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Chris Randolph
02-17-2013, 02:12 PM
Obviously not having Kelly has made a difference. But I don't understand why the other guys can't be good individual defenders as well as team defenders? Curry is average on defense healthy so with the leg issue he is worse. Saves his legs for offense. You know defense is stressed by the coaches but it doesn't matter if the team doesn't take pride in it. Any thoughts?

Papa John
02-17-2013, 02:31 PM
Obviously not having Kelly has made a difference. But I don't understand why the other guys can't be good individual defenders as well as team defenders? Curry is average on defense healthy so with the leg issue he is worse. Saves his legs for offense. You know defense is stressed by the coaches but it doesn't matter if the team doesn't take pride in it. Any thoughts?

1. Kelly's absence. Kelly is the best communicator in our starting rotation. I think a lot of defensive breakdowns have poor communication as a root cause, so having our best communicator on the bench does not help our defense.

2. Mason's over-conservative style (due to Kelly's absence, so this is really a corollary to 1). I think Mason plays too conservative on the defensive end, but it's clear that he is trying to stay on the floor by not fouling out. Tough to stop teams when the last line of defense becomes a swinging door because he's afraid of fouling out.

3. Curry is playing on a bad wheel.

I don't think it's a matter of pride. Seems to me that the most vocal defensive leaders on our team are Kelly and Thornton. Kelly is on the bench with an injury, and Thornton doesn't start. It's great to see that Sulaimon gets angry, or a chip on his shoulder, as I think he will develop into a strong leader with time. Cook also reminds me of Nolan quite a bit. Nolan was hesitant to step forward as a strong vocal leader, deferring to those around him. But in his third season, he embraced the role and thrived in it. I think Cook will do the same next season.

Wander
02-17-2013, 02:40 PM
2. Mason's over-conservative style (due to Kelly's absence, so this is really a corollary to 1). I think Mason plays too conservative on the defensive end, but it's clear that he is trying to stay on the floor by not fouling out. Tough to stop teams when the last line of defense becomes a swinging door because he's afraid of fouling out.


Yeah, I think this is big. I don't buy the stuff on other threads about Mason not having true post offense or whatever, but the one area of his game that I've always been just a little bit disappointed in is his shot blocking. He "should" be one of the best shot blockers in the country with his height and athleticism. But, it's clearly at least partly intentional to avoid fouls, which is even more important now with Kelly out. Sometimes it's taken to a ridiculous and hilarious extreme like in the first few minutes of the 2nd half of the UNC game when he literally wasn't trying to play defense, but overall I think it's probably a wise strategy on his/K's part.

scottdude8
02-17-2013, 02:49 PM
Yeah, I think at least in the last three games the answer is quite easily Mason. He has to learn how to at least challenge players while he has foul trouble. But even still, without foul trouble he's also become unusually lethargic and indifferent on defense this past week, which is extremely concerning for a guy who has played with passion and fire for most of his career. We're a better team when the opposition knows they are never going to get easy looks at the bucket because Mason is there to at least make a run at the ball.

Wander
02-17-2013, 03:13 PM
Yeah, I think at least in the last three games the answer is quite easily Mason. He has to learn how to at least challenge players while he has foul trouble. But even still, without foul trouble he's also become unusually lethargic and indifferent on defense this past week, which is extremely concerning for a guy who has played with passion and fire for most of his career. We're a better team when the opposition knows they are never going to get easy looks at the bucket because Mason is there to at least make a run at the ball.

I don't really agree. Despite the conservative style that Papa John and I mentioned, Mason is still a good defender overall - just not as good as he could be if we had more depth in the post so he didn't have to worry about foul trouble so much. The biggest defensive culprit is still Curry, who was already not a great defender even before his injury. He just doesn't bring much to the table defensively; other recent Duke guards have had height (Scheyer), strength (Nelson), athleticism (Henderson), or just taught themselves to be good off ball defenders (Redick), but Curry doesn't really have any of these things. Of course, he is awesome on offense.

Chris Randolph
02-17-2013, 03:57 PM
These are all good points. I will add that it seems to me that our help defense is very inconsistent. Many times the off ball defenders get caught watching or stareing at their man instead of getting themselves into a position to help on the ball when/if needed. You have to see both the ball and your man.

Another part of defense that is tough to watch at times with this team is rebounding. We watch the ball as it is shot instead of blocking out and get caught too low near or under the basket. This is rebounding 101 but our guys seem to again be very inconsistent. Maybe they are relying too much on Mason and athleticism. Problem with relying on athleticism is that other teams have just as much if not more, haha. Have to do the fundamental things right.

CDu
02-17-2013, 04:42 PM
Obviously not having Kelly has made a difference. But I don't understand why the other guys can't be good individual defenders as well as team defenders? Curry is average on defense healthy so with the leg issue he is worse. Saves his legs for offense. You know defense is stressed by the coaches but it doesn't matter if the team doesn't take pride in it. Any thoughts?

Well, Curry wasn't the problem yesterday. The problems yesterday were:
1. Cook couldn't stay in front of Allen;
2. Sulaimon got muscled around a bit by Wells; and
3. Nobody could stop Len.

Those three combined for over 50, and none were Curry's assignment. Add to that the huge rebounding edge, and Maryland's good FT shooting, and there is your answer yesterday. Not sure why you felt the need to focus on Curry.

As far as how to fix those things, I am afraid I don't have a good answer.

mike88
02-17-2013, 04:52 PM
Yeah, I think at least in the last three games the answer is quite easily Mason. He has to learn how to at least challenge players while he has foul trouble. But even still, without foul trouble he's also become unusually lethargic and indifferent on defense this past week, which is extremely concerning for a guy who has played with passion and fire for most of his career. We're a better team when the opposition knows they are never going to get easy looks at the bucket because Mason is there to at least make a run at the ball.

Mason's struggles on defense aren't just from being too conservative. He has two bad habits that are magnified without Ryan on the floor: 1) he bites on pump fakes way too easily; 2) he often goes for the steal on post entry passes and if unsuccessful gives up easy baskets. I would love to see him stay on the floor and make his opponent hit a tough shot over him, much like Ryan had mastered

Lord Ash
02-17-2013, 05:05 PM
I do think that Seth, while having crafty hands, is an average defender. He seems to have average lateral foot speed, and when watching he seems to get beaten off the dribble more often than, say, Sheed.

Channing
02-17-2013, 05:25 PM
Unfortunately (fortunately?) I was at a wedding last night and didn't watch the game and decided against watching the dvr. So I can't speak to anything last night. But it seems to me our biggest problem has been and continues to be inability to contain the drive at the point of attack. Any PG with decent quickness seems to go right by our perimeter defenders leading to breakdowns on the back end. As aggressive as cook and tt are, they both seem to lack the requisite lateral quickness to stay in front of opposing pgs.

Also, this year, we seem to be doing a lot of ball chasing rather than playing position defense which has led to a bunchbof wide open shots. Teams like BC, umd, and wake have been offensively challenged at times this year and they all seem to get right against Duke.

sagegrouse
02-17-2013, 09:45 PM
Unfortunately (fortunately?) I was at a wedding last night and didn't watch the game and decided against watching the dvr. So I can't speak to anything last night. But it seems to me our biggest problem has been and continues to be inability to contain the drive at the point of attack. Any PG with decent quickness seems to go right by our perimeter defenders leading to breakdowns on the back end. As aggressive as cook and tt are, they both seem to lack the requisite lateral quickness to stay in front of opposing pgs.

Also, this year, we seem to be doing a lot of ball chasing rather than playing position defense which has led to a bunchbof wide open shots. Teams like BC, umd, and wake have been offensively challenged at times this year and they all seem to get right against Duke.

You were ahead at, "I can't speak to anything last night." Then you began to lose ground. Lesson: quit while you're ahead.

Our guards were pretty damned good. Twenty-six turnovers by the Terps. Did you hear me? 26 TO's by the Terps! Quinn and TT are far from perfect, but they were pretty damned good last night. And, as far as I'm concerned, Rasheed was the MOM.

Nothing against you personally, Channing, but why are you bothering us with this negative BS when you haven't even seen the game???!!!!!

sagegrouse
'I am about to give myself four days in the penalty box, but this effing negative stuff has got to stop!!!!!!!!!!!'

Channing
02-18-2013, 08:02 AM
You were ahead at, "I can't speak to anything last night." Then you began to lose ground. Lesson: quit while you're ahead.

Our guards were pretty damned good. Twenty-six turnovers by the Terps. Did you hear me? 26 TO's by the Terps! Quinn and TT are far from perfect, but they were pretty damned good last night. And, as far as I'm concerned, Rasheed was the MOM.

Nothing against you personally, Channing, but why are you bothering us with this negative BS when you haven't even seen the game???!!!!!

sagegrouse
'I am about to give myself four days in the penalty box, but this effing negative stuff has got to stop!!!!!!!!!!!'

please note my reply was not based on the UMD game (as I mentioned), but rather was a more general response to the general nature of the thread addressing the team's defensive issues on a macro, not micro, level.

sagegrouse
02-18-2013, 08:20 AM
please note my reply was not based on the UMD game (as I mentioned), but rather was a more general response to the general nature of the thread addressing the team's defensive issues on a macro, not micro, level.

You are right on all counts. -- sagegrouse

Billy Dat
02-18-2013, 11:40 AM
Curry is playing on a bad wheel.


The biggest defensive culprit is still Curry, who was already not a great defender even before his injury. He just doesn't bring much to the table defensively;


I do think that Seth, while having crafty hands, is an average defender. He seems to have average lateral foot speed, and when watching he seems to get beaten off the dribble more often than, say, Sheed.

I only highlight these Seth quotes to drive home the key fact that isn't explicitly mentioned....Seth basically doesn't practice. As a result, our ability to improve team defense suffers because the full team doesn't practice together. According to Watzone's morning tweets, K was driving home this point on his media conference call - he is really frustrated by the lack of practice time that the line-ups have had together, and Ryan's eventual re-introduction will only be effective if he can get a bunch of practices in before the post-season games start.

CDu
02-18-2013, 12:05 PM
You were ahead at, "I can't speak to anything last night." Then you began to lose ground. Lesson: quit while you're ahead.

Our guards were pretty damned good. Twenty-six turnovers by the Terps. Did you hear me? 26 TO's by the Terps! Quinn and TT are far from perfect, but they were pretty damned good last night. And, as far as I'm concerned, Rasheed was the MOM.

Nothing against you personally, Channing, but why are you bothering us with this negative BS when you haven't even seen the game???!!!!!

sagegrouse
'I am about to give myself four days in the penalty box, but this effing negative stuff has got to stop!!!!!!!!!!!'

To be completely fair, while Cook and Thornton did help force 26 turnovers (a total aided in large part by Maryland's sloppiness as well), Cook and Thornton most certainly did have trouble in staying in front of Allen. And Sulaimon did get pushed around at times by Wells when Wells decided to back him down.

When a team gives up 83 points to an offense as bad as Maryland's offense is in spite of Maryland committing 26 turnovers, somebody was doing something wrong.

In short:
- when we were forcing turnovers, our defense was very good; and
- when we weren't forcing turnovers, our defense was really really bad.

Zeb
02-18-2013, 12:50 PM
When a team gives up 83 points to an offense as bad as Maryland's offense is in spite of Maryland committing 26 turnovers, somebody was doing something wrong.


I would suggest that something was rebounding. They out rebounded us overall by a factor of 2-1. On their 18 missed shots, they got 9 offensive rebounds. Not good.

CDu
02-18-2013, 01:06 PM
I would suggest that something was rebounding. They out rebounded us overall by a factor of 2-1. On their 18 missed shots, they got 9 offensive rebounds. Not good.

I would say that it was more than just rebounding. Maryland only missed 18 shots (60% from the field) and 9 of those misses were from 3pt range. Meaning they shot 23-32 (72%) inside the arc. Meaning they shot a lot of layups/dunks.

It is certainly true that we didn't rebound well. But that is not the only thing we struggled with defensively. Maryland missed so few shots that the rebounding doesn't really explain the defensive troubles.

Zeb
02-18-2013, 01:48 PM
Maryland missed so few shots that the rebounding doesn't really explain the defensive troubles.

I did some more research on this--turns out Maryland is the 9th best team in the country in offensive rebound rate, normally getting 40% of their misses. So our effort was not as bad as I thought it was. It just seems like a huge number compared to our 27% rate.

Obviously all this stuff is related and there's no one metric to definitively diagnose defensive issues, but I now agree with you that allowing them to shoot 60% was a bigger lapse than the poor rebounding.

Kedsy
02-18-2013, 02:46 PM
I did some more research on this--turns out Maryland is the 9th best team in the country in offensive rebound rate, normally getting 40% of their misses. So our effort was not as bad as I thought it was. It just seems like a huge number compared to our 27% rate.

Obviously all this stuff is related and there's no one metric to definitively diagnose defensive issues, but I now agree with you that allowing them to shoot 60% was a bigger lapse than the poor rebounding.

Even crazier -- they only got two offensive rebounds on threes (including one "team rebound") and only one on FTs (and the one was on and "and one" FT; they missed 5 1st FTs in two-shot fouls, so there were only four rebounding opportunities on Maryland FTs). Which means they rebounded 6 of their 9 missed two point shots.

So, we stopped them 26 times on turnovers, 7 times on missed threes, 2 times on missed FTs (the third defensive rebound on a FT was only a partial stop since the shooter made his first FT), and 3 times on missed twos.

Put another way, Maryland had 26 possessions which ended with a two point shot and scored on 23 of them. They had 16 possessions that ended with free throws and scored on 14 of them. They had 11 possessions that ended with a three point shot and scored on 4 of them. They had 26 possessions end with a turnover. That's 37 for 42 (88%) on two-pointer or free throw possessions and 4 for 37 on the others. Altogether, they scored on 42 out of 79 possessions (53.2%).

CDu
02-18-2013, 03:25 PM
Even crazier -- they only got two offensive rebounds on threes (including one "team rebound") and only one on FTs (and the one was on and "and one" FT; they missed 5 1st FTs in two-shot fouls, so there were only four rebounding opportunities on Maryland FTs). Which means they rebounded 6 of their 9 missed two point shots.

So, we stopped them 26 times on turnovers, 7 times on missed threes, 2 times on missed FTs (the third defensive rebound on a FT was only a partial stop since the shooter made his first FT), and 3 times on missed twos.

Put another way, Maryland had 26 possessions which ended with a two point shot and scored on 23 of them. They had 16 possessions that ended with free throws and scored on 14 of them. They had 11 possessions that ended with a three point shot and scored on 4 of them. They had 26 possessions end with a turnover. That's 37 for 42 (88%) on two-pointer or free throw possessions and 4 for 37 on the others. Altogether, they scored on 42 out of 79 possessions (53.2%).

Exactly. If we didn't force a turnover, they scored on 41 of 53 possessions. That's pretty bad. Also, the fact that they scored on over half of their possessions is pretty bad, considering that Maryland is (including the Duke game) barely in the top-100 in scoring efficiency according to Pomeroy.

For comparison, in their home game against a decidedly mediocre defensive team (NC State, #145 in Pomeroy), Maryland scored just 51 points despite turning it over 13 fewer times in a somewhat similarly-paced game.

We did one thing notably well defensively: force/get turnovers. We defended the 3pt line just okay (Maryland missed some open looks), and were atrocious defensively inside the 3pt line.

sagegrouse
02-18-2013, 03:44 PM
Exactly. If we didn't force a turnover, they scored on 41 of 53 possessions. That's pretty bad. Also, the fact that they scored on over half of their possessions is pretty bad, considering that Maryland is (including the Duke game) barely in the top-100 in scoring efficiency according to Pomeroy.

For comparison, in their home game against a decidedly mediocre defensive team (NC State, #145 in Pomeroy), Maryland scored just 51 points despite turning it over 13 fewer times in a somewhat similarly-paced game.

We did one thing notably well defensively: force/get turnovers. We defended the 3pt line just okay (Maryland missed some open looks), and were atrocious defensively inside the 3pt line.

My impression of Maryland in that game was that everything it threw up went in -- hot team vs. bad defense? Maybe a little of both, but definitely the former!

Maybe next time the Terps won't be so lucky.

sagegrouse

subzero02
02-18-2013, 03:45 PM
After reading the last two posts, the Maryland loss just got a little worse... Is there any word about a possible injury to Mason? K sat him quite a bit and I don't believe it was due to foul trouble... I think he was conceding that "mason just doesn't have it today". Either way, his play in that game is gigantic concern... All eyes on him on thursday

Kedsy
02-18-2013, 03:47 PM
After reading the last two posts, the Maryland loss just got a little worse... Is there any word about a possible injury to Mason? K sat him quite a bit and I don't believe it was due to foul trouble... I think he was conceding that "mason just doesn't have it today". Either way, his play in that game is gigantic concern... All eyes on him on thursday

Before the game, some internet sites listed Mason as nursing a sore ankle. However, as far as I know, nothing like that was mentioned or even alluded to by Duke sources.

CDu
02-18-2013, 04:50 PM
My impression of Maryland in that game was that everything it threw up went in -- hot team vs. bad defense? Maybe a little of both, but definitely the former!

Maybe next time the Terps won't be so lucky.

sagegrouse

But the facts don't really support this. Maryland shot only 30% from 3pt range, so it's not like everything they threw up was going in. In fact, they shot below their season average on 3s. The reason it seemed like everything they threw up went in is because most of their shots were taken close to the basket, and usually without suffocating defense contesting the shot.

Here's the play-by-play. Notice how many of those Maryland buckets are layups, dunks, or free throws. And note that at least two of Wells' jumpers and one of Allen's jumpers was inside of 10 feet.

I'd say there was very little about this that could be attributed to luck. Maybe 3 or 4 shots. And when you consider Maryland's offensive rebound rate, that equates to 1 or 2 fewer possessions for Maryland. Would that have been enough for the win? Maybe. But it's still a pretty poor defensive performance.

Listen to Quants
02-18-2013, 05:00 PM
Yeah, I think this is big. I don't buy the stuff on other threads about Mason not having true post offense or whatever, but the one area of his game that I've always been just a little bit disappointed in is his shot blocking. He "should" be one of the best shot blockers in the country with his height and athleticism. But, it's clearly at least partly intentional to avoid fouls, which is even more important now with Kelly out. Sometimes it's taken to a ridiculous and hilarious extreme like in the first few minutes of the 2nd half of the UNC game when he literally wasn't trying to play defense, but overall I think it's probably a wise strategy on his/K's part.

Would be lovely. On an, otherwise, weak rebounding team, it might not be wise for the dominant rebounder to be skying for blocks too too much. At least, it is a double edged sword, it's nice to get blocks, both for themselves and put the thought in the head of inside shooters. But, it's deadly to remove the one good rebounder.

CDu
02-18-2013, 05:57 PM
But the facts don't really support this. Maryland shot only 30% from 3pt range, so it's not like everything they threw up was going in. In fact, they shot below their season average on 3s. The reason it seemed like everything they threw up went in is because most of their shots were taken close to the basket, and usually without suffocating defense contesting the shot.

Here's the play-by-play. Notice how many of those Maryland buckets are layups, dunks, or free throws. And note that at least two of Wells' jumpers and one of Allen's jumpers was inside of 10 feet.

I'd say there was very little about this that could be attributed to luck. Maybe 3 or 4 shots. And when you consider Maryland's offensive rebound rate, that equates to 1 or 2 fewer possessions for Maryland. Would that have been enough for the win? Maybe. But it's still a pretty poor defensive performance.

Whoops, didn't actually link the play-by-play. Sorry:
http://espn.go.com/ncb/playbyplay?gameId=330470120

Billy Dat
02-20-2013, 03:10 PM
Interesting take on Mason's fouling via Luke Winn of SI:

Duke Blue Devils (22-3)
When the Terrapins upset Duke on Saturday, they came in with a plan to attack Mason Plumlee, All-American and anchor of the Blue Devils' thin frontcourt. "We said Plumlee doesn't want to guard you," Maryland guard Seth Allen told the Washington Post. "He averages two fouls per game. Just go at him. Every play. That's what [center Alex Len] did. He didn't do any fadeaways. Just took it right to [Plumlee's] chin."

Plumlee stayed foul-free in the first half, but was whistled five times in the second, resulting in his first DQ of the season. Plumlee was remarkably good at foul-avoidance during the first six ACC games, but teams seem to be attacking him more of late. I used play-by-play data to calculate the average game time* of each of his fouls, and came up with some striking splits:

Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-basketball/news/20130220/college-basketball-power-rankings/#ixzz2LTSu0QkZ

daveyro
02-20-2013, 03:33 PM
Let me start by saying I am not bothered by the negativity on these forums about the team esp after losses, but I am offended by the lack of civility, name calling (troll, stupid, ignorant, you must have watching a different game). We are all Duke fans here, but not everyone watches a game three times plus all the other teams as some do. We are held together by a common thread. Maybe it's the anonymity on-line. I have lot's of great bar arguments about sports, but no one insults anyone to their face.

Anyway, having watched for 31 years, I've always loved the on ball overplay, shutting down passsing lane. A Duke standard. You don't have to have the speed of Kyrie Irving to body up and overplay, just a little help/rotation. I don't believe I've seen that consistently this year. If I am wrong, let me know and call me a stupid troll.

greybeard
02-20-2013, 10:31 PM
Before the game, some internet sites listed Mason as nursing a sore ankle. However, as far as I know, nothing like that was mentioned or even alluded to by Duke sources.

If it was his left leg that seemed sore, it seemed to me that he was favoring it when running down the court several months ago. Ankle injuries tht are not bad can get to feel better but are a tweak from being sore again, a little ankle collapse and you are not the same. I'm nt saying that I was right back then, he did go on to play spectacular basketball for a long run after that, and did not see the Maryland game.

For what it's worth, I think that Len will be the most successful pro from among all current ACC players. If he stys 2 more years, which I doubt, he might well be the one-one in the draft.

Duke's defensive weaknesses stem, in my view, from its lack of an athletic front court, in particular a lanky but strong athletic 6'6" to 6'8" three with a killer mid range jumper he can get off in a number of ways, with an ability to get to the basket and score in a variety of ways, can rebound the ball and fly and finish/score on the fast break. Most teams have 2 or 3 such players, if you count the number of 65'4" big guards with similar games as Rashead but another 15-20 lbs of muscle. Those guys open the floor and really hurt the other team on the offensive end. They also animate the defense.

Right now, especially without Kelly, Duke creates defense off its 3-ball game. If Seth is making crazy 3s, and Cooke and Rashead can lend some support, it puts ever incresing pressure on the other team's offense to keep up. Then, you take or try to take away what each of them "like," they take what they don't like and miss shots you'd think they'd make only it is not the shot that they want, they miss a few, try creating off the dribble or pass and start getting turned over. A run of that and Duke shoots a good percentage of 3s and start hurting the other team at the rim, and Duke then is in control. When the three-ball is nopt so good, the pressure flips and Duke's defense suffers. I know that this sounds like a flip on convention--good defense creates good offense--but I am not alone in thinking that it works the other way in a number of instances. Listen real carefully and you will hear it.