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DukeBlood
07-10-2007, 01:03 AM
What do you guys think will have to happen ?

Freshman being as good as advertised(mainly KS and NS)?
Development of BZ and LT's inside game?
Gerland Henderson becoming a super-star like he COULD be?


And so on, There are alot of possible things that could happen to make this a title contender.

Personally I believe it will take BZ and LT to become above average(not great) players. The reason I chose that is because I have a good feeling Kyle Singler will be very good, and Nolan Smith will be a decent Freshman, Gerald Henderson will be a above average player.. So I think the biggest quesiton mark of this team is the inside presence.

Sorry if something similiar has been posted. I have been busy and havent been on in a while.

ACCBBallFan
07-10-2007, 05:13 AM
Sounds about right to me - the biggest question other than health of Paulus is whether Duke gets decent production offensively and defensively out of center by committee Zoubek/Lance/Singler/King.

Patrick Yates
07-10-2007, 08:42 AM
For Duke to be a title contender this year, we need at least 2 players who play to the level of being high first round draft pics next year.

Personally, given the talent level (which is good) combined with the experience level (which is bad), to me that would mean that BOTH GH and KS would have to be top 10 lottery selections, with DN goind mid to late first round. Not that KS and GH would leave, but they would have to play to that level.

Fellow posters, I know that I come off as being pessimestic, and perhaps rightly so, but I try to inject some reality into the discussions on this board. There is very little chance of Duke winning the NC this year. There are far too many variable that must all break Duke's way to win a NC, or to really seriously compete for the FF.

As stated above, GH AND KS must be very good this year. Combined they would have to be scoring 30+ppg. This is in addition to solid scoring and distribution from Paulus. DN would have to score 10-15 ppg, and cut way down on turnovers. Scheyer will have to be able to provide ball handling and solid shooting, especially from the perimeter. Smith and King would have to be able to come in and provide solid minutes off the bench, both on offensive and defense.

In the Post, LT and BZ would both have to develop into solid contributors. We need at least 10-15 ppg, and 10-15 rpg from the Duo. More, we need very good defense from both of them, as they could be the last line of defense on a team that, at various times, will have 2-3 other players on the court whose weaknesses include a lack of lateral quickness. Granted, at times, Duke will have 2-3 players on the court whose quickness is a strength, but at times quickness could be a problem, meaning that the posts have to be able to stop penetration.

The above is a best case scenario. Unfortunately, base on what I saw last year and at the McD's game, I think this is unlikely. For us to win the NC, virtually every player has to make significant strides in their games. The two most unlikely occurances involve the KS and GH contributions, and the LT and BZ development.

To really compete for the NC, we need Huge years from both KS and GH. THat is simply asking too much. As good as KS is, he is not a super athlete. Reportedly, he relies on effort, hustle, and brains. I firmly believe that he will be a super player before he leaves Duke, and he will probably achieve this sooner rather than later. But, to expect him to be a great player contributing 15+ppg as a freshman is unrealistic. Same with GH. I still have not read anything that even indicates that the asthma may be under control. Based on what I have read, personally, it is not a problem that "goes away". Apparantly there are medications that help alleviate the symptoms, but this is a condition that GH might have to deal with for the rest of his career. Sure, he has tremendous ability, but the asthma could hold him back. Also, this will be his first year with significant PT, given that he did not play as much as he could have last year. Like KS, it might be too much to ask him to be one of the most dominant players in conference, which he would have to be for us to contend for the NC, is just asking too much.

Frankly, I would not be surprised if either KS or GH was very good next year. But BOTH? Seems unlikely to me.

As for the post, again, I think BZ and LT will be good to great before they leave. I just do not think that next year is that year. It will be BZ's first significant PT, and LT did not play a huge role next year. A year of Game Experience, and another summer to address the weaknesses that will surely emerge during those games, will do them both a world of good. Both will be better than last year, but that is a pathetically low bar to overcome. Best case scenario, all we will need from them is good D and rebounding. But to win the NC, it would have to be very good D, and stellar rebounding. Again, too much to ask for in their first year of significant PT under the spotlight here at Duke.

As a caveat, shooting will potentially be strength next year. If it turns out that we are a good to great shooting team, it is potentially possible that Duke could go on a tear next March for 6 games. But, we would need some post scoring to keep the D's honest, and solid D and Rebounding. I beleive these will be our achilles heel next year.

Folks, anything is possible. But get NC and FF out of your heads right now. It is a very unreasonable goal next year for a young team that will spend the majority of the year looking for an identity. When we expect too much (something I am frequently guilty of), we take it out on the kids when they fail to live up to wildly unreasonable expectations that never should have been expressed in the first place.

I do not begrudge your post, because I feel that it falls in the best case scenario, pie in the sky type of speculation for which the board exits. As long as that is all it is. But this cannot be a serious discussion.

Be clear, barring solid strides (at least) accross the board from every single player, Duke will not seriously compete for the NC next year. Being 2nd in conference, and compeitive on the 2nd weekend of the NCAAs should leave a young team poised for potential greatness in 08-09. This year we need to look for potential and improvement from last year. Sadly, that is our NC this year.

Patrick Yates

4decadedukie
07-10-2007, 08:46 AM
. . . plus, what I believe is the most essential ingredient: tenacious, mature, on-court, leadership. The team will require at least one leader who can steady them in adversity, inspire them in the final minutes, and can ALWAYS be relied upon for clutch play. With this, many great, unexpected things are possible (in my opinion), whereas without it last-season, few-point losses will undermine ACC and NCAA title runs.

The Gordog
07-10-2007, 12:37 PM
PY,
While I generally agree with your conclusion, I would disagree that GH and KS have to become the 2 best players on the team, which is what you seemed to be saying. From an offensive perspective, I think Paulus and Nelson will be our top 2 scorers. Last year Nelson led the team in scoring with 14.1 ppg, GH was well behind Nelson, Paulus and Scheyer.

I see scoring going like this:

Nelon 16 ppg (up from 14.1)
Paulus 15 ppg (up from 11.8)
Scheyer 14 ppg (up from 12.2)
Singler 13 ppg
Henderson 12 ppg (up from 6.8)
McClure 5 ppg (up from 4.2)
Thomas 5 ppg (up from 4.0)
Zoubek 5 ppg (up from 3.1)
Pocius 4 ppg (up from 1.9)
Smith 4 ppg
King 2 ppg

That's 95 ppg folks. So even if I'm way off on a couple of guys I think we will score a lot of points.

DukieUGA
07-10-2007, 01:17 PM
i agree with Gordog about PYs assessment, i think PY is putting too much emphasis on Singler and Henderson. I think that what this team can bring is balance and what brought down last year's tema was reliance on just a couple of players. Not that every game will have perfectly balanced scoring but i don't see any averages being too far above the mean, at least in the top 5.
I also agree that it is erroneous to assume great things from Singler off the bat, especially with upperclassmen ahead of him. Remember a guy named McRoberts? Although there is noone on this team at Shel's level ahead of Kyle, like there was for McBob, it is still a reality that he will battling for minutes. McRoberts put up nice #s as a Fr., but not spectacular and even as a So. his numbers were better than solid, but the team was not balanced enough to overcome Josh's weaknesses when he struggled. I think that this will be the major difference for this team. I think Paulus will have an eye-popping year shooting the 3ball if his foot lets him play anywhere close to 100%. I agree with PYs assessment that Duke needs 15/15 p/rpg from the inside, but i would expand it from BZ/LT to include McClure, and maybe up the #s to 18/18. The conditioning and experience gained by this year's So.s will increase their competence on the court in a similar way to what we saw happen with DeMarcus last year. I really see a Carrawell-type Sr. year from DN, where he really emerges as a upper-tier ACC player, maybe not POY or first team ACC, but people will be talking about him. Leadership from Paulus, McClure and Nelson i think will really correct for alot of the dynamics problems the Devils had last year. This year's mantra i think will be balance, not necessarily within each game but across games, different combinations of guys will step up each game.

Truth
07-10-2007, 01:30 PM
i agree with Gordog about PYs assessment, i think PY is putting too much emphasis on Singler and Henderson. I think that what this team can bring is balance and what brought down last year's tema was reliance on just a couple of players.

I think your post may be one year too late. I would argue that a reliance on "just a couple of players" is what doomed JJ and Shelden's senior season two years ago, and last year we were doomed by the lack of a reliance on anyone. In my opinion, the absence of a "go-to scorer" hurt us much more than a lack of balance.

Patrick Yates
07-10-2007, 01:38 PM
I was unclear at the outset of my analysis. I was talking about the improvement from last year that we would need to become title contenders. I expect DN to score where he did last year, and perhaps lead the team.

As for Paulus, his late season scoring binge was nice, but it came at the expense of distributing. I, for one, hope to see more distributing and less shooting from out PG, but I fully expect to see solid shooting as well.

As for the interior, I stand by what I said, only I will fold McClure in. He will never be a big scorer, and his size/athleticism will hamper him when guarding true post players, as opposed to combo forwards and SFs whom i believe he can adequately guard. Still, the three man post of LT, BZ and DM will not be great this year. If we get adequate, we should be satisfied.

As for KS and GH, for us to be NC contenders they do have to be the best players on the team. Those two have the most immediate potential to be star players. This was a pie in the sky post, and I think KS AND GH would both have to explode this year for us to contend for the NC.

Patrick Yates

mapei
07-10-2007, 01:52 PM
I see scoring going like this:

Nelon 16 ppg (up from 14.1)
Paulus 15 ppg (up from 11.8)
Scheyer 14 ppg (up from 12.2)
Singler 13 ppg
Henderson 12 ppg (up from 6.8)
McClure 5 ppg (up from 4.2)
Thomas 5 ppg (up from 4.0)
Zoubek 5 ppg (up from 3.1)
Pocius 4 ppg (up from 1.9)
Smith 4 ppg
King 2 ppg

That's 95 ppg folks. So even if I'm way off on a couple of guys I think we will score a lot of points.

That looks promising, but only if the combined projected average minutes per game adds up to 40. If it adds up to 50, then the total projection of 95 points isn't realistic.

mgtr
07-10-2007, 01:57 PM
Patrick Yates has obviously given this a lot of thought and analysis. For the most part, I think he is on target. The point has been raised, however, that we need "the man," somebody to go to in the clutch. Last year probably everybody thought it would be McBob or Nelson. While neither was terrible, neither was that guy, however.
My guy, for this year, is Paulus. This is not a real popular pick in some camps. I would say that by January we will know if he is the guy or not. I would give 3 to 1 on, say, a nickel, that by January the consensus will be that Paulus is the heart and soul of the team.
If I am wrong, we are probably in lots of trouble. And if I am wrong, I will deserve having this post thrown up to me. I will, at least figuratively, eat this post!

Schwarz
07-10-2007, 02:27 PM
For us to be really good next year, Greg Paulus needs to play the PG spot so well that no one is clamoring for Nolan Smith to play there. Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas need to be able to play good post defense, with limited fouling, and control the defensive backboard. Some combination of 3 wing players (Scheyer, Nelson, Henderson, Pocius, Singler) need to step up and provide consistent scoring, with one of them becoming a go-to player at the end of games.

If these things happen, I will really enjoy next season, NC or not.

Classof06
07-10-2007, 04:17 PM
I think Schwarz is onto something with his first sentence. That being said, should Paulus struggle, I think Smith, as some of you are increasingly beginning to hear/see, is capable of running this team at the level it needs to be.

I think for us to be NC contenders, 4 things need to happen:

1. We get 5-6 assists per game from the PG spot - The offense was way too stagnant last year. With the weapons we have, if we move the ball, we can score. A lot.

2. Someone averages 15+ppg and 4 more average 10+ppg - 15+ means you have a go-to-scorer; 4 at 10+ means you got yourself a supporting cast. With the defense we play, that means trouble. If that sounds out of reach, keep in mind we had 4 players average 10+ on last year's offensively-challenged team. Nobody hit for 15 though (Demarcus was at 14.1). Gerald was not one of those four, but I'd be surprised if he wasn't this year. And Singler is about as smooth offensively as you can ask any 18 year-old to be.

3. Either Zoubek or Lance becomes one of those 10ppg players - That kind of frontcourt contribution would go a long way. I think Lance is especially capable of this if he actually exhibits the mid-range I know he has. That would open up the 3-point opportunities also; Duke and Maryland led the ACC at 38% from behind the arc, but Duke had the 3rd least attempts. Crazy, right?

4. Zoubek stays on the floor for 20-25 minutes a game - Frontcourt presence/depth is the perceived weakness of this team; if Brian can play those kind of minutes, it is no longer a weakness. Especially when he's generally productive on the court (rebounds and defense at least).

Scoring Point
07-10-2007, 04:35 PM
DBR old-timer here, with my first post on the new board.

I recently did some - admittedly superficial - analysis of Duke team stats over the past 22 years (i.e. using the '86 team as the starting point), looking for common threads among the "title contenders", which I defined for this purpose as teams that reached the Final Four and/or won the ACC regular season title. It is worth noting that 15 of K's last 22 teams have achieved one or both.

Anyway, some common threads identified are as follows:

1) On 15 of the 15, the regular rotation used by K at PF and C (whether or not those were their natural positions) combined to average at least 30 ppg

2) 14 of the 15 had at least one player average 5.0 assists per game or better; the lone exception was 1998, when Wojo led with 4.6 apg, though I would argue that that squad had an unusual number of players who could create shots for themselves (McLeod, Brand, Carrawell, Avery and to a lesser extent Langdon)

3) 14 of the 15 averaged 80 ppg or better (rounding up in a few cases); 1994 was the lone exception at 77.6

IMHO, the above points suggest a few things with regard to the 2008 Devils:

- While there are a variety of ways to coax 30 ppg out of our frontcourt regulars, the most likely scenarios would seem to be Singler being an immediate impact player capable of 12-15 ppg and/or a lot of small ball with Henderson as the de facto PF and Kyle as the de facto C; Taylor King may very well surprise, but I just don't see Zoubek, McClure or Thomas morphing into big scorers, though I do expect meaningful improvement from each

- Paulus is likely the only player on our roster capable of averaging 5 apg, but as Patrick Yates notes above, it will require Greg to focus more on cretaing and distributing, and less on scoring, than was the case this past year; Paulus undoubtedly shot well and had some strong scoring games down the stretch, but to a certain extent, this seemed to come at the expense of better overall flow offensively; I noticed an unfortunate but rather predictable tendency of Greg to really hunt his own shot after a key turnover or being burned defensively, and would also note that we were only 1-4 (0-4 after Gonzaga) in games in which he scored 20 or more points

- #3 will require solid rebounding, forcing more turnovers and, especially, better passing and finishing on the break than were evident last year. Paulus is obviously a key here as well, as are Singler and Henderson in my view. There has been a lot of discussion in other threads over the relative merits of Gerald vs. Scheyer; while I do not dispute that Jon is the better and more reliable all-around player at this stage of their careers, finishing - along with the mid-range game - are areas in which Gerald is clearly superior, as well as elements that the team will need to fully reach its potential. Regardless of who starts and who finishes, our primary wing rotation of Nelson, Scheyer, Henderson should match up well with anyone and be a real strength.

bbar7502
07-10-2007, 04:40 PM
when coach k walks on to the court, duke is title contenders.....

hurleyfor3
07-11-2007, 12:21 AM
What do you guys think will have to happen ?


someone needs to beat carolina

dukemomLA
07-11-2007, 03:56 AM
If GP is healthy, and BZ has game, we'll have a shot -- IF Lance T becomes a leader. He's got that in him and if it blossoms, we'll be a formidable contender. NC? -- I don't think so right now. But those teams ahead of us have the ability to implode.

dukestheheat
07-11-2007, 08:58 AM
Really, the only comparison for me when responding to this (good) question about Duke being a title contender is going to have to be versus our other title teams ('we are not worthy, we are not worthy').

Obviously, our PG play must be stellar, offensively and defensively.
Secondly, our team defense must rise up to killer level (it's been average and rather porous, frankly).
Lastly, we have got to have one BADI'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this. on Duke's team. A steely guy.

Put those 3 together and this year I'd put Duke versus any of the Final Four expectees (that's not a word but I am allowed to make up one word per day so there it is, haha).

my shekel, dth.

SilkyJ
07-11-2007, 09:09 AM
Patrick Yates has obviously given this a lot of thought and analysis. For the most part, I think he is on target. The point has been raised, however, that we need "the man," somebody to go to in the clutch. Last year probably everybody thought it would be McBob or Nelson. While neither was terrible, neither was that guy, however.
My guy, for this year, is Paulus. This is not a real popular pick in some camps. I would say that by January we will know if he is the guy or not. I would give 3 to 1 on, say, a nickel, that by January the consensus will be that Paulus is the heart and soul of the team.
If I am wrong, we are probably in lots of trouble. And if I am wrong, I will deserve having this post thrown up to me. I will, at least figuratively, eat this post!

I agree that paulus will be the heart and soul of the team, but I dont think he is the goto guy in the clutch. the only shot he can really get off on his own is a step back 3 off a pick and roll. I dont think he will be able to consistently drive and get to the rim or elevate for a jumper. Nelson/Scheyer, and maybe Henderson or Singler will be the go-to, imho.