT shooter and couldn't get him to the line.

I was at the Duke-BC game, and one thing that I noticed on the last big inbounds play is that Kyle had 2 guys other than Jon come open on that play. Kyle chose not to throw the ball to them, even though both guys were wide open, and waited for Jon to come free even with 2 guys on him. I think that Jumbo's sentiment was probably passed on to the team in the last huddle before that play. He's right, Jon is the guy that we want on the line in the closing moments of a game, he has to find a way to get the ball.

One other thing that was interesting about the late-game situation against BC...Jon sets up the offense, but Nolan was the guy to make the drive late in the shot clock on one of the plays. Obviously Jon is more of a point guard at this time as compared to Nolan, but in a setup like a 1-4 formation that you can see late in games, Nolan is definitely the best player for that situation becuase like G was last year, he's the best guy on the team at creating his own shot and getting to the rim. I think that G was better at it last year than Nolan is this year, but the ability to get to the rim in a late-game situation is critical, especially when this team doesn't have a lights-out long range shooter and doesn't have a solid low-post presence either.

sagegrouse
02-09-2010, 10:54 AM
We begin with a commercial from Steamboat Springs, Colorado like my homeboy Verne Lundquist does from time to time. Yesterday AM I am sitting at my desk early in the morning and just happened to look up. There is a huge elk staring at me through the glass, less than two feet from my face. Four elk had bedded overnight in the yard (they are still here) and were digging through the snow to eat the long grass just above the boulder wall behind my house. I guess the one at my window was just curious.

1) Can Duke stay healthy?
I never want to see athletes, especially college guys, injured. (Of course, that has never been put to the real test because I didnít have to feel sorry for the vile Rashad McCants or the repulsive Jeff McInnes, who were both healthy while at UNC.) Duke has been very fortunate this year, and we should be thankful every day it continues.

2) Can Duke take the most important step in truly running an excellent motion offense by becoming a better, more aware, passing team?
We have got to start feeding the big guys in the middle, and they have to prove they can finish. Not just the Plumees Ė I am talking to you too, Brian Zoubek.

3) Is Miles Plumlee just in a slump, or has he regressed?
The no. 1 factor with our big men has been match-ups. Zoubek, for example, was perfect for BC, in that his strength, heady play but lack of mobility was not a problem, and Miles didnít see a lot of action. Against Greg Monroe and GU, it was just the opposite. Funny thing is that this dumb ACC schedule means that our last seven games are against teams we havenít played before. So, who knows?

Miles will play a lot against the more mobile UNC team. I am looking for defense, rebounds, and a few dunks.

4) What is a realistic expectation for Mason Plumlee at this point?
My expectation is that he will be a factor before the end of the season, but he has to keep being aggressive and work through the mistakes he is making.

5) Can Duke consistently shoot (reasonably) well from the perimeter, particularly on the road?
You expect to have 50% games and 30% games, but it is the 21% games (at GT) that guarantee a loss. We donít need to shoot 50%, but it sure would be nice to have 30% be a lower bound.

6) Speaking of 3-point shooting, will Duke find a fourth perimeter scorer?
Boy, that would make a huge difference.

7) Can Duke get a handle on its, uh, handling opponents?
Good point. I hadnít thought of this aspect of the game.

8) Can Duke maintain consistent energy and attention to detail?
I have no question about this, but the wailing chorus of Cassandras about too many minutes and too short a bench are already predicting doom. And, because the chance of Duke winning three games in the ACCs and six games in the NCAAs is not very high, they will likely have ammunition to beat on us for at least another 12 months.

9) Late-game execution
Last Saturday was a B+. Lets hope we are on the right track.

sagegrouse

sagegrouse
02-09-2010, 10:55 AM
We begin with a commercial from Steamboat Springs, Colorado like my homeboy Verne Lundquist does from time to time. Yesterday AM I am sitting at my desk early in the morning and just happened to look up. There is a huge elk staring at me through the glass, less than two feet from my face. Four elk had bedded overnight in the yard (they are still here) and were digging through the snow to eat the long grass just above the boulder wall behind my house. I guess the one at my window was just curious.

1) Can Duke stay healthy?
I never want to see athletes, especially college guys, injured. (Of course, that has never been put to the real test because I didn’t have to feel sorry for the vile Rashad McCants or the repulsive Jeff McInnes, who were both healthy while at UNC.) Duke has been very fortunate this year, and we should be thankful every day it continues.

2) Can Duke take the most important step in truly running an excellent motion offense by becoming a better, more aware, passing team?
We have got to start feeding the big guys in the middle, and they have to prove they can finish. Not just the Plumees – I am talking to you too, Brian Zoubek.

3) Is Miles Plumlee just in a slump, or has he regressed?
The no. 1 factor with our big men has been match-ups. Zoubek, for example, was perfect for BC, in that his physical strength, heady play, but lack of mobility was perfect against the Eagles, and Miles didn’t see a lot of action. Against Greg Monroe and GU, it was just the opposite. Funny thing is that this dumb ACC schedule means that our last seven games are against teams we haven’t played before. So, who knows?

Miles will play a lot against the more mobile UNC team. I am looking for defense, rebounds, and a few dunks.

4) What is a realistic expectation for Mason Plumlee at this point?
My expectation is that he will be a factor before the end of the season, but he has to keep being aggressive and work through the mistakes he is making.

5) Can Duke consistently shoot (reasonably) well from the perimeter, particularly on the road?
You expect to have 50% games and 30% games, but it is the 21% games (at GT) that guarantee a loss. We don’t need to shoot 50%, but it sure would be nice to have 30% be a lower bound.

6) Speaking of 3-point shooting, will Duke find a fourth perimeter scorer?
Boy, that would make a huge difference.

7) Can Duke get a handle on its, uh, handling opponents?
Good point. I hadn’t thought of this aspect of the game.

8) Can Duke maintain consistent energy and attention to detail?
I have no question about this, but the wailing chorus of Cassandras about too many minutes and too short a bench are already predicting doom. And, because the chance of Duke winning three games in the ACCs and six games in the NCAAs is not very high, they will likely have ammunition to beat on us for at least another 12 months.

9) Late-game execution
Last Saturday was a B+. Lets hope we are on the right track.

sagegrouse

MChambers
02-09-2010, 10:59 AM
7 (& 8) YES. This is an incredibly important point I hear virtually NOBODY talking about. Duke has 5 players with over 5 fouls committed per 40 minutes, including Miles (6.5), Mason (7.2), and Zoubs (8.8!!). I realize this is partly a product of having lots of fouls to give down low. But as Jumbo mentions, many of these fouls are silly: look no farther than against BC, where Duke had a chance to push its lead to 12-13 on the final possession of the first half, and instead put BC on the line with a chance to close to 8. Those silly fouls add up, especially come March. They can undermine a team's ability to play tough, physical defense late in games - in a close game, putting the opponent on the line is usually the WORST outcome of a possession.
Actually, some of us have been pointing this out for much of the season. One poster here quoted the basketball Zen master, Shane Battier, to the effect that a foul is the worst possible outcome.

Good old Len Elmore said Saturday that he thinks that Duke's bigs are playing without regard to their foul status. I can't really believe that. It's just too obvious a problem for our defense.

For Zoubek, I have some sympathy, because the refs seem to call him for fouls that they don't call on anyone else (although he is the one who made that silly foul Saturday at the end of the half). For the other bigs, it seems that they just let their emotions get the best of them.

COYS
02-09-2010, 11:12 AM
I too think the perimeter is in good hands, and also think this is a solid, but not vintage, defensive squad. I may be a bit prejudiced by my love for the overplaying, ball-hawking Duke squads of years past who could lauch a 12-0 run in a couple of minutes from the defensive end, but KenPom's stats show that our defensive efficiency this year to be strong but not elite. There are fixable issues, but this team is never going to apply savage ball pressure and lock-down perimeter denial.

My biggest concern right now is the step back by Miles. He's got the athleticism and strength, and is gaining the experience, to be a powerful inside presence. I don't understand his recent struggles; he has fallen off the upward curve.

Of course, our defensive efficiency stats are skewed by our pitiful performances against NC State, G-Town, and Wiscy. I think we can be and have been an elite defensive team. We just have to give that effort consistently and avoid the complete defensive meltdowns we had against those teams, especially the State game. That being said, I actually think that Jumbo's point about consistent shooting outside of Cameron plays into how good our defense can be. In both the NC State and G-Town games (and probably the Wiscy game, too, but I can't remember that one as well) we gave up a lot of easy buckets off of bricked jumpers and long rebounds. The fact that we missed so many long range shots led to a lot of fast breaks and semi-breaks that resulted in a foul on us or easy points for them. This dramatically reduced our defensive efficiency in those games and got the other team in the bonus quickly. If our perimeter players knock down a few more open looks, we not only will score more points but the other team will have fewer opportunities on the break which will hopefully result in fewer fouls on us and lower percentage shots from the other team.

jv001
02-09-2010, 11:18 AM
Actually, some of us have been pointing this out for much of the season. One poster here quoted the basketball Zen master, Shane Battier, to the effect that a foul is the worst possible outcome.

Good old Len Elmore said Saturday that he thinks that Duke's bigs are playing without regard to their foul status. I can't really believe that. It's just too obvious a problem for our defense.

For Zoubek, I have some sympathy, because the refs seem to call him for fouls that they don't call on anyone else (although he is the one who made that silly foul Saturday at the end of the half). For the other bigs, it seems that they just let their emotions get the best of them.

Zoubs seems to get the short end of the stick when it comes to officials not giving him the benefit of the doubt on all calls. In one game he was pulled down by the opposing player and both players were assessed fouls. As for Jon, I can't remember a player that get's beat on as much has he does and it not called by the refs. I credit this for some of his to's in recent games. As for Miles, Mason and Lance they do commit some really silly fouls and I'm not talking about illegal screens. I'm talking about reach-ins, over the back, frustration fouls. Those are wasted fouls that put us over the limit way too soon. We need to play solid defense and quit making these dumb fouls. Go Duke!

Chitowndevil
02-09-2010, 12:05 PM
Actually, some of us have been pointing this out for much of the season. One poster here quoted the basketball Zen master, Shane Battier, to the effect that a foul is the worst possible outcome.

Good old Len Elmore said Saturday that he thinks that Duke's bigs are playing without regard to their foul status. I can't really believe that. It's just too obvious a problem for our defense.

For Zoubek, I have some sympathy, because the refs seem to call him for fouls that they don't call on anyone else (although he is the one who made that silly foul Saturday at the end of the half). For the other bigs, it seems that they just let their emotions get the best of them.

Glad I'm not the only one then :)

I actually don't think that quote is from Shane. It's in an article about Shane here:
The No-Stats All-Star (NY Times) (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15/magazine/15Battier-t.html?pagewanted=4&_r=1)

The quote itself is attributed to Daryl Morey, GM of the Houston Rockets. To be fair, Battier does say about Kobe Bryant, "The absolute worst thing to do... is to foul him". So maybe I am splitting hairs!

IMO, it goes beyond emotion; this is something the staff needs to correct. Duke's opponents are getting .35 free throw attempts per field goal attempt, which ranks 120th nationally. Since 2003, Duke has never allowed more than .32 FTA/FGA and is often under 30%. Late season and/or close games tend to have higher FTA/FGA, so the difference is perhaps even more pronounced. In 6 of 11 games since January 1 (including all three Duke losses in that stretch), Duke's opponents FTA/FGA is 47.3% or higher. In comparison, the 2009 squad allowed a free throw rate that high in only 3 games all season.

Rich
02-09-2010, 12:43 PM
Another scorer. It's evident that Andre has hit that freshman wall. He's not moving like he did at the beginning of the year and he's not the shooter he was at the beginning of the year. I know that he's gone through things that would keep most young men down and out. But to his credit, he's competing. I look for Andre to make strides in practice and begin to get more minutes.

I won't take credit for this, but I heard from someone who really knows basketball (and played for Duke under Vic Bubas) and he said he thought that, while Andre's form is beautiful, his release is slow. While Andre could get his shot off earlier in the season when the competition wasn't as strong, opponents are bearing down on him quicker now that we're in ACC play and Andre is forced to shoot quicker than he's accustomed. I believe this is correctable, but I see that as an off-season fix and not something that's going to happen during the season.

CDu
02-09-2010, 12:52 PM
I agree with these points as key considerations, but I would add another question:

"Can Duke show they can defend against teams who spread the floor?"

We've had trouble against that type of team this year (Wisconsin, NC State, Georgetown). Teams that can spread the floor, shoot a bit from outside, attack our isolated big men in the post, and/or can attack off the dribble seem to give us fits.

We haven't had to do it much in the ACC so far because the ACC plays surprisingly tall/big this year. Only NC State really plays a 4-out approach among the teams we've faced in conference to this point. But with games against Maryland, UVa, and VT coming up, we're going to see a lot more of it in the rest of the regular season. And we'll almost certainly see it in the tournament.

Saratoga2
02-09-2010, 01:22 PM
[QUOTE=Jumbo;361353]OK, we're all going to play a little game at the start here, and it's called "Let's pretend Jumbo wrote this last Friday before the B.C. game, like he was supposed to have done." Cool? Fantastic! So, anyway, Phase IV does capture the period from the game at B.C. through the end of the regular season (when some team with fugly uniforms comes into Cameron). So over that nine-game stretch, here are the questions I'll ponder and analyze. I like the spirit of this thread, in that Pollyanna has been left home and instead you have given an honest appraisal of important areas.

3) Is Miles Plumlee just in a slump, or has he regressed?
Miles is stong and athletic but he seems to have lost confidence. He is struggling to catch balls thrown into him, has trouble finishing. His hook shot was thrown toward the basket without touch and his foul shooting hasn't been good. He also seems to have lost some of the defensive intensity needed. I thought he played best when in with his brother. That rarely happened, and rightly so, because of the defensive lapses they both make. The Plumlees may be our starting front court next year, so they need to learn now.

4) What is a realistic expectation for Mason Plumlee at this point?
Mason hasn't been getting the job done at all. He has so much potential, but it hasn't resulted in effective play. I believe he is having trouble concentating. He is guilty of a lot of silly frustration fouls. He needs to settle down and perform the simple things well. At this point, I doubt he will blossom this year and be the player we need. Miles has a much better chance.

5) Can Duke consistently shoot (reasonably) well from the perimeter, particularly on the road?
Our big three are guarded closely and rarely get really open shots. Singler has gotten the most open shots, but he has been really inconsistent with the three. As long as we have so little inside game, we will be closely guarded on the perimeter.

6) Speaking of 3-point shooting, will Duke find a fourth perimeter scorer?
Perhaps Ryan is enough of an all around player to be given the minutes needed to make an impact. So far we haven't seen him take more than a few 3's. We all remember he won the McDonalds 3 point shooting contest, but will that result in points in game situations. One way to tell is to let him try. Dawkins we know has the stroke, but has to have his overall game improve to get enough PT to be of any support.

7) Can Duke get a handle on its, uh, handling opponents?
This has been my pet peeve all year. Thomas is guilty of a lot of pushing and macho fouls, Mason gets a lot of frustration fouls and Zoubek is just awkward and has the refs looking for him. Miles gets a lot of reaching but is probably the better of the 4 in that his are frequently due to aggressive play.

jv001
02-09-2010, 01:39 PM
I won't take credit for this, but I heard from someone who really knows basketball (and played for Duke under Vic Bubas) and he said he thought that, while Andre's form is beautiful, his release is slow. While Andre could get his shot off earlier in the season when the competition wasn't as strong, opponents are bearing down on him quicker now that we're in ACC play and Andre is forced to shoot quicker than he's accustomed. I believe this is correctable, but I see that as an off-season fix and not something that's going to happen during the season.

This could be the case in Dre's misses lately. Another thing that I see, he's not getting the elevation on his jump shot as he did earlier in the season. Before he was shooting the ball at the apex of his jump but now he's not doing that. Could it be a bum ankle? With his slow release, some JJ screens would help him get his shot off. Go Duke!

phaedrus
02-09-2010, 03:32 PM
This could be the case in Dre's misses lately. Another thing that I see, he's not getting the elevation on his jump shot as he did earlier in the season. Before he was shooting the ball at the apex of his jump but now he's not doing that. Could it be a bum ankle? With his slow release, some JJ screens would help him get his shot off. Go Duke!

I certainly remember Andre having a pretty quick release and good elevation on his shot early in the year. Having only taken about 5 shots in the last 2 months, I can't really tell if this has changed or not.

Regarding this team's defensive potential, I seem to recall our defensive efficiency numbers being elite (top 5 in the country) prior to the NC State and Georgetown debacles. Whether those games represent a trend, a fluke, or examples of matchup problems, I think we're capable of being an elite defensive team against most teams.

trinity92
02-09-2010, 05:11 PM
Recently Coach K said that we had been spending all our recent practice time prepping for our next opponent rather than working on our own games, fundamentals, etc., but that he was changing his approach, although I don't recall him saying whether that would be for one or two practices, or more of them going forward. I believe all of Jumbo's well-made points discussing where we need to improve would be well-served by dedicating a larger proportion of our practices for the forseeable future to team development-- learning to get the ball to our bigs in better position, drilling defense fundamentals, better spacing when we send Kyle down low, etc. Especially with regard to that possible 4th or 5th scorer-- and I'm thinking Miles, Mason, Andre and Ryan here-- they're young players who really need some fundamental improvement.

While we endlessly have at each other as to whether playing starters heavy minutes allows our younger players to develop during the season, there should be less debate as to whether the team develops during practice. I, for one, would be much more willing to skew practice in a way that might cost us one of our upcoming (non-UNC) games because we're slightly less prepared for a particular opponent, if it means the team is more prepared for a stretch run in March.

That's not to say we shouldn't still drill for specific opponents, especially when they present a particular challenge like a pressing or trapping team, although I must admit my ignorance regarding the remaining teams on our schedule and whether they play that style. This should also go out the window for Carolina, who (I'm sure I'm the only one who feels this way) we simply must beat, and beat badly, every time we see them. I'm just hoping Coach will spend some extra time heading into the post-season teaching our players who really need it, even if it costs us a couple games, especially an OOC game like Tulsa. It should pay dividends down the road to the FF.

chrisheery
02-09-2010, 07:45 PM
Great post, as usual.

Key points I noted:

Using the big guys when they are open. The only way they are going to get better and be ready to contribute in key situations is to let them get used to having the ball in scoring positions.

Rebounding to finish possessions. At the beginning of the year, our defense was excellent because we finished possessions with defensive rebounding. I can't produce stats to back this up, but it feels like we have been a little lacking in this area recently. When you rebound well, your defense appears better. It forces the other team to feel pressure when shooting because they know it is the only shot they will get on that possession. Most of our rebounding deficiency recently has to do with poor positioning and poor concentration. BOX OUT. We have the size to get every rebound available, but we need to out think, out prepare, and outwork the other guys.

One more perimeter scorer. I agree that this is something that would help the team tremendously. I had hoped Andre would be the guy. I still think he can be, but he clearly has to do something that Coach K has asked of him. I know his ball-handling has not been excellent and I know his defense needs to improve. I don't know how much he can improve his ball-handling this year, but I expected his defense to be almost caught up by now. Not sure how we answer this question because Kelly is not going to have a much better time guarding on the perimeter and his outside shot is not as quick or consistent as Dre's. Something to watch for sure.

Hermy-own
02-09-2010, 07:49 PM
I agree with these points as key considerations, but I would add another question:

"Can Duke show they can defend against teams who spread the floor?"

We've had trouble against that type of team this year (Wisconsin, NC State, Georgetown). Teams that can spread the floor, shoot a bit from outside, attack our isolated big men in the post, and/or can attack off the dribble seem to give us fits.

We haven't had to do it much in the ACC so far because the ACC plays surprisingly tall/big this year. Only NC State really plays a 4-out approach among the teams we've faced in conference to this point. But with games against Maryland, UVa, and VT coming up, we're going to see a lot more of it in the rest of the regular season. And we'll almost certainly see it in the tournament.

Great point. This has been our achilles heel so far this year, and I look forward to seeing how we deal with it later in the year, especially against Maryland. I don't know if this would work, but is going with a small lineup helpful against teams that spread the floor?

If our problem is that the help defense needs to rotate underneath, but is all the way out on the perimeter, either Lance, or one of our 4 smaller guys would probably be the most capable at sliding over to help. Also, a smaller lineup would be better at preventing the 1v1 dribble penetration.

Jumbo
02-09-2010, 10:28 PM
Jumbo - I am curious to hear your views on whether you think Duke has a realistic chance to win the national championship. Good stuff as always. My two disagreements: I don't think we have any sort of pressing need to find a fourth perimeter scorer (I am not concerned about any aspects whatsoever of Scheyer's/Smith's game), and I wouldn't call this an "outstanding" defensive team.

Realistic? Yeah, I still think so. Things have to break right, but you can say that for most teams.
I agree that the fourth perimeter scorer isn't a pressing need, but it would be a nice addition. And the comment about us being an outstanding defensive team -- particulalry in the half-court -- is something K has said on many occasions (that this is the best defensive group he's had in a number of years).

Jumbo
02-09-2010, 10:31 PM
Jumbo, when we get to stall ball, put me in the camp that wants the ball in Nolan Smith's hands. I know Jon is the best decision-maker on the team by a lot, but he has struggled a number of times with the shot clock winding down (silly threes, turnovers, etc...). Nolan Smith has proven (and K has acknowledged) that he is the only one on the team that is good at creating his own shot. K's stall ball usually consists of winding the shot clock down to single digits and then running a high screen and roll. When Jon can't get the half step on his defender he has to pull out and shoot a long three or pass it. Nolan, however, can get that half step and drive the lane for the foul, the basket, or to draw the weakside defender allowing for a put-back opportunity.

Now, when K (rarely) runs different sets late in the shot clock for stall ball, sure. Give it to Jon. I want him running the show, but I think history, through previous seasons and this one, has shown that K wants that shot clock at 12-8 seconds and he wants the high ball screen. Give me Nolan every time.

Well, I'm not just talking about "stall-ball" when I'm talking about late-in-the-game execution. But my problem with just "giving it to Nolan" is that it basically means "have Nolan take a shot." Maybe he'll get all the way to the rim. But maybe he'll get bottled up. In those situations, his vision just isn't advanced enough to make a play for someone else. I like starting a bit earlier with Scheyer running something, as he's better off the dribble than he gets credit for and is proficient at drawing fouls. Most importantly, he has the best vision of anyone (by far). So, I like the idea of giving him enough time to kick to Nolan, who then has enough time to make a quick decision on whether to shoot or drive.

MChambers
02-10-2010, 06:58 AM
And the comment about us being an outstanding defensive team -- particulalry in the half-court -- is something K has said on many occasions (that this is the best defensive group he's had in a number of years).
I thought Coach K said something slightly different, that this team did the best job of understanding and applying the defense of any team he's had in recent years. In other words, from a mental approach, they understand team defense.

BlueintheFace
02-10-2010, 08:57 PM
Well, I'm not just talking about "stall-ball" when I'm talking about late-in-the-game execution. But my problem with just "giving it to Nolan" is that it basically means "have Nolan take a shot." Maybe he'll get all the way to the rim. But maybe he'll get bottled up. In those situations, his vision just isn't advanced enough to make a play for someone else. I like starting a bit earlier with Scheyer running something, as he's better off the dribble than he gets credit for and is proficient at drawing fouls. Most importantly, he has the best vision of anyone (by far). So, I like the idea of giving him enough time to kick to Nolan, who then has enough time to make a quick decision on whether to shoot or drive.

I'm sorry Jumbo, but you are just wrong. I just watched us drain the clock to ~10 on the shot clock before the half against Carolina. Jon had the ball (as usual), used a screen, and threw up a terrible shot (as usual). It just doesn't work... time and again. I love the kid, but he just isn't the right piece for those situations. This is one of the few areas where K is just wrong. Sooner or later he has to realize this. If he is going to draw up something more complex, have Jon run it, but if it is just a screen for the man with the ball at the top of the key, PLEASE .. NOLAN.

Indoor66
02-10-2010, 09:00 PM
I'm sorry Jumbo, but you are just wrong. I just watched us drain the clock to ~10 on the shot clock before the half against Carolina. Jon had the ball (as usual), used a screen, and threw up a terrible shot (as usual). It just doesn't work... time and again. I love the kid, but he just isn't the right piece for those situations. This is one of the few areas where K is just wrong. Sooner or later he has to realize this. If he is going to draw up something more complex, have Jon run it, but if it is just a screen for the man with the ball at the top of the key, PLEASE .. NOLAN.

Wow, all that conclusion based on a sample size of one! On top of that Nolan is 0 - 7 for the half.

Duvall
02-10-2010, 10:05 PM
I'm sorry Jumbo, but you are just wrong. I just watched us drain the clock to ~10 on the shot clock before the half against Carolina. Jon had the ball (as usual), used a screen, and threw up a terrible shot (as usual). It just doesn't work... time and again. I love the kid, but he just isn't the right piece for those situations. This is one of the few areas where K is just wrong. Sooner or later he has to realize this. If he is going to draw up something more complex, have Jon run it, but if it is just a screen for the man with the ball at the top of the key, PLEASE .. NOLAN.

Jon musta heard you, BitFace.

Jumbo
02-10-2010, 10:11 PM
I'm sorry Jumbo, but you are just wrong. I just watched us drain the clock to ~10 on the shot clock before the half against Carolina. Jon had the ball (as usual), used a screen, and threw up a terrible shot (as usual). It just doesn't work... time and again. I love the kid, but he just isn't the right piece for those situations. This is one of the few areas where K is just wrong. Sooner or later he has to realize this. If he is going to draw up something more complex, have Jon run it, but if it is just a screen for the man with the ball at the top of the key, PLEASE .. NOLAN.

I'm sorry, were you saying something? ;)

Duvall
02-10-2010, 10:13 PM
I'm sorry Jumbo, but you are just wrong. I just watched us drain the clock to ~10 on the shot clock before the half against Carolina. Jon had the ball (as usual), used a screen, and threw up a terrible shot (as usual). It just doesn't work... time and again. I love the kid, but he just isn't the right piece for those situations. This is one of the few areas where K is just wrong. Sooner or later he has to realize this. If he is going to draw up something more complex, have Jon run it, but if it is just a screen for the man with the ball at the top of the key, PLEASE .. NOLAN.

Jon musta heard you, BitFace. Don't make him angry.

No wait, do make him angry.

BlueintheFace
02-10-2010, 10:15 PM
I'm sorry, were you saying something? ;)

hahaha. I still maintain my point. I really do. The kid hit two daggers from three, but that isn't really the shot you want. No chance at a foul. No improved chance of a rebound. No chance of drawing a defender for an assist.

Jon using a screen and shooting a three is basically the Greg Paulus special.

BlueintheFace
02-10-2010, 10:16 PM
Wow, all that conclusion based on a sample size of one! On top of that Nolan is 0 - 7 for the half.

hahaha, must have missed my previous post. not a sample size of one at all. See my points above about how they weren't smart shots in that situation, but good shots tonight.

Jumbo
02-10-2010, 10:21 PM
hahaha. I still maintain my point. I really do. The kid hit two daggers from three, but that isn't really the shot you want. No chance at a foul. No improved chance of a rebound. No chance of drawing a defender for an assist.

Jon using a screen and shooting a three is basically the Greg Paulus special.

We're having good fun here, but in all seriousness, I still don't see your point. When Nolan makes a play for someone else off the high screen, I'll agree with you. And I have no problem giving it to Nolan really late in the clock and just telling him to shoot. But if you have enough time to run something with a couple of options on it (shoot, hit the screener, kick it out), Jon is far superior. I'm sorry, but it's true. And it's not the Paulus special -- not even close. Scheyer, in fact, is far better at getting to the line than Smith. (BTW, note to Nolan: GIVE THE BALL UP TO JON WHEN THE OTHER TEAM IS FOULING!)

ACCBBallFan
02-10-2010, 11:05 PM
With the injury to Lance, it opens up an opportunity for Ryan Kellly to be that fourth perimeter scorer, playing the role Kyle Singler did last year, but not as cirtical.

Like Zoubek, Kelly often looks goofy out there but Jumbo's +/-stats show Ryan like Z can be effective as coach K places him in the right situations.

So Duke is still a big man by committee without huge concern over which couple are in foul trouble as each offers a different set of strengths and weaknesses. Without Lance a key defender role is missing but with Ryan more offense could be a trade-off.

I think K will try to get what he can from the Plumlees and Z first. So in games like tonight where none are in excessive foul trouble, Ryan gets splinters but when he is needed, he has the potential to step up. The way each Plumlee is so willing to trade fouls for highlight reel blocks means Ryan will get some PT until Lance returns.

MD at least is weak at big man spots and strong a on perimeter. So if Lance has ot sit a game that might not be the worst to miss. If Lance is out an extended period, at least it is not versus teams like GA Tech, FSU, Wake and Clemson, until final ACC regular season game vs. UNC.

None of these have multiple big men , though some have one that is very good like Dwayne Collins and Jeff Allen

Maryland at Duke CBS 1:00 F13
Duke at Miami ESPN 7:00 F17
Virginia Tech at Duke FSN TBA F21
Tulsa at Duke ESPN or ESPN2 7:00 F25
Duke at Virginia FSN 7:45 F28
Duke at Maryland ESPN 9:00 (Sr. Night-Vasquez/Hayes/Milbourne) M03
North Carolina at Duke ESPN Game Day- (Sr. Night-Jon/Lance/Z) 9:00 M06

So I would expect the Duke bigs to pick up their offensive effectiveness during Phase IV from this point forward. Team hekp on defense could be problematic without Lance.

BlueintheFace
02-10-2010, 11:22 PM
We're having good fun here, but in all seriousness, I still don't see your point. When Nolan makes a play for someone else off the high screen, I'll agree with you. And I have no problem giving it to Nolan really late in the clock and just telling him to shoot. But if you have enough time to run something with a couple of options on it (shoot, hit the screener, kick it out), Jon is far superior. I'm sorry, but it's true. And it's not the Paulus special -- not even close. Scheyer, in fact, is far better at getting to the line than Smith. (BTW, note to Nolan: GIVE THE BALL UP TO JON WHEN THE OTHER TEAM IS FOULING!)

This is really what I am saying:

1) All we really run late in the clock is high screen and roll/ one v one on the perimeter.
2) When Jon has driven in these situations, I can not remember many successful plays
3) When Nolan has driven in these situations, I can remember many more successful trips.

NOTE: I think we both agree that a play to the hole is preferred to a three for efficiency's sake (better shot/ more likely offensive rebound).

4) If it wasn't pure screen/roll, I'd want Jon every time.

Now, if you tell me I am misremembering, maybe we are at an impasse.

Additionally, Nolan has a tendency to keep his head down. I am well aware, but wouldn't you rather have nolan drive regardless since he is a better creator for himself? I dunno, maybe you think it is worth giving up a bit in "ability to create a shot for yourself" to get "vision". All i can say is, I can't remember many times when Jon has dished late in the clock on those plays anyways. It seems like the only two outcomes this season have been, Nolan driving to finish or Jon driving to finish. I would rather Nolan drive to finish.

DukieInBrasil
02-11-2010, 08:59 AM
regarding Jumbo's pt #1: health. For the second time this season we have a player out due to injury (Mason missed the 1st 8 games or so) and now LT will be out for some undetermined span. LT is a crucial part of this team and his defense and rebounding will be sorely missed while he is out.
If there is a silver lining to this situation it is that Mason is almost guaranteed to get more burn, and if the UNC game is any indicator, that should be a good thing. It is also likely that Ryan Kelly will see more action, and as his role has been very limited lately, i am interested in seeing what he is able to do if he does get more opportunities. Almost by default, Andre will also probably play more even though he and LT don't overlap very much position-wise.
I have a hard time seeing Miles' status changing very much due to LTs absence, i think Miles' status is almost entirely dependent on how he himself plays, if he plays well he'll get more minutes.
At any rate, LT's injury definitely changes the dynamic of the team and I am hoping that we have the parts necessary to repair the damage of his absence, if not replace him (which i hope doesn't happen cuz i want LT to play more ball this season).

MChambers
02-11-2010, 10:13 AM
We're having good fun here, but in all seriousness, I still don't see your point. When Nolan makes a play for someone else off the high screen, I'll agree with you. And I have no problem giving it to Nolan really late in the clock and just telling him to shoot. But if you have enough time to run something with a couple of options on it (shoot, hit the screener, kick it out), Jon is far superior. I'm sorry, but it's true. And it's not the Paulus special -- not even close. Scheyer, in fact, is far better at getting to the line than Smith. (BTW, note to Nolan: GIVE THE BALL UP TO JON WHEN THE OTHER TEAM IS FOULING!)

See, I think Nolan is almost as good of a free throw shooter, so I'm fine with him going to the line. But I agree with you that I'm happiest with the ball in Jon's hands late in the game.

Jumbo
02-11-2010, 10:34 AM
See, I think Nolan is almost as good of a free throw shooter, so I'm fine with him going to the line. But I agree with you that I'm happiest with the ball in Jon's hands late in the game.

10% is a meaningful difference. When you have a 90% weapon, you have to use him, and that has to be crystal-clear to everyone on the team. What's worse is that Nolan seems to be consciously trying to hold onto the ball and get fouled. I suppose it's at least good that he has that kind of confidence, but he needs to understand that there's a better option in that situation.

CDu
02-11-2010, 10:38 AM
10% is a meaningful difference. When you have a 90% weapon, you have to use him, and that has to be crystal-clear to everyone on the team. What's worse is that Nolan seems to be consciously trying to hold onto the ball and get fouled. I suppose it's at least good that he has that kind of confidence, but he needs to understand that there's a better option in that situation.

I think you're overlooking hte risk of turnover here. I agree that if it's easy to get the ball to Scheyer, then obviously we should do that. However, I think it's not a bad idea for Smith to simply hold the ball and take the foul rather than force a tough pass to Scheyer and risk the turnover just to get a 10-12% edge in FT shooting.

Obviously Option A is Scheyer. But Smith and Singler aren't bad as Options B1 and C. Once they've got the ball, if Scheyer is available, get it to him. But if the defense is going to make it difficult to get it to Scheyer, I'm just fine with letting Smith or Singler take the foul.

Nrrrrvous
02-11-2010, 10:41 AM
All i can say is, I can't remember many times when Jon has dished late in the clock on those plays anyways.



Two games ago (?) Georgia Tech. Jon finds Kyle in the corner at the half with2 seconds to go. Kyle drains it.

Sorry, just have to agree with Jumbo on this one.

Wander
02-11-2010, 10:44 AM
10% is a meaningful difference. When you have a 90% weapon, you have to use him, and that has to be crystal-clear to everyone on the team. What's worse is that Nolan seems to be consciously trying to hold onto the ball and get fouled. I suppose it's at least good that he has that kind of confidence, but he needs to understand that there's a better option in that situation.

Scheyer is the 5th best free throw shooter in ACC play. Nolan is the 8th best free throw shooter in ACC play. If Nolan is about to get fouled it probably isn't worth the chance of a crazy turnover happening to have him worrying about passing the ball to Jon. You're really making too much of this.

Jumbo
02-11-2010, 10:53 AM
Scheyer is the 5th best free throw shooter in ACC play. Nolan is the 8th best free throw shooter in ACC play. If Nolan is about to get fouled it probably isn't worth the chance of a crazy turnover happening to have him worrying about passing the ball to Jon. You're really making too much of this.

I think you're making too much of the strawman that is the "crazy turnover." I'm not talking about a difficult pass. I'm talking about sometimes literally handing the ball to an open Scheyer. Also, sample size is an issue. On the season, Scheyer is at .891 from the line. Smith is at .774. Not sure why you are only usuing ACC games. I understand that in the scheme of things, this feels like a small issue. But it is attention to detail on small things like this that can be the difference between a win and a loss. See Duke's failure to get the ball to Scheyer on every play in the final minute at B.C. until the last one, and the missed FTs from Kelly, Dawkins, etc. We were always superb at getting the ball to J.J. in similar spots -- this should be mentioned in practice and the team should be clear about the instructions.

jv001
02-11-2010, 10:54 AM
Let's hope that Jumbo's #1. Injuries...Injury to Lance is not long lasting and he can come back quickly. Play hard and smart Mason& get well quick Lance. Go Duke!

CDu
02-11-2010, 10:54 AM
Scheyer is the 5th best free throw shooter in ACC play. Nolan is the 8th best free throw shooter in ACC play. If Nolan is about to get fouled it probably isn't worth the chance of a crazy turnover happening to have him worrying about passing the ball to Jon. You're really making too much of this.

Agreed. We're talking about a difference in expected points of about 0.24 (in the double bonus) and 0.31 (in the one-and-one). The risk of turnover (which would cost us 1.4-1.5 points from Smith) caused by trying to force it to Scheyer, the difference is negligible.

That's all contingent of course upon Smith already having the ball. I do agree that Scheyer should be the first option for us when the other team is trying to foul.

CDu
02-11-2010, 10:58 AM
I think you're making too much of the strawman that is the "crazy turnover." I'm not talking about a difficult pass. I'm talking about sometimes literally handing the ball to an open Scheyer. Also, sample size is an issue. On the season, Scheyer is at .891 from the line. Smith is at .774. Not sure why you are only usuing ACC games. I understand that in the scheme of things, this feels like a small issue. But it is attention to detail on small things like this that can be the difference between a win and a loss. See Duke's failure to get the ball to Scheyer on every play in the final minute at B.C. until the last one, and the missed FTs from Kelly, Dawkins, etc. We were always superb at getting the ball to J.J. in similar spots -- this should be mentioned in practice and the team should be clear about the instructions.

In situations in which you can just hand the ball to Scheyer, then I completely agree that the ball should go to him. But in situations in which the risk of turnovers is even 20%, then the benefit of trying to get it to Scheyer (from Smith) is negated.

MChambers
02-11-2010, 11:22 AM
Also, sample size is an issue. On the season, Scheyer is at .891 from the line. Smith is at .774. Not sure why you are only usuing ACC games.

Yes, but why only use this season? Last year, believe it or not, Smith was better at the line (.849 vs. .836). Yes, Jon is wonderful at the line, but Nolan is very close, and teams are going to focus on keeping the ball out of Jon's hands, so it may be easier to get to Nolan.

superdave
02-25-2010, 01:26 PM
1) Can Duke stay healthy?

Yes, bruised but healthy.


2) Can Duke take the most important step in truly running an excellent motion offense by becoming a better, more aware, passing team?

Motion offense is improving. Singler is the biggest beneficiary of this. Our offensive rebounding seems to benefit too.

3) Is Miles Plumlee just in a slump, or has he regressed?

Miles seems to have regressed. It appears to be a confidence thing with him because he is less aggressive and fouls when he hesitates.

4) What is a realistic expectation for Mason Plumlee at this point?

Mason still has a chance to contribute significantly as the unc game showed. But he probably is not going to "break out."

5) Can Duke consistently shoot (reasonably) well from the perimeter, particularly on the road?

Our road woes are growing smaller. We have shot better (motion offense) and more consistently brought our defense too. College Park may be a different story though.

6) Speaking of 3-point shooting, will Duke find a fourth perimeter scorer?

Kelly and Dawkins will get a few open looks per game. Dawkins is due.

7) Can Duke get a handle on its, uh, handling opponents?

Zoubek is fouling less. His screens are more crisp and he's reaching less when defending the post. That's why he's staying on the court longer.

Now if the Plumlees could follow suit, they would play more and would likely be able to pay more attention to scoring.

8) Can Duke maintain consistent energy and attention to detail?

Oure defense seems to be showing up more consistently. We're playing with more passion now and are so close to really taking off (hello, freshman productivity!)

9) Late-game execution

We've been tested more the past month than all season in late game situations. This is a good thing. I think Maryland could be the ultimate test (uhm, not to overlook Tulsa or anything).

Greg_Newton
02-25-2010, 02:23 PM
Interesting that Duke's "micro" keys to success (Mason, Miles, 4th perimeter scorer) have not developed as well as we'd hoped, yet most of the "macro" factors are still coming along quite nicely (i.e. more motion, utilizing Kyle better, road shooting, defensive intensity, late game execution).

Add in Zoubek's surge (which was such a surprise it didn't even make the list), and we're still coming along fairly well despite not seeing certain developments that many of us had viewed as crucial to this team's maturation into a truly dangerous team.

I still don't know if we're a final four threat without at least one of MP1/MP2/Dre consistently bringing something to the table, but at the very least we're a solid team right now that plays good basketball.

greybeard
02-25-2010, 03:08 PM
Really, really get everything Jumbo has had to say. Nothing to add. This is not an addition, just a wish:

What I would really like to see, is this team get behind the idea of getting Miles some good touches inside and his scoring the ball. I hate to see this guy struggle, especially when I think that he can contribute mightily. I think it would be great if the team's leaders take it upon themselves to get this guy going, whatever it takes. A few baskets, with his teammates insisting on it, and I think Miles just might take off and start playing the ball we all know he is capable of.

Yeah I know it's a tad soppy, but I watched a soppy version of The Three Musketeers on the tube last night. Truth. Hey, it worked for them.

jv001
02-25-2010, 03:15 PM
Really, really get everything Jumbo has had to say. Nothing to add. This is not an addition, just a wish:

What I would really like to see, is this team get behind the idea of getting Miles some good touches inside and his scoring the ball. I hate to see this guy struggle, especially when I think that he can contribute mightily. I think it would be great if the team's leaders take it upon themselves to get this guy going, whatever it takes. A few baskets, with his teammates insisting on it, and I think Miles just might take off and start playing the ball we all know he is capable of.

Yeah I know it's a tad soppy, but I watched a soppy version of The Three Musketeers on the tube last night. Truth. Hey, it worked for them.

I would like to see the ball go into Miles, catch without a bobble, go up strong and make the basket. He does not have to dunk it, just make the basket. It looks like Miles is trying too hard to succeed. I would like to see him just play and have fun. Don't put so much pressure on himself. He has a tremendous amount of talent and it hurts not to see it developed. Maybe he can take a look at how Zoubs has come on so strong and take the next step. I know he can. Go Duke!

GODUKEGO
02-25-2010, 03:17 PM
For Zoubek, I have some sympathy, because the refs seem to call him for fouls that they don't call on anyone else (although he is the one who made that silly foul Saturday at the end of the half). For the other bigs, it seems that they just let their emotions get the best of them.[/QUOTE]

I agree 100%. Just look at the VA Tech game when Zoub got the call. The ref's did go back and change it only with Coach K's expressed his opinion on the call. Zoub was 10 feet from the play. Yes he gets silly fouls, 20 feet from the basket or not establishing position on a screen. Watch how he gets pushed and sholved. He should not pivot any feet with the ball near the basket or he will get the travel call. Where we get hurt is when the opposition is getting the ball inside the paint to post up players. We foul or do not get good foot position and have to reach to play D. I must have missed when the three second call in the paint was eliminated. I record all the games, and love to watch play away from the ball. Incredible to watch Collins of Miami and Booker of Clemson and many others violating that rule. When was the last time you saw a 3 second violation. I attended the regionals in Greensboro last year. I counted at least ten 5 second violations against Pittman of Texas and not one was called.

Saratoga2
02-25-2010, 04:07 PM
I would like to see the ball go into Miles, catch without a bobble, go up strong and make the basket. He does not have to dunk it, just make the basket. It looks like Miles is trying too hard to succeed. I would like to see him just play and have fun. Don't put so much pressure on himself. He has a tremendous amount of talent and it hurts not to see it developed. Maybe he can take a look at how Zoubs has come on so strong and take the next step. I know he can. Go Duke!

When the ball has gone in, he doesn't seem ready to catch it. I think he has lost confidence and is trying to get into his next offensive move before completing the catch. He is coordinated, so I don't think that is the problem.

Another item I have noticed is that sometimes neither Miles or Mason make it back on defense quickly. Lance shows them how to do it, but their attention seems to be elsewhere.

chrisheery
02-25-2010, 04:41 PM
I have to agree that a real push by the three S's to force Miles to take some shots would really help his confidence (and the team overall). It is one thing to go looking for your offense to try to get yourself rolling. It is completely another when your teammates actively seek you out to get you going. Miles seems like the type of guy that constantly needs to be reminded that people believe in him and want to see him succeed. It would be nice to see our best players take the leadership role to do that for him. I don't think Andre has that issue at all, nor Mason. I think they just need to take better advantage of the opportunities they have gotten and will get. They are only freshman. I fear that if Miles doesn't see the pendulum swing back in the good direction soon, it may not come back to start next season either. We will need him next season and he could be the missing piece of a final four run this year.

superdave
02-25-2010, 08:22 PM
Miles looked good tonight. But does Zoubek's emergence pretty much alleviate the pressure on the Plumlees?

Also, we could use a few jumpers out of Kelly and Dawkins just as much!

The defense and rebounding are fantastic to see. All our bigs did a great job on Tulsa's Jordan.

Jumbo
02-25-2010, 08:30 PM
1) Can Duke stay healthy?

Yes, bruised but healthy.


2) Can Duke take the most important step in truly running an excellent motion offense by becoming a better, more aware, passing team?

Motion offense is improving. Singler is the biggest beneficiary of this. Our offensive rebounding seems to benefit too.

3) Is Miles Plumlee just in a slump, or has he regressed?

Miles seems to have regressed. It appears to be a confidence thing with him because he is less aggressive and fouls when he hesitates.

4) What is a realistic expectation for Mason Plumlee at this point?

Mason still has a chance to contribute significantly as the unc game showed. But he probably is not going to "break out."

5) Can Duke consistently shoot (reasonably) well from the perimeter, particularly on the road?

Our road woes are growing smaller. We have shot better (motion offense) and more consistently brought our defense too. College Park may be a different story though.

6) Speaking of 3-point shooting, will Duke find a fourth perimeter scorer?

Kelly and Dawkins will get a few open looks per game. Dawkins is due.

7) Can Duke get a handle on its, uh, handling opponents?

Zoubek is fouling less. His screens are more crisp and he's reaching less when defending the post. That's why he's staying on the court longer.

Now if the Plumlees could follow suit, they would play more and would likely be able to pay more attention to scoring.

8) Can Duke maintain consistent energy and attention to detail?

Oure defense seems to be showing up more consistently. We're playing with more passion now and are so close to really taking off (hello, freshman productivity!)

9) Late-game execution

We've been tested more the past month than all season in late game situations. This is a good thing. I think Maryland could be the ultimate test (uhm, not to overlook Tulsa or anything).

I don't understand why you want to review this now. The phase isn't over yet.

roywhite
02-25-2010, 08:34 PM
I don't understand why you want to review this now. The phase isn't over yet.

A progress report?

A mid-term?

Jumbo
02-25-2010, 08:38 PM
A progress report?

A mid-term?

I'm extremely concerned about jinxing things -- particularly item #1 -- before the phase is over.

NSDukeFan
02-26-2010, 11:32 AM
I still don't know if we're a final four threat without at least one of MP1/MP2/Dre consistently bringing something to the table, but at the very least we're a solid team right now that plays good basketball.
I don't think we need any one of our underclassmen to consistently bring something to the table. I think we just need at least one of them to make some solid contributions in a couple tournament games (ACC and NCAA) to make long runs. I also don't think it has to be the same player.

I have to agree that a real push by the three S's to force Miles to take some shots would really help his confidence (and the team overall).

I agree with your general premise that it would be nice to get Miles some more opportunities, but I would disagree with forcing Miles to take some shots. I would much rather he get a bunch of touches on the block and pass it back out if nothing is available.

CDu
02-26-2010, 12:01 PM
I don't think we need any one of our underclassmen to consistently bring something to the table. I think we just need at least one of them to make some solid contributions in a couple tournament games (ACC and NCAA) to make long runs. I also don't think it has to be the same player.


I agree with your general premise that it would be nice to get Miles some more opportunities, but I would disagree with forcing Miles to take some shots. I would much rather he get a bunch of touches on the block and pass it back out if nothing is available.

I agree. If the matchups are right, I think we could get through the first 2-3 rounds without big offensive efforts from anyone beyond the big three, assuming our defense holds up.

It's in the second weekend (if we're fortunate enough to get there) and beyond (again, if we're really fortunate) that having another weapon or two could really come into play.

superdave
02-26-2010, 12:08 PM
I don't understand why you want to review this now. The phase isn't over yet.

Because this thread is far more interesting and thoughtful than all the others!

NSDukeFan
02-26-2010, 12:15 PM
I agree. If the matchups are right, I think we could get through the first 2-3 rounds without big offensive efforts from anyone beyond the big three, assuming our defense holds up.

It's in the second weekend (if we're fortunate enough to get there) and beyond (again, if we're really fortunate) that having another weapon or two could really come into play.

I think we could (in theory) win out without a big statistical contribution from our underclassmen, if all of the big 3 are firing on all cylinders. I don't think that is likely for all tournament games though and that is when I think we will need contributions from the MPs and/or Dawkins.

CDu
02-26-2010, 12:22 PM
I think we could (in theory) win out without a big statistical contribution from our underclassmen, if all of the big 3 are firing on all cylinders. I don't think that is likely for all tournament games though and that is when I think we will need contributions from the MPs and/or Dawkins.

Right. If we got 60-70 points from the big three alone every game, we'd be okay. And I think that with our defense against the weaker teams earlier in the tournament, we could even survive a slightly off night from one or two of the big three. But I think the likelihood of an off-night from the big three increases with the strength of the competition (better teams are more likely to give trouble to their opponents). That's why I think we'll probably need that 4th/5th option to step up in the second/third weekends if we're fortunate to get that far.

jimsumner
02-26-2010, 12:26 PM
"I think we could (in theory) win out without a big statistical contribution from our underclassmen, if all of the big 3 are firing on all cylinders. I don't think that is likely for all tournament games though and that is when I think we will need contributions from the MPs and/or Dawkins. "

There's another possibility. Zoubek continues to provide a credible low-post option and Lance's knee improves and he provides a tad more offense, to go along with the rebounding and defense he's still providing.

NSDukeFan
02-26-2010, 12:45 PM
"I think we could (in theory) win out without a big statistical contribution from our underclassmen, if all of the big 3 are firing on all cylinders. I don't think that is likely for all tournament games though and that is when I think we will need contributions from the MPs and/or Dawkins. "

There's another possibility. Zoubek continues to provide a credible low-post option and Lance's knee improves and he provides a tad more offense, to go along with the rebounding and defense he's still providing.

I agree with both you and CDu. I hope we can continue to get contributions from Z and Lance, but somewhere along the line (and I agree with CDu that the chances increase each game) we will likely need some Dawkins 3s, or MP put backs or alley-oops, or nice post entries or an open J from Ryan.

mike88
03-10-2010, 01:30 AM
1) Can Duke stay healthy?

2) Can Duke take the most important step in truly running an excellent motion offense by becoming a better, more aware, passing team?

3) Is Miles Plumlee just in a slump, or has he regressed?

4) What is a realistic expectation for Mason Plumlee at this point?

5) Can Duke consistently shoot (reasonably) well from the perimeter, particularly on the road?

6) Speaking of 3-point shooting, will Duke find a fourth perimeter scorer?

7) Can Duke get a handle on its, uh, handling opponents?

8) Can Duke maintain consistent energy and attention to detail?

9) Late-game execution


Overall, I think we saw mostly positive results on these issues in the second half of the ACC regular season. Duke has stayed healthy and the motion offense has worked well. Kyle has been playing at a very high level, as have Jon and Nolan. I have seen some positive signs from Mason and Miles, but also some negative ones as well. Fortunately, Brian and Lance have continued to play very well, particularly in terms of defense and rebounding. Andre has shown signs of getting his shot back and has been able to provide some good minutes in the backcourt.

I think from here on out, we will have to combine the following in order to a) win the ACC tournament; b) advance beyond the Sweet Sixteen:

1) continue to rebound well (positive rebound margin)
2) shoot reasonably well (eFG over 45-50%)
3) keep turnovers very low
4) continue to play good defense, as we have done in most games


We have yet to play enough good teams on neutral courts to know whether we can expect results more akin to what we have seen at home (in which case we may well be headed to the Final Four) or on the road (in which case the Sweet Sixteen will be a tough game).

DukieInBrasil
03-10-2010, 09:29 AM
Regarding play on neutral courts, we have several good wins actually. We crushed a very good, and still highly ranked Gonzaga team. We beat uCon, who is a tourney worthy team. We beat ASU who might be a tourney team and also ISU, who probably won't make the tourney but who recently beat a highly regarded KSU team. Our true road schedule was pretty lack-luster earlier, but is actually quite adequate now. True road games are a pet favorite of lots of people but don't necessarily indicate much about the NCAAT, b/c there are no true road games in the Dance.

noyac
03-10-2010, 09:54 AM
We beat uCon, who is a tourney worthy team.

I really don't think Uconn is a tournament worthy team. 17-15 overall and 7-11 in conference and lost by 22 in the opening round of that Big East Tournament.

If they are tournament worthy then I guess UNC is too 16-15 overall and 5-11 in conference and hopefully a loss (by 20 or more?) in the opening round of the ACC tournament.

davekay1971
03-10-2010, 09:57 AM
I really don't think Uconn is a tournament worthy team. 17-15 overall and 7-11 in conference and lost by 22 in the opening round of that Big East Tournament.

If they are tournament worthy then I guess UNC is too 16-15 overall and 5-11 in conference and hopefully a loss (by 20 or more?) in the opening round of the ACC tournament.

Depends on which tournament we're talking about :D

noyac
03-10-2010, 10:32 AM
I think Uconn and UNC can make it in the Collegeinsider.com tournament (CIT) and might do fairly well

http://www.collegeinsider.com/tournament/

KyDevilinIL
03-10-2010, 11:03 AM
1) continue to rebound well (positive rebound margin)
2) shoot reasonably well (eFG over 45-50%)
3) keep turnovers very low
4) continue to play good defense, as we have done in most games


Ha. If we do all these things, especially No. 2, I think we'll win the whole darn thing.

Just not sure I see it happening. If we shoot close to 50 percent from the floor from here on out, we could be nearly unbeatable. We get an enormous number of open/good looks; we just don't make as many as we conceivably could. If we get on a hot streak, look out.

But expecting to shoot that well for nine straight tournament games, however, especially considering how many shots we take from 15 feet and out, is dangerous.

CDu
03-10-2010, 11:12 AM
Ha. If we do all these things, especially No. 2, I think we'll win the whole darn thing.

Just not sure I see it happening. If we shoot close to 50 percent from the floor from here on out, we could be nearly unbeatable. We get an enormous number of open/good looks; we just don't make as many as we conceivably could. If we get on a hot streak, look out.

But expecting to shoot that well for nine straight tournament games, however, especially considering how many shots we take from 15 feet and out, is dangerous.

Note that the previous poster said "eFG%", not "FG%". Effective FG% (eFG%) takes into account shooting threes by multiplying the number of made threes by 1.5 (to account for the fact that threes are worth 1.5 more points than twos). For reference, our eFG% over the last 10 games is 47%. For the season, it's 50.7%. So what the previous poster was saying is a very reasonable request. It's actually in line with what we've done of late, and below our season average.

flyingdutchdevil
03-10-2010, 11:16 AM
Ha. If we do all these things, especially No. 2, I think we'll win the whole darn thing.

Just not sure I see it happening. If we shoot close to 50 percent from the floor from here on out, we could be nearly unbeatable. We get an enormous number of open/good looks; we just don't make as many as we conceivably could. If we get on a hot streak, look out.

But expecting to shoot that well for nine straight tournament games, however, especially considering how many shots we take from 15 feet and out, is dangerous.

Agreed. As our past dozen games have indicated, we will continue to do 1), 3), and 4) well. That only will probably get us into the Sweet Sixteen. Shooting 45-50%, especially with no consistent post player (Zoubs doesn't get enough touches to have a large impact on FG%), would be an amazing feat. Hell, we barely shot 45% vs UNC this past weekend!

CDu
03-10-2010, 11:20 AM
Agreed. As our past dozen games have indicated, we will continue to do 1), 3), and 4) well. That only will probably get us into the Sweet Sixteen. Shooting 45-50%, especially with no consistent post player (Zoubs doesn't get enough touches to have a large impact on FG%), would be an amazing feat. Hell, we barely shot 45% vs UNC this past weekend!

They've also indicated that we've done #2 well. Our eFG over the past dozen games is 47%. Our eFG for the UNC game was 53%.

flyingdutchdevil
03-10-2010, 11:41 AM
They've also indicated that we've done #2 well. Our eFG over the past dozen games is 47%. Our eFG for the UNC game was 53%.

I'm pretty sure we're talking about FG, not effective FG. 45-50% FG = ~50-55 (and probably higher) eFG.

It's hard to argue that Duke is a good shooting team. We do a lot of great things - defense, rebounding, hustling, 3-pt shooting, but FG isn't one of them. Is there a reason that Coach K has said this team is really good but not great? I personally think it's the shooting.

CDu
03-10-2010, 11:45 AM
I'm pretty sure we're talking about FG, not effective FG. 45-50% FG = ~50-55 (and probably higher) eFG.

It's hard to argue that Duke is a good shooting team. We do a lot of great things - defense, rebounding, hustling, 3-pt shooting, but FG isn't one of them. Is there a reason that Coach K has said this team is really good but not great? I personally think it's the shooting.

The original post by mike88 in this discussion specifically stated eFG, not FG. The post you responded to may have misinterpreted that to just mean FG. So while you may be talking about FG, the original post was not out of line in asking for a 45-50% eFG.

As for your opinion of our shooting, I'd say we're a very good shooting team. We shoot 38-39% 3pt FG% and we shoot very well from the line. It's shooting around the basket (which I'd say is finishing, not shooting) that could use work. But for the season, we're an effectively very good shooting team (50% eFG for the season).

DukieInBrasil
03-10-2010, 11:53 AM
I really don't think Uconn is a tournament worthy team. 17-15 overall and 7-11 in conference and lost by 22 in the opening round of that Big East Tournament.

If they are tournament worthy then I guess UNC is too 16-15 overall and 5-11 in conference and hopefully a loss (by 20 or more?) in the opening round of the ACC tournament.

you're right, I guess i haven't paid much attention to UCon lately, they must have really hit the skids since i last checked. Plus losing in the first round of their tourney is another strike against them. I wouldn't put them in the tourney with that record either.

KyDevilinIL
03-10-2010, 12:03 PM
Note that the previous poster said "eFG%", not "FG%". Effective FG% (eFG%) takes into account shooting threes by multiplying the number of made threes by 1.5 (to account for the fact that threes are worth 1.5 more points than twos). For reference, our eFG% over the last 10 games is 47%. For the season, it's 50.7%. So what the previous poster was saying is a very reasonable request. It's actually in line with what we've done of late, and below our season average.

Ah. Thanks. I didn't notice the little e and therefore stand corrected.

That said, if our eFG is already at the 45-50 percent level, then I feel like it's got to improve at least a few percentage points in order for us to make a real run. Maybe it's my bias, but looking at the games, it sure feels like we leave more reasonable points unscored than do some of the other high-level teams.

flyingdutchdevil
03-10-2010, 12:06 PM
The original post by mike88 in this discussion specifically stated eFG, not FG. The post you responded to may have misinterpreted that to just mean FG. So while you may be talking about FG, the original post was not out of line in asking for a 45-50% eFG.

As for your opinion of our shooting, I'd say we're a very good shooting team. We shoot 38-39% 3pt FG% and we shoot very well from the line. It's shooting around the basket (which I'd say is finishing, not shooting) that could use work. But for the season, we're an effectively very good shooting team (50% eFG for the season).

My bad. Completely misread the eFG. You're right on that one.

With regards to shooting, I think it is our biggest weakness (baring no injuries, obviously). we can shoot 3s, but that is only one aspect of shooting. Our jump shots, for the most part, are pretty awful. It is by far the weakest part of Singler's and Scheyer's game.

CDu
03-10-2010, 12:14 PM
With regards to shooting, I think it is our biggest weakness (baring no injuries, obviously). we can shoot 3s, but that is only one aspect of shooting. Our jump shots, for the most part, are pretty awful. It is by far the weakest part of Singler's and Scheyer's game.

Mid-range jumpshots are the weakest part of every team's game. It's the "lost art of basketball," after all. But I'd argue that finishing within 10 feet of the basket is our biggest weakness as a "shooting" team relative to other teams. And really, I'd argue that it's our lack of ability to generate easy transition baskets that is our biggest weakness. I think we're as good a shooting team as anybody in the country. We just struggle to generate as many "easy" baskets as some of the other elite teams do.

Kedsy
03-10-2010, 12:16 PM
My bad. Completely misread the eFG. You're right on that one.

With regards to shooting, I think it is our biggest weakness (baring no injuries, obviously). we can shoot 3s, but that is only one aspect of shooting. Our jump shots, for the most part, are pretty awful. It is by far the weakest part of Singler's and Scheyer's game.

You mean our 2-point jump shots? That's everybody's worst shot. But it seems to me lately we've had more trouble with our close-in shots. (EDIT: it looks like CDu beat me to the punch on this observation.)

As long as our eFG is as good as (or better then) our opponent's eFG and our rebounding stays strong and our defense turns them over more then we cough it up, we win. We're not going to win many games against good teams in a shootout, which is why defense and rebounding (and taking care of the ball) are the biggest keys for our success, and not our shooting percentage.

NSDukeFan
03-10-2010, 12:21 PM
You mean our 2-point jump shots? That's everybody's worst shot. But it seems to me lately we've had more trouble with our close-in shots. (EDIT: it looks like CDu beat me to the punch on this observation.)

As long as our eFG is as good as (or better then) our opponent's eFG and our rebounding stays strong and our defense turns them over more then we cough it up, we win. We're not going to win many games against good teams in a shootout, which is why defense and rebounding (and taking care of the ball) are the biggest keys for our success, and not our shooting percentage.
The team has already proven on several occasions this year that it can win even if 3 pointers aren't falling or it is a generally bad shooting day, assuming your keys are taken care of.

greybeard
03-10-2010, 12:22 PM
The 15 to 17 foot shot for Miles, Lance and Mason (perhaps less so) has to be there at least a couple of times a game, and, if they make a couple (see Miles the last game or the game before) you go to it until the other team really guards the guy.

This shot opens up the middle and puts pressure on the other team's bigs and takes it off Duke's exterior guys.

I think Lance and Miles can make that shot a very strong percentage and should be expected to. If K insists, keep it to the first half unless they prove themselves. Then, maybe think of going to it in the second half to open and mix things up a bit.

Where I see Kyle really being effective inside is not off the post up so much as catching on the wing between the foul line extended and the baseline and inside the three. He is wicked getting to the rim from their, shooting a little floating hook shot, or stopping in the middle and shooting a jump shot. We saw this against UNC alot, which K might have stolen from Maryland's effectiveness in attacking Duke from that spot. An excellent way for Kyle to put pressure on the basket.

I would encourage Mason (1) when he comes high to be patient and not wander farther than a step beyond the line to receive. A passing lane will open, and catching at the foul line his options I think are much more potent. (2). I would try to get him touches in the block early in the clock and to have him just get it back out without the need to make anything happen. He needs to touch it and get rid of it. Be in the rhythm of the offensive flow. His timing on defense and judgment will improve. The caddie to Tin Cup (who just asked how come he had been shanking and those crazy things the caddy told him to do had straightened out his shot) "You were thinking too much." Tin Cup, "Why that's hardly ever been the case before."

By the way, the last game Mason made a move off the low block he made two jump shots off the bounce from the middle of the lane.

The problem with feeding the screener after the screen is the screens often are out high and the other team has a floater who is in the lane, making a pass on the move problematic. I'd have the screener go to the side of the lane off the ball and then look to roll back or be there for a lob if the ball handler penetrates. It is pointless to have them, as they currently do, proceed slowly and act as if they are a potential receiver. Not a percentage play with the floater present and that is why they don't get it. But, if they get inside position at the low block on the off side, that is a very, very dangerous position and one that the floater must honor, thus leaving the middle completely unguarded, or leaving a big open for a lob or an off side rebound. If the floater comes to guard the big, the big then can step in front and beat the guy and be available for a pass and layup finish.

I do get carried away with this stuff don't I. :o

flyingdutchdevil
03-10-2010, 12:22 PM
Mid-range jumpshots are the weakest part of every team's game. It's the "lost art of basketball," after all. But I'd argue that finishing within 10 feet of the basket is our biggest weakness as a "shooting" team relative to other teams. And really, I'd argue that it's our lack of ability to generate easy transition baskets that is our biggest weakness. I think we're as good a shooting team as anybody in the country. We just struggle to generate as many "easy" baskets as some of the other elite teams do.

But this team isn't built for "easy" buckets (lack of guards, lack of gambling on D, lack of a true, reliable post presence). That said, considering our record, our shooting SHOULD be really really really good. But the numbers don't back it up. I don't think we're a great O team, but we're a decent one. It's our D that gets it done. I understand that O is important, but our D has given us our record and made us the ACC reg season champs (I know, I know, this isn't a title but it's still true).

IMO, I think we're not a good shooting team. But that doesn't matter because I still think we'll go far. Offense wins games, defense wins tournaments (BTW, who said that phrase?)

NSDukeFan
03-10-2010, 12:26 PM
The 15 to 17 foot shot for Miles, Lance and Mason (perhaps less so) has to be there at least a couple of times a game, and, if as has occurred on more than one occasion, Miles the last game or the game before, until the other team really guards the guy playing the 4 in that position.

This shot opens up the middle and puts pressure on the other team's bigs and takes it off Duke's exterior guys.

I think Lance and Miles can make that shot a very strong percentage and should be expected to. If K insists, keep it to the first half unless they prove themselves then and maybe go deeper into the second half.

Where I see Kyle really being effective inside is not off the post up so much as catching on the wing between the foul line extended and the baseline and inside the three. He is wicked getting to the rim from their, shooting a little floating hook shot, or stopping in the middle and shooting a jump shot. We saw this against UNC alot, which K might have stolen from Maryland's effectiveness in attacking Duke from that spot. An excellent way for Kyle to put pressure on the basket.

I would encourage Mason (1) when he comes high to be patient and not wander farther than a step beyond the line to receive. A passing lane will open, and catching at the foul line his options I think are much more potent. (2). I would try to get him touches in the block early in the clock and to have him just get it back out without the need to make anything happen. He needs to touch it and get rid of it. Be in the rhythm of the offensive flow. His timing on defense and judgment will improve. The caddie to Tin Cup (who just asked how come he had been shanking and those crazy things the caddy told him to do had straightened out his shot) "You were thinking too much." Tin Cup, "Why that's hardly ever been the case before."

By the way, the last game Mason made a move off the low block he made two jump shots off the bounce from the middle of the lane.

The problem with feeding the screener after the screen is the screens often are out high and the other team has a floater who is in the lane, making a pass on the move problematic. I'd have the screener go to the side of the lane off the ball and then look to roll back or be there for a lob if the ball handler penetrates. It is pointless to have them, as they currently do, proceed slowly and act as if they are a potential receiver. Not a percentage play with the floater present and that is why they don't get it. But, if they get inside position at the low block on the off side, that is a very, very dangerous position and one that the floater must honor, thus leaving the middle completely unguarded, or leaving a big open for a lob or an off side rebound. If the floater comes to guard the big, the big then can step in front and beat the guy and be available for a pass and layup finish.

I do get carried away with this stuff don't I. :o

I think you do get carried away, but you I thought you made a couple of excellent points. Mason getting touches in closer to the hoop, like Kyle has been lately, would likely increase his effectiveness greatly. That may not happen this year, as it may crowd our big 3 and take away some of their chances, but I think he has the talent to take advantage. I also agree we haven't gotten much offense from the screeners in our offense lately.

CDu
03-10-2010, 12:43 PM
But this team isn't built for "easy" buckets (lack of guards, lack of gambling on D, lack of a true, reliable post presence). That said, considering our record, our shooting SHOULD be really really really good. But the numbers don't back it up. I don't think we're a great O team, but we're a decent one. It's our D that gets it done. I understand that O is important, but our D has given us our record and made us the ACC reg season champs (I know, I know, this isn't a title but it's still true).



IMO, I think we're not a good shooting team. But that doesn't matter because I still think we'll go far. Offense wins games, defense wins tournaments (BTW, who said that phrase?)

That's my point. We aren't a team capable of generating a lot of easy buckets. Luckily, we are a really really good shooting team. That helps offset the fact that we're not a team capable of creating a lot of easy buckets.

I think the facts would disagree with you on the idea that we are not a good shooting team. I think we're a team that shoots really well, but isn't able to get a lot of easy buckets. If you were to compare our shooting on all jumpshots and 3pt shots, I'd bet we're up there. It's the lack of transition buckets that brings down our FG%.

greybeard
03-10-2010, 02:59 PM
That's my point. We aren't a team capable of generating a lot of easy buckets. Luckily, we are a really really good shooting team. That helps offset the fact that we're not a team capable of creating a lot of easy buckets.

I think the facts would disagree with you on the idea that we are not a good shooting team. I think we're a team that shoots really well, but isn't able to get a lot of easy buckets. If you were to compare our shooting on all jumpshots and 3pt shots, I'd bet we're up there. It's the lack of transition buckets that brings down our FG%.

Fascinating discussion, and definitely agree with the lack of transition buckets issue. However, there is more here as to whether Duke is a good shooting team, at least perhaps, then meets the eye.

Anyone who wants to deny the Big Three great looks is going to have a night of HELL. I mean, Zoubek presents a mountain of an obstacle and on a single set might present at least three such obstacles for people to encounter, and work like the devil (oops) because of it. And that's just him.

Add to that the paths that the Big Three run, the way they fad at times, go at times, cross at times, etc. The way they can all play and shoot well off the bounce. So now defending Duke's outside shooting is unlike defending anyone else's, or at least nearly so. It wears you out mentally and physically in ways that you can't acclimate to before hand.

Now, if Z can continue to get 5 or more extra looks, often incredibly well timed step-in 3s off offensive rebounds, we are adding pressure to the normal defensive energy drain, adding a lot of pressure. Sure, on many teams, let's say 60 percent of those rebounds result in successful put backs or fouls. Take away the one or two that Z usually gets, and the percentages are not so skewed. Also, we have begun seeing both Ps getting an offensive board with no easy put back and immediately looking for a step in jump shooter.

I think that if you take the last five games you will see a better percentage of scoring in the paint by the Big Three than before, even though against easier teams at the beginning of the season they might have gotten all the way to the rim more easily.

The real issue is baskets at the rim in crunch time. Other teams can hurt Duke more easily at the rim than the other way around. In fact, one can say that that decided the Maryland game.

On the other hand, Jon, Kyle and Nolan got inside the paint down the stretch and finished until that one drive by Jon.

I do not think that now is the time to start thinking of going inside off the pass late in a close game to get a basket, and do not think that the bigs have been deployed to fill drop off lanes off of set plays, which is what John's drive appeared to be. I think that their directive is to get to the offensive board instead, usually on the off side where most rebounds go.

I have been looking all year for an investment that would create the option of penetration passes leading to scores at the rim in the second halves of games, but that has not happened. Instead, Duke has become terrifically efficient at wearing down opponents with its motion and terrific screening and with bigs going to the offensive board.

It took a ridiculously lucky shot by G to beat them at that game the last time. Maybe no one else will have such luck.

If K can get the 3 some rest minutes so they will have a little more left in the tank at the end of close ones, well, you got yourselves a rooting chance. What more can you ask for in this life.

YourLandlord
03-10-2010, 03:23 PM
well, you got yourselves a rooting chance. What more can you ask for in this life.
Amen, brotha.

I am pumped and jacked and stoked for this NCAA tournament.

Bring. It. On.

(and win the ACC along the way :cool: )

Jumbo
03-10-2010, 05:38 PM
I'll post a wrap-up and then a Phase V entry tonight.

Newton_14
03-10-2010, 06:52 PM
I'll post a wrap-up and then a Phase V entry tonight.

Great! Thanks. I have been anxiously awaiting Phase V. Almost pinged you last night to make sure you had not forgotten. (Since you seem to be slipping in your duties lately!:D)

Just funnin with you a little.:p I look forward to the Phase V post.

CDu
03-10-2010, 07:03 PM
Great! Thanks. I have been anxiously awaiting Phase V. Almost pinged you last night to make sure you had not forgotten. (Since you seem to be slipping in your duties lately!:D)

Just funnin with you a little.:p I look forward to the Phase V post.

I thought about making a fake "Phase V" thread (but with no content), just to see the reaction. Looking forward to the Phase V discussion as well!

Newton_14
03-10-2010, 07:11 PM
Anyone who wants to deny the Big Three great looks is going to have a night of HELL. I mean, Zoubek presents a mountain of an obstacle and on a single set might present at least three such obstacles for people to encounter, and work like the devil (oops) because of it. And that's just him.


In the Miami game, Hubert Smith counted the Zoubs screens on one of the possessions and Z set 6 screens, rebounded the missed shot and I believe kicked it back out for a 3 pointer. I would say on any given possession where we do not take an early shot Zoubs averages between 4 to 6 screens. That is a lot and he has become highly effective at it.

But heck, lately he has been highly effective at just about every aspect of his game. The jump hook against unc, and the screen and roll, catch and finger roll basket against I think Tulsa were just sweet to watch. I hope we see a lot more of that in the next 9 games or so..

greybeard
03-10-2010, 10:02 PM
I agree with both you and CDu. I hope we can continue to get contributions from Z and Lance, but somewhere along the line (and I agree with CDu that the chances increase each game) we will likely need some Dawkins 3s, or MP put backs or alley-oops, or nice post entries or an open J from Ryan.

This definitely can. No really it can.

This team is becoming ever more a team. Yes, not saying it will, but this, hey, these guys can ALL really play. All of them. Really! Ryan, he was born to see and do it before the other guy--let the other guy catch up and pass the play by and then strike. I'm calling him "Viper." Dawkins, he only needs to find space and get a loose ball, a long rebound, be well positioned on D. I'm calling him Stealth. MPs just need to touch it and give it up several times every other possession or so. Watch film from late in the year of Elliott. He'd catch and pass it with such ease in his body you'd think he was in his Mom's kitchen. That's where the MPs will find themselves if they just catch it and pass it. Then the moments will find them. I'm calling them, Left and Right, let them chose which is which.

Yes, this can happen!

Jumbo
03-11-2010, 12:06 AM
1) Can Duke stay healthy?
The team had some pretty heavy bangs and bruises (Thomas' knee, Singler's wrist, Scheyer's back, Zoubek's finger, etc.) but no one missed a game. That's pretty remarkable. Here's hoping everyone can remain in good shape.

2) Can Duke take the most important step in truly running an excellent motion offense by becoming a better, more aware, passing team?
Oddly, I don't think the team made significant strides in this area. Nolan and Kyle still aren't kicking the ball out off their drives quite as effectively as they should. The guards still aren't recognizing open bigs after the set a down screen for a curling wing, or when they roll to the basket after a ballscreen. At this point, I think this is what it is with Duke's offense. The passing is better, but not superb.

3) Is Miles Plumlee just in a slump, or has he regressed?
It's fair to say that he has regressed. His confidence is low, which you can see in his struggles to hang onto the ball on offense. And his transition defense (along with his brother's) is a major concern. He can still help the team in spots, and Zoubek's emergence means that's OK, but Miles has regressed from where he was earlier in the year.

4) What is a realistic expectation for Mason Plumlee at this point?
I think expecting that "light-bulb" moment is unrealistic at this point. Now, I think it's fair to expect, or at least hope, that Mason can contribute every now and again in a larger way (like the game at UNC) and otherwise provide some decent minutes off the bench. The problem is that his biggest issues are the simplest ones -- getting back on D, screening, knowing where to be. If he could just be consistent in taking care of the easy details, his athleticism and talent could really take over. Too bad.

5) Can Duke consistently shoot (reasonably) well from the perimeter, particularly on the road?
The good news -- the home/road splits weren't nearly as pronounced during Phase IV. The bad news -- Duke shot just 39.9% from the field during this period. The weird news -- Duke actually shot better from 3-point range (40.5%). The ACC Tourney will be another good test for the perimeter shooters, especially if Duke can make it to Sunday.

6) Speaking of 3-point shooting, will Duke find a fourth perimeter scorer?
I think so! It's nice to see Dawkins working his way back into the rotation. He's still limited -- can't really handle the ball and still struggles on D. But he hit a really big 3 against Maryland, played nicely against UNC, and seems to be getting some confidence back. It's not out of the realm of possibilities that on a cold shooting night, he could come down and knock down a couple of long jumpers from the corner. His improved play also allows Duke the versatility to use a smaller lineup at times to spread teams and find different ways to use Singler in advantageous matchups.

7) Can Duke get a handle on its, uh, handling opponents?
The team is still fouling a lot (18.5 per game during Phase IV). The good news is that Brian Zoubek has improved in this area, or so it seems. The Plumlees, though, still have major issues.

8) Can Duke maintain consistent energy and attention to detail?
Yes. This was probably the best development of Phase IV. Duke's defense was consistently very good, and often excellent. The only real issue was the first half against Miami (and Duke responded to that in a great way in the second half) and the last few minutes against Maryland (although, to be fair, Hayes and Vasquez hit two ridiculous shots that weren't the result of poor defense). In particular, the starting five plays great team defense. The drop-off with the Plumlees in the game is concerning.

9) Late-game execution
We didn't get to see a lot of this. The execution against Maryland was pretty good offensively -- Duke got a lot of good looks and just missed a couple at the end. It was more an issue of getting stops in that game. Duke struggled to get the ball to Scheyer when B.C. was fouling, and this remains a bit of a problem. And no other game came down to the very end, although at UNC and against Virginia Tech, Duke hit big shots late when they were needed to put the games away.

Obviously, with a 9-1 record, Phase IV was a big success. Onto the next stage of the season.

juise
03-11-2010, 12:49 AM
Obviously, with a 9-1 record, Phase IV was a big success. Onto the next stage of the season.

Nice summary, Jumbo.

I don't think anyone expected Brian to be such a big part of Duke's Phase IV success, as is reflected by your Phase IV questions. His presence definitely made up for the non-so-great answers to the questions about Mason and Miles. I look forward to seeing what Zoubs brings to the ACCT.

On a related note... I may be kidding myself, but I expect Mason to have another Wake-like game before the season is over. I also think that Miles will have a few big sequences when we're in a first half dog fight (maybe in the second round of the NCAAT).

Man, this time of year is exciting. The beginning of the year is always full of possibility, but the same is true for this time of year... unless you're UNC. :-P

greybeard
03-11-2010, 09:41 AM
I think Miles' having hit two nice, relaxed Js in one of the last games, and Mason's having had two nice, relaxed, across the lane moves ending in successful Js in another, are promising. They do seem lost in the screening game. I'd get them touches with directives just to play catch and pass.

This is not just mumbo jumbo (tee hee) talk here. Tangible connections with the ball complete mental/muscular circuits in a way that ball players live for, understand. Passing and catching, where all ball games begin. Let these guys start at the beginning, let them literally play with the ball; the rest will flow.

Hey, anybody got a better idea? :eek:

BlueintheFace
03-11-2010, 09:55 AM
Well, we know my thoughts about Jon taking the shots when we really need it (always a contested or fading three...MD= further evidence.... and Nolan should have the ball) so I won't renew this argument really.

I do, however, think Miles has started to crawl out of his slump with some positive plays to match his terrible ones.

Kedsy
03-11-2010, 10:15 AM
Well, we know my thoughts about Jon taking the shots when we really need it (always a contested or fading three...MD= further evidence.... and Nolan should have the ball) so I won't renew this argument really.

Well, Nolan had the ball in his hands at one of the key moments at the end of the Maryland game and he did the same thing -- take a three-pointer early in the shot clock. So maybe that's what the coaches want them to do? Either way I didn't see any "evidence" pointing to a difference between Jon's and Nolan's late possessions in the Maryland game.

Chard
03-11-2010, 10:22 AM
[B][I]2) Can Duke take the most important step in truly running an excellent motion offense by becoming a better, more aware, passing team?
Oddly, I don't think the team made significant strides in this area. Nolan and Kyle still aren't kicking the ball out off their drives quite as effectively as they should. The guards still aren't recognizing open bigs after the set a down screen for a curling wing, or when they roll to the basket after a ballscreen. At this point, I think this is what it is with Duke's offense. The passing is better, but not superb.

3) Is Miles Plumlee just in a slump, or has he regressed?
It's fair to say that he has regressed. His confidence is low, which you can see in his struggles to hang onto the ball on offense. And his transition defense (along with his brother's) is a major concern. He can still help the team in spots, and Zoubek's emergence means that's OK, but Miles has regressed from where he was earlier in the year.

4) What is a realistic expectation for Mason Plumlee at this point?
I think expecting that "light-bulb" moment is unrealistic at this point. Now, I think it's fair to expect, or at least hope, that Mason can contribute every now and again in a larger way (like the game at UNC) and otherwise provide some decent minutes off the bench. The problem is that his biggest issues are the simplest ones -- getting back on D, screening, knowing where to be. If he could just be consistent in taking care of the easy details, his athleticism and talent could really take over. Too bad.


Thanks for the follow up on Phase IV. I wanted to ask you about a couple of things based on your answers I quoted above.

1. Will we see the early season drive and dish that was working so well earlier in the season? When this was a part of the offense the Plumlees were getting it done on the offensive side. Singler would drive into the lane, draw the defender on Miles or Mason and then dish to the baseline where they were either waiting of moving to the basket. Did/does this go away with the change mid-season to the motion offense?

2. Where do you see improvement from Miles? You mentioned his offensive woes but what about intangibles? I have seen better screening and I have seen him hussle a little more when getting back in transition. When Zoubek is in he sets great screens and he really gets back. The offense functions so much better with Z in there. LT hussles every play and gets back ASAP in transition. The defense is much better when LT hussles. There was and still is a fall off when one of the Plumlees replaces one or both of them but I started to notice Miles was/is getting better at setting screens and in transition defense. What do you think?

With Duke being able to focus on themselve rather than preparing for an opponent I hope these bad habits will be addressed in practice. It sounds like Andre is getting it. I think we'll see some improvement from the underclassmen in the ACC tournament.

Johnboy
03-11-2010, 10:32 AM
7) Can Duke get a handle on its, uh, handling opponents?
The team is still fouling a lot (18.5 per game during Phase IV). The good news is that Brian Zoubek has improved in this area, or so it seems. The Plumlees, though, still have major issues.


Good summary, as usual, Jumbo. The only thing I'd add is this:

Lance committed fouls at a higher rate in Phase IV than he did earlier in the season. Our team suffers when he's not in there (and not just on defense, either), so I hope he can play aggressively in the tournaments without fouling quite as much.

SCMatt33
03-11-2010, 11:22 AM
7) Can Duke get a handle on its, uh, handling opponents?
The team is still fouling a lot (18.5 per game during Phase IV). The good news is that Brian Zoubek has improved in this area, or so it seems. The Plumlees, though, still have major issues.

For those who don't feel like looking back at the original explanation to the question, I think it's important to remind everyone of Jumbo's original distinction between simply the volume of fouls, and the volume of BAD fouls.


7) Can Duke get a handle on its, uh, handling opponents?
Duke fouls too much. Period. And it's basically all coming from the bigs. I don't mind aggressive fouls fighting for a rebound or a blocked shot or trying to take a charger or even the occasional moving screen. Here's what I don't like: Reaching in after someone else has snared a rebound. Pushing guys in the back when you have no position. Hand-checking. Holding jerseys. Look, it's an incredibly fine line to walk when you are trying to prove to opponents that you can be as physical as anyone out there, while simultaneously making sure you don't foul. But Duke is letting teams get in the bonus too easily through fouls off the ball. The big guys simply have to be more disciplined.

I'd have to say that I thought that Duke improved tremendously in this area. Zoubek has almost had his bad fouls disappear and his confidence has been rewarded with much more respect from the refs even on close calls. Lance continues to foul at a somewhat high rate, but rarely does he build up a bunch of bad ones.

The Plumlees are obviously still having problems in this area, although I have seen at least some minor improvement. In the last game or two, I have seen them lose a rebounding battle that they should have won, and go back on D without taking that extra swat at the ball. They still make this mistake sometimes, but not every time, which is better. I actually don't mind the occasional "over the back" pushing call depending on the scenario. Mostly this comes from the fact that they are big enough to go over their opponents without touching enough for a call some of the time. The ones that get me are when they come from ten feet away and get that call.

Like Jumbo said, the Plumlees' biggest problems are the simple things, a list to which I would add controlling their bodies. Way to often, a play will develop and then one of the Plumlees will come flying in from nowhere, only to pick up a foul. This happens on both ends of the floor as well. Going down the line it will be important for Z and Lance to stay in the game for the last few minutes, unless their is some kind of miraculous improvement. It's not to say the Plumlees can't contribute in a significant way, but I wouldn't want them on the floor at the end of a close game, and based on his actions at Maryland, I think Coach K agrees.

greybeard
03-11-2010, 11:22 AM
I do, however, think Miles has started to crawl out of his slump with some positive plays to match his terrible ones.

I think that this is more than a matter of symantics: I do not think that Miles has been in a slump and I think your choice of words inappropriate.

The Bigs are being asked to play a game with which I personally am completely unfamiliar. Z and L have mastered it, having been lead in the direction their current roles demand by the roles that they had been asked to play over their careers, which evolved from more conventional, well-rounded roles to the very specialized unusual roles that they now perform.

To take players like the Plumlees who as star high schoolers were not only primary scorers but also the people on their teams through whom the offense flowed and put them into these unusual roles and expect them not to be, to use your term, "in a slump" is in my view unrealistic.

Make no mistake about it, running around just setting screens, in a variety of sequences that depend on alignment when the sequence begins and perhaps being an actual blocking sequence that the coaches have called is more like playing offensive line then basketball. I have said previously, I doubt very much that that is what either signed on for, but that is another issue.

These are young men trying to adapt to unique demands on a big stage while dealing with their own self concepts as ballplayers that were developed over years of high end play.

If you want to blame someone for "terrible" plays that would be the coaches.

If you asked the coaches whether both these kidsy could get 15 a game if they, the coaches, deployed the team in an offense geared to playing to their strengths, I should think that the answer would be yes. Would they be as productive as the other bigs in the ACC, especially those in their same classes, I should think the answer has to be yes.

I see the Plumlees making progress towards being able to help this team more and more in the unusual roles they are being asked to fill. Me, I'm rooting for them and don't understand people who criticize them for failing to "measure up" while playing a game that bears so little resemblence to the one that they've spent a lifetime trying to master.

MChambers
03-11-2010, 11:33 AM
I think that this is more than a matter of symantics: I do not think that Miles has been in a slump and I think your choice of words inappropriate.

The Bigs are being asked to play a game with which I personally am completely unfamiliar. Z and L have mastered it, having been lead in the direction their current roles demand by the roles that they had been asked to play over their careers, which evolved from more conventional, well-rounded roles to the very specialized unusual roles that they now perform.

To take players like the Plumlees who as star high schoolers were not only primary scorers but also the people on their teams through whom the offense flowed and put them into these unusual roles and expect them not to be, to use your term, "in a slump" is in my view unrealistic.

Make no mistake about it, running around just setting screens, in a variety of sequences that depend on alignment when the sequence begins and perhaps being an actual blocking sequence that the coaches have called is more like playing offensive line then basketball. I have said previously, I doubt very much that that is what either signed on for, but that is another issue.

These are young men trying to adapt to unique demands on a big stage while dealing with their own self concepts as ballplayers that were developed over years of high end play.

If you want to blame someone for "terrible" plays that would be the coaches.

If you asked the coaches whether both these kidsy could get 15 a game if they, the coaches, deployed the team in an offense geared to playing to their strengths, I should think that the answer would be yes. Would they be as productive as the other bigs in the ACC, especially those in their same classes, I should think the answer has to be yes.

I see the Plumlees making progress towards being able to help this team more and more in the unusual roles they are being asked to fill. Me, I'm rooting for them and don't understand people who criticize them for failing to "measure up" while playing a game that bears so little resemblence to the one that they've spent a lifetime trying to master.

None of your points goes to the defensive end of the floor, which is where I really seem them struggling.

BlueintheFace
03-11-2010, 12:08 PM
I think that this is more than a matter of symantics: I do not think that Miles has been in a slump and I think your choice of words inappropriate.

The Bigs are being asked to play a game with which I personally am completely unfamiliar. Z and L have mastered it, having been lead in the direction their current roles demand by the roles that they had been asked to play over their careers, which evolved from more conventional, well-rounded roles to the very specialized unusual roles that they now perform.

To take players like the Plumlees who as star high schoolers were not only primary scorers but also the people on their teams through whom the offense flowed and put them into these unusual roles and expect them not to be, to use your term, "in a slump" is in my view unrealistic.

Make no mistake about it, running around just setting screens, in a variety of sequences that depend on alignment when the sequence begins and perhaps being an actual blocking sequence that the coaches have called is more like playing offensive line then basketball. I have said previously, I doubt very much that that is what either signed on for, but that is another issue.

These are young men trying to adapt to unique demands on a big stage while dealing with their own self concepts as ballplayers that were developed over years of high end play.

If you want to blame someone for "terrible" plays that would be the coaches.

If you asked the coaches whether both these kidsy could get 15 a game if they, the coaches, deployed the team in an offense geared to playing to their strengths, I should think that the answer would be yes. Would they be as productive as the other bigs in the ACC, especially those in their same classes, I should think the answer has to be yes.

I see the Plumlees making progress towards being able to help this team more and more in the unusual roles they are being asked to fill. Me, I'm rooting for them and don't understand people who criticize them for failing to "measure up" while playing a game that bears so little resemblence to the one that they've spent a lifetime trying to master.

1) Miles has been in a "slump." A majority of viewers will attest to as much. In fact, Jumbo has a more critical take in stating that he has "regressed."

I'm not going to waste my time arguing this with you. I would simply like to refer you to Miles' statistics over the course of the season. Be they playing time, fgs, fouls/game, or even the fact that he lost his starting job (though credit goes to Zoubek for that). It is not really debatable IMO.

2) I do not think my choice of words is inappropriate. In fact, I think to say so reveals either unwarranted antagonism or oversensitivity. I did not say Miles Plumlee is a terrible player. I actually like him a good bit. In fact, I agree with a majority of your post about how difficult it is to adapt to a new style of play, especially Duke's. I don't even understand what you think you are proving by posting it.

I simply stated that he has been making more positive plays to make up for some terrible ones. When you let a pg take a layup right in front of you with every opportunity to contest it, that is a terrible play. When you foul a player on the other team 80 feet away from the basket when they are in the penalty, that is a terrible play. When you try and double team a pg on the break when your teammate guarding that pg is waving you off, and it results in your man getting a wide open dunk- that is a terrible play.

Miles Plumlee has been making some terrible plays that have little or nothing to do with the unfamiliar system he finds himself in (which he has been in for almost 2 years btw). K was so frustrated with these kinds of plays in the Carolina game that he called a timeout up almost 20 specifically to scream at Miles and Mason for making them. If you don't like the word "terrible" you can use "bone-headed" or "silly."

My post simply pointed out that Miles has started making some positive plays (specifically on offense, but occasionally on defense) that have made his terrible plays more bearable. These are the same plays you referred to earlier in the thread. I have a lot of optimism that Miles will get better going forward, but right now he is making some terrible plays.... I'm sorry, I mean "silly" plays.

greybeard
03-11-2010, 12:48 PM
My belief is that it is the unusual player who can be effective on defense if they are lost on offense. I played an awful lot of basketball in my life and watched much more. I think that except for the Bowens of the world,separating defense from offense is artificial. It is like saying that you have a problem with your left side, as if it were separate from the rest of you.

So, if you are asea on offense, confused, what, you become someone different on defense? Sounds very schizo to me.

This offense has evolved over the course of the year. I do not know exactly what is meant my "having moved to a motion offense" but I do know that the bigs had a more normal roll to play at the beginning of the season then they did since the middle, much more normal. So, I think that Jumbo's observation is confusing the symptom with the disease. The sympton are mistakes or misplays caused by confusion; the disease, being asked to play a roll that is counter intuitive, which is one of the reasons it is so effective against defenses.

I have read here for years about how so and so can't do this or that, is playing bad, etc. Singler, at the start of this year, everyone said was in a slump. I said he was being asked to play the game from an orientation that was foreign to him and that made him less smart. Turns out that the coaches returned him to his familiar orientation, playing inside out, and voila, no more slump.

This is not rocket science and statistics are tools for sophists.

What happened to Miles whom everyone associated with the team was raving about over the summer? He take stupid pills? Lazy pills? He's in a slump too, just like Singler was. Oh, he "regressed." What does that mean? He returned to a different life form? Forgot how to play? Had a bad habbit that he has returned to? NAME IT! No one can.

For people who love their statistics, you resort to mysticism in your use of them. Miles and Mason are lazy in getting back. You got somekind of mind reading machine?

Maybe instead they get caught going the wrong way, or they feel so tense on offense that they find putting it in gear a struggle, just like their entire experience in trying to run "trap right, with the guard blocking the linebacker, or, if he missing, getting the free safety, etc." makes them so tight that they are slow in their reactions; maybe they appear so lost that the other team is directed to send one less guy to the boards and push it when they are in, maybe the big three attack the defense more and leave the backline more exposed. These, it seems to me, are more likely answers then the ones being supplied which I believe are premised on silly and insulting judgments.

We have seen all this before. Elliott was "lost" on the court, didn't have a proper background, then he couldn't play the point. Do I really have to go on?

If K says I want 10 points from Miles the first half in the first ACC tournament game he will get it. If he tells Scheyer, Singler, Smith, and both MPs (let's say he starts them), I don't care what you run, Miles scores 10; you won't see no terrible plays, not by Miles anyway. You will see 10 points and a good shooting percentage too. Anybody really think otherwise?

bluesin
03-11-2010, 01:53 PM
This is not rocket science and statistics are tools for sophists.


Well if that's the position you're going to take you're basically saying, I'm right and you're wrong and any empirical data you provide to the contrary I'm going to ignore, even if you provide context. Sure statistics can be used as a tool for sophistry, but that doesn't mean they can't be used to make reasoned arguments, you seem to be taking the position that any argument that includes statistics is an intentionally deceptive and false argument (the definition of sophistry).



What happened to Miles whom everyone associated with the team was raving about over the summer? He take stupid pills? Lazy pills? He's in a slump too, just like Singler was. Oh, he "regressed." What does that mean? He returned to a different life form? Forgot how to play? Had a bad habbit that he has returned to? NAME IT! No one can.


Sure people can. He's making the same bad decisions now that he made in the beginning of the year, he had a bad habit that not only didn't get better, it seemed to get worse -- that habit being poor decision making on defense. And yes, it seems he's forgotten how to play to his strengths so I'd say he's forgotten how to play in that context. He's not making the same decisions people lauded earlier in the season on the offensive end, for a while there he was making poor decisions on both ends of the ball. Additionally he seems to have a habit of dropping/fumbling the ball a lot when he gets it on offense, or at least putting it in a position to turn it over, something he's been doing since the beginning of the year. And don't misunderstand me, he's not a bad player (I think quite the contrary) and I think he has show signs lately of getting better -- but to say he hadn't regressed because "no one" can name what he's doing wrong is just plain incorrect.



For people who love their statistics, you resort to mysticism in your use of them. Miles and Mason are lazy in getting back. You got somekind of mind reading machine?


I dunno about BintheF but I do, it's called my eyeballs. I imagine K was using the same kind of machine prior to chewing M&M both out for their piss-poor defense in the UNC game during that time out. In fact, it's the same machine you seem to be using in all of your arguments -- you have observations and see things that aren't happening that (you think) need to happen. I don't know why anyone should consider your observations better than theirs because they coupled their eyeball-machine with actual numbers to back them up. That seems pretty backwards to me, but I dunno maybe I'm just being a sophist by trying to back up observations with what could be considered empirical proof.




If K says I want 10 points from Miles the first half in the first ACC tournament game he will get it. If he tells Scheyer, Singler, Smith, and both MPs (let's say he starts them), I don't care what you run, Miles scores 10; you won't see no terrible plays, not by Miles anyway. You will see 10 points and a good shooting percentage too. Anybody really think otherwise?

I think you're absolutely correct in some of this. If K wanted Miles to score 10 points a half Duke could ABSOLUTELY make that happen. The rest seems to me to be dead wrong. Will running plays for Miles make him turn the ball over less or more? Unless you consider a turnover a good play then I'd say we would probably see some terrible plays at some point during that effort. Also, why would K want to do that? I'm pretty sure he wants to win the game, running enough plays for Miles to get 10 points in a half seems like a good way to limit the shots of the highest scoring 3some in college ball, sounds counter intuitive to me.

And even if we did see a good shooting percentage, lets say 60% is good (I'd argue it might be bordering on outstanding), that still means Miles has to take around 9 shots in the half (assuming no fouls). That's around 30% of the shots the team will take in the half. Judge for yourself whether that's a good thing or not, but I don't personally think that's so good.

Miles could get 10 points a game by playing smarter and playing more within the flow of the Duke offense, he did it earlier in the year and there was no need to run specific plays for him to get those points. I'll resort to the tool of the sophists for a moment to throw some numbers out. Up to and including the WF game Miles had 10 games with 7 points or better (that's out of 17 games total) and since then he's had 2 games out of 14 where he's gotten 6 (that's his highest points output in those 14 games). Take that for what you will, I think it's a combination of opponents, Z's better play, playing poorly and limiting himself in minutes because of foul trouble. And yes, some of it is that Duke has tweaked it's offense, I just don't see what good tweaking it again to get Miles 10 points a half would do when Miles could simply play better and more like he did at the beginning of the year to get more points and commit fewer fouls.

Consider this the case for regression; as the season has gone on Miles's numbers have gotten worse, at the very least you'd expect him to learn and grow and be able to do the same if not better later in the season. Miles showed he was getting better from the Penn game to the WF game statistically, and since then his stats have been very poor even worse than the beginning of the year, that's pretty much the definition of regression.

Jumbo
03-11-2010, 04:28 PM
Well, we know my thoughts about Jon taking the shots when we really need it (always a contested or fading three...MD= further evidence.... and Nolan should have the ball) so I won't renew this argument really.

Sorry, it's renewed. I don't know how you can say that after the Maryland game. Jon hit two huge shots late. He then took an open 3 from the corner off a set play that he missed. Duke got the offensive rebound and Smith immediately launched a 3-pointer. Then, a possession or two later, Scheyer drove all the way to the rim and got a great shot. He just missed a layup that somehow just rolled off the rim. He made a ton of plays late in that game.

I agree with putting the ball in Smith's hands late in the shot clock if you just need to get a shot off. But late in the game is a totally different thing, and I think it's clear that Scheyer should be the guy initiating the offense/making decisions.

CDu
03-11-2010, 04:32 PM
I agree with putting the ball in Smith's hands late in the shot clock if you just need to get a shot off. But late in the game is a totally different thing, and I think it's clear that Scheyer should be the guy initiating the offense/making decisions.

Agreed. Late in the shot clock (any time): better-suited for Smith with his quickness. Late in the game: have Scheyer initiate the offense.

Jumbo
03-11-2010, 04:36 PM
I think that this is more than a matter of symantics: I do not think that Miles has been in a slump and I think your choice of words inappropriate.

The Bigs are being asked to play a game with which I personally am completely unfamiliar. Z and L have mastered it, having been lead in the direction their current roles demand by the roles that they had been asked to play over their careers, which evolved from more conventional, well-rounded roles to the very specialized unusual roles that they now perform.

To take players like the Plumlees who as star high schoolers were not only primary scorers but also the people on their teams through whom the offense flowed and put them into these unusual roles and expect them not to be, to use your term, "in a slump" is in my view unrealistic.

Make no mistake about it, running around just setting screens, in a variety of sequences that depend on alignment when the sequence begins and perhaps being an actual blocking sequence that the coaches have called is more like playing offensive line then basketball. I have said previously, I doubt very much that that is what either signed on for, but that is another issue.

These are young men trying to adapt to unique demands on a big stage while dealing with their own self concepts as ballplayers that were developed over years of high end play.

If you want to blame someone for "terrible" plays that would be the coaches.

If you asked the coaches whether both these kidsy could get 15 a game if they, the coaches, deployed the team in an offense geared to playing to their strengths, I should think that the answer would be yes. Would they be as productive as the other bigs in the ACC, especially those in their same classes, I should think the answer has to be yes.

I see the Plumlees making progress towards being able to help this team more and more in the unusual roles they are being asked to fill. Me, I'm rooting for them and don't understand people who criticize them for failing to "measure up" while playing a game that bears so little resemblence to the one that they've spent a lifetime trying to master.

You've made yourself extremely clear (to the point where it is near a repetitive rant) in how you believe basketball is meant to be played. You need to accept the fact that Duke is not running that kind of a system this year. But you're extremely misguided in some of your evaluations.

1) Your comment about statistics is misguided and somewhat ignorant. No one is basing anything entirely on statistics. But statistics do sometimes shed a light on things that are difficult to see. There is room for many kinds of analysis in basketball, because they complement each other nicely.

2) Neither Miles, nor (especially) Mason came to Duke with low-post skills. Mason, in particular, was a face-up player. Problem is, the stuff he could do in high school isn't refined enough to work in college (straight-line high dribble, slow spin, etc.) Yes, Miles knocked down a couple of open jumpers in one game. That doesn't mean that should be a focus of our offense. More to the point, both guys continue to struggle in many fundamental areas. Miles has trouble catching the ball near the hoop. Both consistently miss assignments on defense. Both have not hustled back in transition D consistently, which has resulted in deserved tongue-lashings from Coach K. Both have missed a ton of dunks and struggled to finish through contact. Neither is setting effective screens. These are the small-yet-critical things that make someone a good ballplayer. If you've ever played the game, you should know that.

mike88
03-11-2010, 04:52 PM
Agreed. Late in the shot clock (any time): better-suited for Smith with his quickness. Late in the game: have Scheyer initiate the offense.

I think Duke plays best when the ball doesn't stop moving, even if it late in the shot clock or near the end of the game. Neither Nolan or Jon is at his best playing high pick and roll like Jason Williams. We seem to have developed a very good rhythm recently in which Kyle, Jon, and Nolan are all moving fluidly and sharing the ball, facilitated by Brian and Lance's screens. I hope we keep doing that, rather than relying on either Jon or Nolan to make plays individually (although both of them do it pretty well, and both shoot well from the line)

CDu
03-11-2010, 04:56 PM
I think Duke plays best when the ball doesn't stop moving, even if it late in the shot clock or near the end of the game. Neither Nolan or Jon is at his best playing high pick and roll like Jason Williams. We seem to have developed a very good rhythm recently in which Kyle, Jon, and Nolan are all moving fluidly and sharing the ball, facilitated by Brian and Lance's screens. I hope we keep doing that, rather than relying on either Jon or Nolan to make plays individually (although both of them do it pretty well, and both shoot well from the line)

I was referring to REALLY late in the shot clock, when we don't have time to run a lot of screens and get ball movement. Obviously, if there's enough time on the clock to run our offense, then we should do that. But when we're down to ~3 seconds on the clock, we don't have time to run offense. And in that specific situation, Nolan is a little better at creating for himself than Scheyer.

That said, I don't want us to really be in the situation where we have only 3 seconds left and haven't set something better up.

BlueintheFace
03-11-2010, 05:24 PM
Sorry, it's renewed. I don't know how you can say that after the Maryland game. Jon hit two huge shots late. He then took an open 3 from the corner off a set play that he missed. Duke got the offensive rebound and Smith immediately launched a 3-pointer. Then, a possession or two later, Scheyer drove all the way to the rim and got a great shot. He just missed a layup that somehow just rolled off the rim. He made a ton of plays late in that game.

I agree with putting the ball in Smith's hands late in the shot clock if you just need to get a shot off. But late in the game is a totally different thing, and I think it's clear that Scheyer should be the guy initiating the offense/making decisions.

Jon made one shot in the last 4 minutes and missed four. He made a 2pt jumper with 2:09 to go.

The play before Vasquez hit that prayer of a shot, Jon took what I felt was an ill advised contested fading three pointer with duke down 2. Nolan missed a three directly after when LT got the offensive rebound, but at least Nolan created space for himself with a nice move and a stepback to open himself up. Jon also made a terrible play on the baseline when he got caught underneath the basket on the drive and, instead of calling a timeout, threw the ball up at the underside of the rim. This play all but sealed the loss. Those two shots/decisions by Jon came on successive possessions I believe. Duke went from down 2 to Down 6. Both were pretty bad shots.

If I could draw up a play for any player on the team to have an open shot with the game on the line, it would be Jon (and K agrees obviously since he has run the same play just before halftime for Jon at least 15 times this season). However, I have seen a number of times this season, in wins and losses, when Duke has needed a basket and settled for a fading three from Jon because the ball is in his hands. Sometimes it works (and I cheer), sometimes it doesn't. I think we can do better. I just feel that it is similar to when you see a player take a low percentage shot and say "stupid" under your breath, and then smile sheepishly on those occasions when it goes in.

Jumbo
03-11-2010, 09:09 PM
Jon made one shot in the last 4 minutes and missed four. He made a 2pt jumper with 2:09 to go.

The play before Vasquez hit that prayer of a shot, Jon took what I felt was an ill advised contested fading three pointer with duke down 2. Nolan missed a three directly after when LT got the offensive rebound, but at least Nolan created space for himself with a nice move and a stepback to open himself up. Jon also made a terrible play on the baseline when he got caught underneath the basket on the drive and, instead of calling a timeout, threw the ball up at the underside of the rim. This play all but sealed the loss. Those two shots/decisions by Jon came on successive possessions I believe. Duke went from down 2 to Down 6. Both were pretty bad shots.

If I could draw up a play for any player on the team to have an open shot with the game on the line, it would be Jon (and K agrees obviously since he has run the same play just before halftime for Jon at least 15 times this season). However, I have seen a number of times this season, in wins and losses, when Duke has needed a basket and settled for a fading three from Jon because the ball is in his hands. Sometimes it works (and I cheer), sometimes it doesn't. I think we can do better. I just feel that it is similar to when you see a player take a low percentage shot and say "stupid" under your breath, and then smile sheepishly on those occasions when it goes in.

Geez, talk about parsing stats for convenience. Scheyer nailed a 3 to put Duke 63-60 with 5:37 left. You don't want to count that. Then he hit a layup to put Duke 65-63 with 4:40 left. That doesn't cout either, apparently. He missed a couple of shots (not sure how you define them as ill-advised) and then still stepped up to nail a jumper to tie the game a 69. Then there was the corner three, in which he came around a curl, caught it in motion and launched a good shot. What was wrong with that one? How was Smith's any better? And Duke, by any measure, scored on a high percentage of its possessions in the final minutes against Maryland. The problem was getting stops, and that included a couple of circus shots by the Terps.

Scheyer hit huge shots at the end of the game at Carolina. He rallied from a tough shooting night to hit a big one against Virginia Tech. He's done this a bunch of times all year. I don't know why you have a problem with him taking big shots and making big plays, since it has generally served Duke well.

greybeard
03-11-2010, 11:09 PM
You've made yourself extremely clear (to the point where it is near a repetitive rant) in how you believe basketball is meant to be played. You need to accept the fact that Duke is not running that kind of a system this year. But you're extremely misguided in some of your evaluations.

1) Your comment about statistics is misguided and somewhat ignorant. No one is basing anything entirely on statistics. But statistics do sometimes shed a light on things that are difficult to see. There is room for many kinds of analysis in basketball, because they complement each other nicely.

2) Neither Miles, nor (especially) Mason came to Duke with low-post skills. Mason, in particular, was a face-up player. Problem is, the stuff he could do in high school isn't refined enough to work in college (straight-line high dribble, slow spin, etc.) Yes, Miles knocked down a couple of open jumpers in one game. That doesn't mean that should be a focus of our offense. More to the point, both guys continue to struggle in many fundamental areas. Miles has trouble catching the ball near the hoop. Both consistently miss assignments on defense. Both have not hustled back in transition D consistently, which has resulted in deserved tongue-lashings from Coach K. Both have missed a ton of dunks and struggled to finish through contact. Neither is setting effective screens. These are the small-yet-critical things that make someone a good ballplayer. If you've ever played the game, you should know that.

If I have not been clear, let me say that I do not now quarrel with the system of deployment on offense. It is working and Duke is winning and now is not the time for change.

Nor do I think that K should direct that the team get Miles 10 points a game.

I only think that it is wrong to blame Miles and Mason for failing to produce in what I think is a fairly bizzare role on offense, that I think confuses them and infects all they do. Period. End of discussion.

If others find deficiencies in their skills, attitude, basic fundamental executions and see no nexus to what is being asked of them, it is a free country. I think that assessment is both unfair and incorrect. Done.

Kedsy
03-11-2010, 11:12 PM
If I have not been clear, let me say that I do not now quarrel with the system of deployment on offense. It is working and Duke is winning and now is not the time for change.

Nor do I think that K should direct that the team get Miles 10 points a game.

I only think that it is wrong to blame Miles and Mason for failing to produce in what I think is a fairly bizzare role on offense, that I think confuses them and infects all they do. Period. End of discussion.

If others find deficiencies in their skills, attitude, basic fundamental executions and see no nexus to what is being asked of them, it is a free country. I think that assessment is both unfair and incorrect. Done.

The only things I think people are "blaming" them for is not getting back on defense, stupid fouls, and poor defensive positioning. If they end up playing good defense and rebounding well, and not comitting the ill-advised fouls, the rest I think we can all live with.

Jumbo
03-11-2010, 11:39 PM
I only think that it is wrong to blame Miles and Mason for failing to produce in what I think is a fairly bizzare role on offense, that I think confuses them and infects all they do. Period. End of discussion.

I think blame is a really strong word, and it's not appropriate in this case. As Kedsy said, the only thing people really "blame" them for has been some degree of a lack of hustle on defense. As an old-school baller, you should appreciate that quality.

Everything else is simply an issue of development. Miles doesn't have great hands (yet) and is still learning footwork in the post. He's a sophomore, and he'll get it. I have no doubt he'll improve. Mason will improve even more. He's just learning to play a vastly different game as a freshman in college than he did as a senior in high school, and is doing so after having broken his wrist to start the season. I don't blame him for not being a strong scoring option yet; his shot and other fundamentals need work, but you can see him oozing with potential not just athletically, but in certain skills that just need refining. For instance, it's clear that he sees the floor well; it's just that he hasn't played enough at this speed yet to make the right passes at the right time. That will come through experience.

These guys, as you've mention, have obviously had their roles limited in the offense. You've seemed to disagree with the way they've been utilized, but since you've said above that you don't have a problem with the way K is running the offense this year, I'll believe you. Believe me when I say that he'd love for everyone on the team to be a scoring option, but he has the benefit of seeing everyone every day in practice, and recognizing what they can do well and what might not come for another year or two. I'm sure you also understand the importance of non-scoring roles on a team, and that guys can make a major impact without putting the ball in the basket. K has designed a system this year that tries to let everyone do what they do best. That's all you can ask for.

Duke Parent 06
03-12-2010, 01:12 AM
While we are wishing the Plumlees well on their improvement, let's congratulate Brian Zoubek on his full page photo in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated! "Big Help for Duke - The Rise of Brian Zoubek...." And what a photo it is! Look who Brian is about to eat alive. I would substitute Rise of Brian Zoubek as a title for Phase IV.

greybeard
03-12-2010, 08:06 AM
I think blame is a really strong word, and it's not appropriate in this case. As Kedsy said, the only thing people really "blame" them for has been some degree of a lack of hustle on defense. As an old-school baller, you should appreciate that quality.

Everything else is simply an issue of development. Miles doesn't have great hands (yet) and is still learning footwork in the post. He's a sophomore, and he'll get it. I have no doubt he'll improve. Mason will improve even more. He's just learning to play a vastly different game as a freshman in college than he did as a senior in high school, and is doing so after having broken his wrist to start the season. I don't blame him for not being a strong scoring option yet; his shot and other fundamentals need work, but you can see him oozing with potential not just athletically, but in certain skills that just need refining. For instance, it's clear that he sees the floor well; it's just that he hasn't played enough at this speed yet to make the right passes at the right time. That will come through experience.

These guys, as you've mention, have obviously had their roles limited in the offense. You've seemed to disagree with the way they've been utilized, but since you've said above that you don't have a problem with the way K is running the offense this year, I'll believe you. Believe me when I say that he'd love for everyone on the team to be a scoring option, but he has the benefit of seeing everyone every day in practice, and recognizing what they can do well and what might not come for another year or two. I'm sure you also understand the importance of non-scoring roles on a team, and that guys can make a major impact without putting the ball in the basket. K has designed a system this year that tries to let everyone do what they do best. That's all you can ask for.

I am rooting for Duke to succeed and think that it is unrealistic to think that K would change the focus of his offense just because the substitutes for Z and L cannot execute nearly as well in it as the starters.

I think what you see as lack of hustle is understandable in other terms. I suggested a while back that MPs might be saying "screw it" because they did not like how they were being used pn offense and you almost bite my head off. I no longer think that a possibility. I think that the other possibilities that I noted above are more likely than that they are not "hustling."

I think that Z is playing masterfully in a Dennis Rodman like role morphed into a giant of a body and that that gives this offense a dimension that is at once exciting, novel, and extremely lethal. It plays to the strengths of other equally intelligent and dedicated players, three of whom are great offensive weapons. That's where I am now, which is pretty darn close to where you have been for a while, no? Some guys learn slower. ;)

NSDukeFan
03-12-2010, 09:03 AM
Jon made one shot in the last 4 minutes and missed four. He made a 2pt jumper with 2:09 to go.

The play before Vasquez hit that prayer of a shot, Jon took what I felt was an ill advised contested fading three pointer with duke down 2. Nolan missed a three directly after when LT got the offensive rebound, but at least Nolan created space for himself with a nice move and a stepback to open himself up. Jon also made a terrible play on the baseline when he got caught underneath the basket on the drive and, instead of calling a timeout, threw the ball up at the underside of the rim. This play all but sealed the loss. Those two shots/decisions by Jon came on successive possessions I believe. Duke went from down 2 to Down 6. Both were pretty bad shots.

If I could draw up a play for any player on the team to have an open shot with the game on the line, it would be Jon (and K agrees obviously since he has run the same play just before halftime for Jon at least 15 times this season). However, I have seen a number of times this season, in wins and losses, when Duke has needed a basket and settled for a fading three from Jon because the ball is in his hands. Sometimes it works (and I cheer), sometimes it doesn't. I think we can do better. I just feel that it is similar to when you see a player take a low percentage shot and say "stupid" under your breath, and then smile sheepishly on those occasions when it goes in.

My recollection (which may or may not be accurate) is that I don't recall many instances where I have felt either that Jon has been fading on his shot or that he has taken a bad shot. I recognize that at the end of the game it can be difficult to judge whether it is better to get a higher percentage 2 pointer (unfortunately, this is not one of this team's best traits) perhaps from Nolan creating something off the dribble, or an open 3 with a 40%ish chance of getting 3 points. Tough call, but I have had very few times where I have felt Jon has taken a poor shot.