PDA

View Full Version : Best Sixth Man



4decadedukie
05-06-2010, 06:15 AM
Calling all experts and Dukies in general; during the K era, who, in what year(s), and why was our best Sixth Man (for the purpose of this thread, the Cameron Crazies are excluded)?

basket1544
05-06-2010, 06:46 AM
Shane and Jon have to rank up there (hard to remember that they were off the bench players once upon a time).

Welcome2DaSlopes
05-06-2010, 06:52 AM
Seth Curry

MulletMan
05-06-2010, 07:05 AM
I would lean towards Nate James... simply because I don't remember another 6th man in the K era who was leader the way Nate was as a 6th man.

Bluedevil114
05-06-2010, 07:05 AM
I think the best Duke team to never win a National Championship was in 1999 with Corey Maggette as our Sixth Man.

Of course in 2001 our sixth man was Nate "the killer recruiter" James!!

CDu
05-06-2010, 07:46 AM
Battier wouldn't technically qualify as a 6th man because he started more than half his games every season. Same for Nate James. He was a starter in 2000, and started all but the last 10 games of 2001. And prior to that, he didn't average more than 15mpg in a season.

My short-list would be:
Scheyer (2008)
Maggette (1999)
Laettner (1989)
Henderson (1985)
Henderson (1984)

My vote would be for Henderson or Scheyer.

Olympic Fan
05-06-2010, 08:53 AM
Good list, CDu ...

I think there's a difference between the first man off the bench and a Sixth Man (capital letters intended). Red Auerbach invented the Sixth Man concept -- the idea that he keeps one of his best players on the bench to come in and give his team a spark. Traditionally, it's been a mid-sized wing, who could help up front and in the backcourt. Frank Ramsey was his first Sixth Man and John Havlicek later became the greatest Sixth Man of all times. Billy Cunningham was an all-star as a Sixth Man in Philadelphia.

I agree that Battier was never a true Sixth Man -- he was a starter the majority of games in his career.

Scheyer in 2008 ... David Henderson in 1985 (in '84 he was in and out of the starting lineup all season) ... Maggette in 1999 certainly qualify as the best examples I can remember. Dunleavy was also an effective Sixth Man in 2000, until he got mono.

As for 2001, it's kind of interesting. Duhon was essentially the sixth man (but not the Sixth Man) for most of the season. When Boozer got hurt against Maryland, K revamped his lineup and started Duhon and moved James (who had started until that point) into the Sixth Man role.

Nate was a fantastic Sixth Man for 10 games -- 10 games that saw Duke (1) beat UNC in Chapel Hill; (2) win the ACC Tournament in Atlanta (thanks in large part to his game-winning tip-in against Maryland in the semis); (3) win the national championship (with Nate shutting down Juan Dixon during Duke's comeback against the Terps in the national semifinals).

I'd argue that Nate deserves recognition as the greatest Sixth Man in Duke history -- even though he only did it for 10 games. I'd honor him for his sacrifice (how tough was it for a senior who had been a starter for two years to give up his starting job for the final 10 games of his career and to do it without a complaint) and I'd honor him for his outstanding play that role during that stretch drive -- whatever Duke needed -- shooting, rebounding, defense -- he provided.

So my nominee for the greatest Sixth Man in Duke history is Nate James.

greybeard
05-06-2010, 09:03 AM
Good list, CDu ...

I think there's a difference between the first man off the bench and a Sixth Man (capital letters intended). Red Auerbach invented the Sixth Man concept -- the idea that he keeps one of his best players on the bench to come in and give his team a spark. Traditionally, it's been a mid-sized wing, who could help up front and in the backcourt. Frank Ramsey was his first Sixth Man and John Havlicek later became the greatest Sixth Man of all times. Billy Cunningham was an all-star as a Sixth Man in Philadelphia.

I agree that Battier was never a true Sixth Man -- he was a starter the majority of games in his career.

Scheyer in 2008 ... David Henderson in 1985 (in '84 he was in and out of the starting lineup all season) ... Maggette in 1999 certainly qualify as the best examples I can remember. Dunleavy was also an effective Sixth Man in 2000, until he got mono.

As for 2001, it's kind of interesting. Duhon was essentially the sixth man (but not the Sixth Man) for most of the season. When Boozer got hurt against Maryland, K revamped his lineup and started Duhon and moved James (who had started until that point) into the Sixth Man role.

Nate was a fantastic Sixth Man for 10 games -- 10 games that saw Duke (1) beat UNC in Chapel Hill; (2) win the ACC Tournament in Atlanta (thanks in large part to his game-winning tip-in against Maryland in the semis); (3) win the national championship (with Nate shutting down Juan Dixon during Duke's comeback against the Terps in the national semifinals).

I'd argue that Nate deserves recognition as the greatest Sixth Man in Duke history -- even though he only did it for 10 games. I'd honor him for his sacrifice (how tough was it for a senior who had been a starter for two years to give up his starting job for the final 10 games of his career and to do it without a complaint) and I'd honor him for his outstanding play that role during that stretch drive -- whatever Duke needed -- shooting, rebounding, defense -- he provided.

So my nominee for the greatest Sixth Man in Duke history is Nate James.

Frank Ramsey played a great and terrific role but the second best player on the Celtics all those years was Sam Jones, who came off the bench until way late in his career. Sam was light years better than Ramsey and everybody knew it. Nobody said it. Wonder why? :rolleyes:

Big Pappa
05-06-2010, 09:33 AM
Battier wouldn't technically qualify as a 6th man because he started more than half his games every season. Same for Nate James. He was a starter in 2000, and started all but the last 10 games of 2001. And prior to that, he didn't average more than 15mpg in a season.

My short-list would be:
Scheyer (2008)
Maggette (1999)
Laettner (1989)
Henderson (1985)
Henderson (1984)

My vote would be for Henderson or Scheyer.

Great list, my vote would be Maggette or Scheyer.

OZZIE4DUKE
05-06-2010, 09:41 AM
Battier wouldn't technically qualify as a 6th man because he started more than half his games every season. Same for Nate James. He was a starter in 2000, and started all but the last 10 games of 2001. And prior to that, he didn't average more than 15mpg in a season.

My short-list would be:
Scheyer (2008)
Maggette (1999)
Laettner (1989)
Henderson (1985)
Henderson (1984)

My vote would be for Henderson or Scheyer.


Good list, CDu ...

I think there's a difference between the first man off the bench and a Sixth Man (capital letters intended). Red Auerbach invented the Sixth Man concept -- the idea that he keeps one of his best players on the bench to come in and give his team a spark. Traditionally, it's been a mid-sized wing, who could help up front and in the backcourt. Frank Ramsey was his first Sixth Man and John Havlicek later became the greatest Sixth Man of all times. Billy Cunningham was an all-star as a Sixth Man in Philadelphia.

I agree that Battier was never a true Sixth Man -- he was a starter the majority of games in his career.

Scheyer in 2008 ... David Henderson in 1985 (in '84 he was in and out of the starting lineup all season) ... Maggette in 1999 certainly qualify as the best examples I can remember. Dunleavy was also an effective Sixth Man in 2000, until he got mono.

As for 2001, it's kind of interesting. Duhon was essentially the sixth man (but not the Sixth Man) for most of the season. When Boozer got hurt against Maryland, K revamped his lineup and started Duhon and moved James (who had started until that point) into the Sixth Man role.

Nate was a fantastic Sixth Man for 10 games -- 10 games that saw Duke (1) beat UNC in Chapel Hill; (2) win the ACC Tournament in Atlanta (thanks in large part to his game-winning tip-in against Maryland in the semis); (3) win the national championship (with Nate shutting down Juan Dixon during Duke's comeback against the Terps in the national semifinals).

I'd argue that Nate deserves recognition as the greatest Sixth Man in Duke history -- even though he only did it for 10 games. I'd honor him for his sacrifice (how tough was it for a senior who had been a starter for two years to give up his starting job for the final 10 games of his career and to do it without a complaint) and I'd honor him for his outstanding play that role during that stretch drive -- whatever Duke needed -- shooting, rebounding, defense -- he provided.

So my nominee for the greatest Sixth Man in Duke history is Nate James.
My first thought was Scheyer as a sophomore, moving "down" from a starting roll to Sixth Man by K's plan. But based on total effect(iveness) and affect on the team, ie, final results, I like your argument for Nate. I'll go with Nate.

As for Seth Curry next year, we can only hope that he plays as well as we, and the team, expects him to, in whatever roll he is given (or takes)!

jimsumner
05-06-2010, 10:12 AM
David Henderson, 1984 and 1985. He was the prototype. He was K's Frank Ramsey.

hedevil
05-06-2010, 10:21 AM
My choice may not be the most popular, but for me best sixth man isn't just on the court production, it's also sacrifice, and selflessness.

I'm gonna go with Paulus during his senior season. Yeah, that's right, Greg Paulus. I know it wasn't his choice to come off the bench (as a senior), but when he did he played with toughness and passion. Obviously that wasn't the best Duke team we've seen (by far), but Greg brought the same energy off the bench that he had as a starter.

Gotta admire that.

CDu
05-06-2010, 10:22 AM
Good list, CDu ...

I think there's a difference between the first man off the bench and a Sixth Man (capital letters intended). Red Auerbach invented the Sixth Man concept -- the idea that he keeps one of his best players on the bench to come in and give his team a spark. Traditionally, it's been a mid-sized wing, who could help up front and in the backcourt. Frank Ramsey was his first Sixth Man and John Havlicek later became the greatest Sixth Man of all times. Billy Cunningham was an all-star as a Sixth Man in Philadelphia.

I agree that Battier was never a true Sixth Man -- he was a starter the majority of games in his career.

Scheyer in 2008 ... David Henderson in 1985 (in '84 he was in and out of the starting lineup all season) ... Maggette in 1999 certainly qualify as the best examples I can remember. Dunleavy was also an effective Sixth Man in 2000, until he got mono.

As for 2001, it's kind of interesting. Duhon was essentially the sixth man (but not the Sixth Man) for most of the season. When Boozer got hurt against Maryland, K revamped his lineup and started Duhon and moved James (who had started until that point) into the Sixth Man role.

Nate was a fantastic Sixth Man for 10 games -- 10 games that saw Duke (1) beat UNC in Chapel Hill; (2) win the ACC Tournament in Atlanta (thanks in large part to his game-winning tip-in against Maryland in the semis); (3) win the national championship (with Nate shutting down Juan Dixon during Duke's comeback against the Terps in the national semifinals).

I'd argue that Nate deserves recognition as the greatest Sixth Man in Duke history -- even though he only did it for 10 games. I'd honor him for his sacrifice (how tough was it for a senior who had been a starter for two years to give up his starting job for the final 10 games of his career and to do it without a complaint) and I'd honor him for his outstanding play that role during that stretch drive -- whatever Duke needed -- shooting, rebounding, defense -- he provided.

So my nominee for the greatest Sixth Man in Duke history is Nate James.

I have no problem with the subjectification of the concept for Nate James, as what he did in March of 2001 was truly selfless and wonderful.

However, one correction is that Henderson started only one game in each of the 1984 and 1985 seasons. He was the sixth man (by almost any definition) in both of those years. He was a starter as a freshman and a senior.

jimsumner
05-06-2010, 11:00 AM
I wrote an article for DBR on Duke sixth men around November or December of 2007. Darned if I can figure out how to bring it up. Maybe someone else would have better luck.

A true sixth man, as defined by Red Auerbach and codified by Frank Ramsey and then John Havlicek, is more than just the top sub. A sixth man is an extra starter, good enough to start, maybe even better than one or more of the starters. The sixth man watches and waits and absorbs. Then, when the starters are getting tired, the sixth man enters the game, fresh and hungry. He knows the flow of the game, knows what the officials are calling and comes in ready to immediately impact the game. He's a weapon.

It's a mindset. David Henderson had that in droves. I suspect Seth Curry may well, although that remains to be seen.

Nate James was only a true sixth-man during the 2001 postseason.

http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/articles/?p=24103

licc85
05-06-2010, 01:37 PM
Jon Scheyer his sophomore year or Chris Duhon his freshman year.

mgtr
05-06-2010, 01:59 PM
Frank Ramsey played a great and terrific role but the second best player on the Celtics all those years was Sam Jones, who came off the bench until way late in his career. Sam was light years better than Ramsey and everybody knew it. Nobody said it. Wonder why? :rolleyes:

I seem to remember that Sam and KC Jones would come in together. I don't know how often this occurred, but I think it was fairly common.

jimsumner
05-06-2010, 02:21 PM
Frank Ramsey didn't keep Sam Jones on the bench. Bill Sharman did. After Sharman retired following the 1961 season, Jones became the starter, a role he retained for nine seasons. For a good bit of that time, he started ahead of John Havlickek and averaged well over 30 mpg for the NBA's deepest team.

Sam Jones and Ramsey overlapped for seven seasons. Jones played more minutes than Ramsey in four of those. Ramsey spent much of that time as a small forward. Sam Jones was a guard.

K.C. Jones backed up a fella named Cousy. Until Cousy retired. Then K.C. Jones became the starter.

The Boston Celtics were light years ahead of the competition in color-blind playing rotations. One of the reasons they won the NBA title with stunning regularity.

Olympic Fan
05-06-2010, 03:02 PM
I have no problem with the subjectification of the concept for Nate James, as what he did in March of 2001 was truly selfless and wonderful.

However, one correction is that Henderson started only one game in each of the 1984 and 1985 seasons. He was the sixth man (by almost any definition) in both of those years. He was a starter as a freshman and a senior.

My mistake on Henderson ... without thinking, I thought about his freshman year 1983, when he was in and out of the lineup. You are absolutely right that he was the Sixth Man (and a true sixth man) in 1984 and 1985, then became a starter in 1986. Ferry started the first half of that year when Bilas was recovering from injury, but when Bilas came back, Ferry sort of became the sixth man for the last half of the season (although I hesitate to give him the capital letters).

That goes for Sam Jones too -- he wasn a reserve guard who played a lot of minutes -- he was never the Sixth Man (and I never even suggested that Ramsey was the team's second-best player ... just that he was the playeer Auerbach used in the Sixth Man role --indeed, Auerbach invented the role for Ramsey ... and when Havlicek inherited it, he took it to the next level. There were years when Hondo WAS the team's second best player ... and when Russell retired, he was the team's best player).

And, Jim, I thought I made it clear in my post that Nate was only the Sixth Man for 10 games ...

jimsumner
05-06-2010, 03:10 PM
OF,

RE: James. I was responding to a number of other posters who seemed to think of James as Duke's best sixth man. Without your qualifiers.

But Henderson is way out in front for me. He did it for two years. James for a month.

CDu
05-06-2010, 03:42 PM
OF,

RE: James. I was responding to a number of other posters who seemed to think of James as Duke's best sixth man. Without your qualifiers.

But Henderson is way out in front for me. He did it for two years. James for a month.

I agree. What Nate James did, as a senior, was incredibly unselfish and special. He's always been one of my favorite players. But in terms of being a sixth man, it's got to be Henderson for both his level of play and for the duration of time over which he was willing to play that role (even after having been a starter before). Scheyer would be next on my list.

Nate James doesn't really qualify, but I completely agree that his willingness to give up his starting role down the stretch of his senior year is definitely worthy of acknowledge/honor/praise.

ChicagoCrazy84
05-06-2010, 03:45 PM
Maggette or Duhon. We wouldn't have won in '01 without Duhon IMO.

greybeard
05-07-2010, 10:16 AM
Frank Ramsey didn't keep Sam Jones on the bench. Bill Sharman did. After Sharman retired following the 1961 season, Jones became the starter, a role he retained for nine seasons. For a good bit of that time, he started ahead of John Havlickek and averaged well over 30 mpg for the NBA's deepest team.

Sam Jones and Ramsey overlapped for seven seasons. Jones played more minutes than Ramsey in four of those. Ramsey spent much of that time as a small forward. Sam Jones was a guard.

K.C. Jones backed up a fella named Cousy. Until Cousy retired. Then K.C. Jones became the starter.

The Boston Celtics were light years ahead of the competition in color-blind playing rotations. One of the reasons they won the NBA title with stunning regularity.

Thanks for the details. No question that Red labeled Ramsey "the Sixth Man" and Cousy and Sharmen started ahead of Sam and KC. Whether the Celtics and Red were light years ahead of the rest of the league I don't know--I seem to recall Philly being pretty freakin Black during the same era.

For what it's worth, I thought that the Celtics were MUCH better with Sam and KC on the court than with Cousy and Sharmen. Maybe Red thought it was best to bring his strength off the bench instead of starting them, or maybe he thought it best to surround the best player on the planet who happened to be black in a city that was not exactly hospitable to blacks with four White players and to feature Ramsey, a good ole boy just like Bailey Howel, rather than start Sam and KC.

That Sam was playing behind Sharmen was a travisty.

Sam was 6'4", was a phenomenal scorer of the sort who could compete with the best ever, could guard the Oscars of the world, scored outside and inside, ran the floor like a deer, and was tremendously entertaining what with that bank shot. I was a kid and thought to myself, "This guy is amazing." My recollection is that when the Celtics needed a score in tight games, Sam was on the floor and more often than not got the shot and made it. He was lights out better than Sharmen.

Sam was great, probably the second best player on every Celtic team he played on, except when Havilechek really came into his own. Then Sam was the third best. Sam was the second or third best two guard in the league; second only to Oscar. He was better than Hudson and might well have been better than West.

As for Ramsey playing forward, and Sam playing guard--come on. There is nothing that Ramsey could do at the forward position that Sam did not do better. Nothing.

KC and Cousy. Cousy had flash, gave the team some character. I suppose that that justified him starting over KC. However, when Red needed to create separation, KC and Sam were in the game, not Cousy and Sam, KC and Sam. I think that tells you something.

jipops
05-07-2010, 12:17 PM
Grant Hill was the 6th man for much of the '90-91 season. I don't think we have ever had a more talented player in that role.

But my vote goes with David Henderson who spent more than one entire season as the designated 6th man. I remember there even being a big story at the time about David being the best 6th man in the country.

CDu
05-07-2010, 02:55 PM
Grant Hill was the 6th man for much of the '90-91 season. I don't think we have ever had a more talented player in that role.

But my vote goes with David Henderson who spent more than one entire season as the designated 6th man. I remember there even being a big story at the time about David being the best 6th man in the country.

Actually, Hill started all but 5 games as a freshman. He started all but 9 games as a sophomore.

Orange&BlackSheep
05-07-2010, 03:07 PM
I am sure at this point a whole heap of folks will not remember David Henderson, but I would put dollars to doughnuts that most people associated with Duke basketball from 1983 until now would list him as their choice.

Bilas wants his number retired. Literally.

Starter
05-07-2010, 03:39 PM
I enrolled at Duke in 1997, so I didn't have the opportunity see Henderson play. I'll take all of your words on him being the program's best sixth man though, a lot of people feel strongly about it.

I will say from the time I got there, it has to be Nate, small sample size or not. For a senior to lose his starting job before the last regular-season game, never sulk or let it affect his level of effort and play an enormous role in a national title team makes him the best sixth man I've seen by a long shot. The Duhon-Nate switch was a masterstroke by Krzyzewski, finding the best way to maximize both players' abilities. Until this season, when he designed an offense to perfectly maximize our team's size and backcourt quality advantage, I thought it was the best coaching maneuver he'd done that I'd seen, hands down.

jimsumner
05-07-2010, 04:24 PM
Bill Sharman is a member of the basketball hall of fame, an eight-time NBA All-Star and one of the best shooters who ever lived. His peak years didn't really overlap with Sam Jones' peak years. But Sharman was a GREAT player and Bob Cousy was beyond great. The idea that K.C. Jones was a better point guard than Cousy is giggle-inducing.

Bailey Howell was a burly 6'7 power forward. His Celtic career didn't overlap with that of Ramsey and he certainly had no significant impact on the PT of either Jones. He also was pretty darn good. By the time the Celtics acquired Howell, both Sam and K.C. Jones were starting. Your point relative to Howell eludes me.

The St. Louis Hawks, with Bob Pettit and Cliff Hagan were almost the equal of the Celtics in the late 1950s. But they had a racial quota. While the Celtics scarfed up guys like Satch Sanders and Willie Naulls the Hawks found ways to cut guys like Cleo Hill. One team became a dynasty, one didn't.

If the Celtics allocated starting roles by race, how come Ramsey and Havlicek spent so much time coming off the bench, while Sam Jones started?

greybeard
05-07-2010, 08:12 PM
Bill Sharman is a member of the basketball hall of fame, an eight-time NBA All-Star and one of the best shooters who ever lived. His peak years didn't really overlap with Sam Jones' peak years. But Sharman was a GREAT player and Bob Cousy was beyond great. The idea that K.C. Jones was a better point guard than Cousy is giggle-inducing.

Bailey Howell was a burly 6'7 power forward. His Celtic career didn't overlap with that of Ramsey and he certainly had no significant impact on the PT of either Jones. He also was pretty darn good. By the time the Celtics acquired Howell, both Sam and K.C. Jones were starting. Your point relative to Howell eludes me.

The St. Louis Hawks, with Bob Pettit and Cliff Hagan were almost the equal of the Celtics in the late 1950s. But they had a racial quota. While the Celtics scarfed up guys like Satch Sanders and Willie Naulls the Hawks found ways to cut guys like Cleo Hill. One team became a dynasty, one didn't.

If the Celtics allocated starting roles by race, how come Ramsey and Havlicek spent so much time coming off the bench, while Sam Jones started?

Bill Sharmen was better than Sam Jones? Sam Jones would start for just about every NBA team today. Sharmen would not be in the league.

Yes, I do think that in the early years race was a factor for the Celtics about who would start. And I also happen to think that Sharmen and Cousy's success, as in being starting guards on multiple championship teams would not have happened if Sam and KC had not gotten significant playing time. Do I think that the Celtics would have won those championships with Sam and Casey starting and playing the majority of minutes? Yes. I think that. I do not think that they would have needed significant contributions from Cousy or Sharmen except when foul trouble hit. Sharmen's ability to knock down open shots would definitely have been important, but easier to replace than the contributions that Sam and KC made to victory when they came off the bench, at least as I see it.

Look, Cousey had no jump shot and his principal roll was running the break, a break that began with tremendous advantage whenever it was off a Russell block, and often when it was off a Russell rebound (Russell had an uncanny ability to rebound the ball and begin upcourt in a single motion that left defenders a step or two behind). Did Cousy lead the break with tremendous pinache and effectivenesss. Yes. And because of his showmanship I have no issue with his minutes or his starting roll. Pro basketball has always been about theater and Cousy put on as good a show as there was at the time; perhaps it would hold up even today. But, in terms of results, they were a forgone conclusion in my opinion before the ball even touched Cousy's hands. On the other hand, he did dazzle and everyone wanted to be like the Cooz. Everybody!

So no, I'm not hatin on the decision to showcase the Cooz. If I said otherwise, I take it back and apologize. He helped sell the game. On the other hand, straight up, him against KC, I think KC wins. KC was the original shut down defender and had the speed and ability to run the break. And, he did have a jump shot, while Cousy's only outside shot was a one-hand push from 25 feet which he did make a reasonably high percentage of the time, but actually took only rarely. Could KC get to the basket and finish as well as Cousy in the half court game and dish just as effectively, maybe yes and maybe no. He definitely did not do it with the same pinache, so I suppose Cousy gets to be on the floor. But, is that because he was "better"? I really do not think so, although now that I'm writing this I really don't know that my argument wins and certainly doubt it actually was worth making.

Finally, I misspoke about Howell; I loved his game. Ramsey. I am hard pressed to know what the fuss was about, particularly when Sam was coming off the bench and he was a freakin superstar. You tell me why Red made such a big deal about him. Me, I don't get it.

jimsumner
05-07-2010, 11:09 PM
Greybeard,

The real question is whether K.C. Jones was better than Brad Davis. Longtime readers will understand the reference. :)

Sam Jones at his peak was marginally better than Bill Sharman at his peak. But they weren't at their peaks at the same time. Sharman was better than Jones in the late 1950s. Bill Sharman was a great basketball player and suggesting that he started because he was white is a significant distortion of pro basketball history.

And seriously. Did Cousy run over your dog or something? He was one of ther truly extraordinary players of all time. Best guard in history until Robertson and West came along.

sleepybear
05-08-2010, 01:01 AM
Honorable mention
Billy McCaffrey

Though he started half the games in 1991 he was sixth man for the tourneys and most of Feb. McCaffrey was instant offense off the bench and made all NCAA tourney team.

brevity
05-08-2010, 05:52 AM
This has shaped up to be one of the more/only interesting offseason threads, in part because of the tangential NBA history lesson. (I've been reading that Bill Simmons textbook, so I recognize some of these names thrown around.)

But I think it's strange that most of you have defined the concept of Sixth Man as "good enough to start, but set his ego aside for the greater good." That definition is fine, but it's just one way to define a valued reserve.

What about the Sixth Man who may or may not have the all-around game to merit a start, but did one or two things extremely well? Maybe gave the team a spark off the bench and in small doses? Possibly a liability on offense, or on defense, but the right person on the floor for a particular matchup or phase of the game? The tweener guard that shoots threes, or the backup point who's fast and pesky, or the wide body that outpaces entire nations with not only rebounds per capita, but also fouls and/or calories?

No suggestions on this, as it applies to Duke, but maybe an avenue worth exploring.