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J_C_Steel
01-07-2014, 11:24 AM
Over on The Worldwide Leader, Jay Bilas has published his list of the top 68 teams in college hoops, as he sees it, on this frigid January 7, 2014 (you need to be an ESPN Insider to read the article in its entirety).

http://insider.espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/10251804/arizona-wildcats-top-jay-bilas-ranking-68-best-teams-college-basketball

He ranks the Blue Devils 18th, and he writes the following:

18. Duke Blue Devils (Previous ranking: 10)
[redacted]

It seems to me (the J_C_Steelastrator) that the 2013-14 Duke Blue Devils will rise and fall with their interior defense and rebounding. With Parker and Hood and Cook all able to shoot and drive (along with Dawkins providing lights-out shooting and Sulaimon slashing to the rim), this team can score the ball. Even when one or even two guys are off, there is firepower to spare. Also, the perimeter defense has been generally OK. You don't see a ton of wide-open three-point attempts or simple pick-and-roll jumpers. Rather, opposing teams are either (1) driving to the hoop, or (2) passing the ball to a post player on the low block. In response, Duke has (1) failed consistently to rotate and defend drivers, and (2) played soft low block defense. Moreover, Duke has allowed far too many teams to crash the boards on the offensive end, forgetting to block out players and doing a dismal job covering the weak side.

Given the personnel, Duke needs to make a choice -- do you simply attempt to out-score teams by playing Cook-Sulaimon/Dawkins-Hood-Parker-Jefferson, or do you try to bone up the defense and rebounding at the expense of the offense by playing Cook-Hood/Sulaimon/Dawkins-Parker-Jefferson-Plumlee? It seems to me that the season will largely hinge on the development of Amile Jefferson at the 4 and Marshall Plumlee at the 5. If those two can rebound and defend, Duke can survive against teams that seek to exploit the two weaknesses I detail above (and that we've all seen). Accordingly, I'd like to see Jefferson's time on the floor increase to the 20-25 minutes range, and Plumlee's increase to the 15-20 minute range. With that kind of time, I believe those kids can give Duke a tougher defensive mentality and learn not to get in the way offensively. Heck, maybe they can really cause problems for opponents on the offensive glass -- Jefferson has certainly flashed that kind of ability.

It's a strange year, in my view. Instead of needing its "star players" to take over, Duke needs two role players to grab more time and provide some spine to a team that badly needs more starch. One thing's for sure, Coach K will play the guys who show him toughness. I'm just hoping that means more (and more effective) Jefferson and Plumlee.

Kedsy
01-07-2014, 12:26 PM
It seems to me (the J_C_Steelastrator) that the 2013-14 Duke Blue Devils will rise and fall with their interior defense and rebounding. With Parker and Hood and Cook all able to shoot and drive (along with Dawkins providing lights-out shooting and Sulaimon slashing to the rim), this team can score the ball. Even when one or even two guys are off, there is firepower to spare. Also, the perimeter defense has been generally OK. You don't see a ton of wide-open three-point attempts or simple pick-and-roll jumpers. Rather, opposing teams are either (1) driving to the hoop, or (2) passing the ball to a post player on the low block. In response, Duke has (1) failed consistently to rotate and defend drivers, and (2) played soft low block defense.

This has obviously been covered in other threads, but I don't feel like I've been watching the same games that you have. Against Notre Dame, Vermont, and Kansas (and perhaps a couple other games), our perimeter defense was awful. As far as opponents dumping it down to the low post, there's a whole thread on this, which play-by-play stats, that seems to show we're not getting hurt that badly in this area.

We've covered the three-point shot fairly well all season, and we had a great deal of defensive improvement from Alabama through Elon, but in the other games we've done a poor job staying in front of our man on the perimeter, a poor job staying with our man off the ball, and a poor job communicating and rotating. It's certainly not all about "interior defense and rebounding."


Moreover, Duke has allowed far too many teams to crash the boards on the offensive end, forgetting to block out players and doing a dismal job covering the weak side.

Except this really isn't true, either. We may not be a great defensive rebounding team, but Duke ranks 74th in the country in defensive rebounding percentage, which is pretty good, especially for a Duke team. In fact, so far this season we've rebounded on the defensive end better than any Duke team in at least the last 17 years and maybe in all Coach K's time.


Given the personnel, Duke needs to make a choice -- do you simply attempt to out-score teams by playing Cook-Sulaimon/Dawkins-Hood-Parker-Jefferson, or do you try to bone up the defense and rebounding at the expense of the offense by playing Cook-Hood/Sulaimon/Dawkins-Parker-Jefferson-Plumlee? It seems to me that the season will largely hinge on the development of Amile Jefferson at the 4 and Marshall Plumlee at the 5. If those two can rebound and defend, Duke can survive against teams that seek to exploit the two weaknesses I detail above (and that we've all seen). Accordingly, I'd like to see Jefferson's time on the floor increase to the 20-25 minutes range, and Plumlee's increase to the 15-20 minute range. With that kind of time, I believe those kids can give Duke a tougher defensive mentality and learn not to get in the way offensively. Heck, maybe they can really cause problems for opponents on the offensive glass -- Jefferson has certainly flashed that kind of ability.

Again, this has been gone over ad nauseam in other threads, and again I feel I must have been watching different games than you have. I know you can't teach height, and he may get there eventually, but right now Marshall Plumlee does not appear to be a very good defensive player. There's no evidence that playing him 15 to 20 minutes would improve our defense, and it's at least equally possible that it would actually make things worse defensively. Plus, there's almost no chance of it happening.

You say we have only two choices, but you've left out what Coach K has been doing all season, namely playing/starting Tyler and Josh to shore up the defense and using Rasheed and Andre to bolster the offense off the bench. You may not like it, but not only is it an available option, at this point it seems like the most likely option. Certainly about a zillion times more likely than Marshall playing half the game.

Sure, Amile might at some point replace Josh in the starting lineup -- Amile has been rebounding ferociously since the third game of the season. And, yeah, it's possible Rasheed replaces Tyler in the starting lineup down the road. But if those things happen, Tyler is still going to get 15 to 25 minutes, and Josh will probably see 8 to 15. No analysis that completely ignores our seniors is going to come true.

Also, as opposed to "simply attempt[ing] to out-score teams," I assume Coach K's strategy will be to continue to try and mold this group of players into a team that can defend. Our players should be able to succeed in this area, they just haven't gotten there yet. That's what I see, anyway.

roywhite
01-07-2014, 12:35 PM
FWIW, Jay Bilas's preseason pick to win the National Title was.....Duke.

Perhaps he doesn't feel like that's a possibility now, or perhaps he's just describing the current state of affairs? At any rate, Jay knows hoops and is generally worth reading/hearing.

hurleyfor3
01-07-2014, 12:48 PM
Copypasting content behind espn's paywall is problematic for us, but Bilas' raw ranking seems to be fair game, so I'll leave this open.

If the NCAA Tournament were to start right now, would anyone be surprised if we didn't make it to the Sweet 16? That's essentially what 18th means.

Kedsy
01-07-2014, 04:23 PM
If the NCAA Tournament were to start right now, would anyone be surprised if we didn't make it to the Sweet 16? That's essentially what 18th means.

I wouldn't say it's impossible, but yes, I'd be very surprised.

J_C_Steel
01-08-2014, 08:57 AM
First of all, thanks for the exceedingly condescending response. It's always nice to feel welcome.


This has obviously been covered in other threads, but I don't feel like I've been watching the same games that you have. Against Notre Dame, Vermont, and Kansas (and perhaps a couple other games), our perimeter defense was awful. As far as opponents dumping it down to the low post, there's a whole thread on this, which play-by-play stats, that seems to show we're not getting hurt that badly in this area.

As I note in my initial post, the defensive problem has been stopping players from driving to the basket. That's not defending the perimeter; that's defending against the dribble drive. These are two distinct things, in my view. I was kind of hoping that posters' reading comprehension skills would grasp the difference.


We've covered the three-point shot fairly well all season, and we had a great deal of defensive improvement from Alabama through Elon, but in the other games we've done a poor job staying in front of our man on the perimeter, a poor job staying with our man off the ball, and a poor job communicating and rotating. It's certainly not all about "interior defense and rebounding."

Indeed, as I note, stopping the dribble drive has been and still is a problem. That's not defending the perimeter.


Except this really isn't true, either. We may not be a great defensive rebounding team, but Duke ranks 74th in the country in defensive rebounding percentage, which is pretty good, especially for a Duke team. In fact, so far this season we've rebounded on the defensive end better than any Duke team in at least the last 17 years and maybe in all Coach K's time.

Here's the thing, you can't look at the statistics as a whole because they include games against teams that were vastly out-classed by the Blue Devils' skill and height. Against teams with solid, Top-25 caliber front courts, the Blue Devils have struggled defending the glass. It was a primary factor in two of Duke's losses.


Again, this has been gone over ad nauseam in other threads, and again I feel I must have been watching different games than you have. I know you can't teach height, and he may get there eventually, but right now Marshall Plumlee does not appear to be a very good defensive player. There's no evidence that playing him 15 to 20 minutes would improve our defense, and it's at least equally possible that it would actually make things worse defensively. Plus, there's almost no chance of it happening.

Two points here. One, it's not particularly helpful to judge Marshall Plumlee based only on his limited minutes this season. I don't know if you're a baseball fan, but we call that a "small sample size." With additional time, Plumlee can certainly be expected to improve both his communication and his confidence, each of which are very helpful on the defensive end of the floor. Two, you simply cannot teach height and length. Last night, Plumlee had a great block and appeared more comfortable defending the low block. He's always been very active and even a little nasty, another facet this Duke team generally lacks. In the long run, more time for Plumlee is likely to improve the Blue Devils' ability to defend the post and rebound the basketball. You're free to think otherwise, but it's certainly not true that there is "no evidence" that playing Plumlee more would improve the defense. There is. It comes in the form of a 7'0" man with a large wingspan who gives maximum effort.


You say we have only two choices, but you've left out what Coach K has been doing all season, namely playing/starting Tyler and Josh to shore up the defense and using Rasheed and Andre to bolster the offense off the bench. You may not like it, but not only is it an available option, at this point it seems like the most likely option. Certainly about a zillion times more likely than Marshall playing half the game.

Josh Hairston, who led the Blue Devils in charges taken last year, has taken how many this year, my friend? The rules changes have drastically reduced Hairston's effectiveness on the defensive end, and he's a black hole on the offensive end. Looking at last night's game, it sure looks to me like Coach K is starting to agree with me on this front -- Hairston played a total of 4 minutes, while Amile Jefferson started and played 28 minutes (right in the range I suggested, actually). That's a move in the right direction, in my view. So Hairston appears no longer to be "the most likely option."

Now, Marshall Plumlee only played 2 minutes, but he was more effective in his deuce (1 block, good presence on the low block) than Hairston was in his foursome (1 foul, 1 turnover).

You are correct that there are more than "two choices," but my suggestion about the Jefferson/Plumlee pairing is the only one that involves the Blue Devils putting excellent height and length on the floor at the 4 and 5 positions. And the more time those guys get on the floor, the better they'll communicate, and the better the defense and rebounding can improve.


Sure, Amile might at some point replace Josh in the starting lineup -- Amile has been rebounding ferociously since the third game of the season. And, yeah, it's possible Rasheed replaces Tyler in the starting lineup down the road. But if those things happen, Tyler is still going to get 15 to 25 minutes, and Josh will probably see 8 to 15. No analysis that completely ignores our seniors is going to come true.

Last night Amile did replace Josh in the starting lineup (I didn't know you were on a first-name basis with those guys; that's cool). And Rasheed replaced Tyler in the starting lineup. Thornton played 6 minutes and Hairston, as discussed above, played 4 minutes. Again, a move in the right direction. They may get slightly more playing time in certain games based on foul trouble or player performance, but I believe you're likely to see our seniors' minutes diminish due to their physical limitations.


Also, as opposed to "simply attempt[ing] to out-score teams," I assume Coach K's strategy will be to continue to try and mold this group of players into a team that can defend. Our players should be able to succeed in this area, they just haven't gotten there yet. That's what I see, anyway.

Absolutely. But you can't teach height and you can't teach length. If these Blue Devils are going to make noise in March and April, I believe the maturation of Jefferson and Plumlee are key to hanging with teams with good-to-great front courts. We shall see.

Kedsy
01-08-2014, 09:22 AM
As I note in my initial post, the defensive problem has been stopping players from driving to the basket. That's not defending the perimeter; that's defending against the dribble drive. These are two distinct things, in my view. I was kind of hoping that posters' reading comprehension skills would grasp the difference.


Indeed, as I note, stopping the dribble drive has been and still is a problem. That's not defending the perimeter.

How is stopping the dribble-drive not defending the perimeter? It starts on the perimeter and is generally executed by perimeter players and defended by perimeter players. In my opinion, it's the most important aspect of perimeter defense.

If all you mean by defending the perimeter is stopping the three-point shot, then it's possible the problem here is skills of expression rather than reading comprehension.



Here's the thing, you can't look at the statistics as a whole because they include games against teams that were vastly out-classed by the Blue Devils' skill and height. Against teams with solid, Top-25 caliber front courts, the Blue Devils have struggled defending the glass. It was a primary factor in two of Duke's losses.

It may have been a factor, but I disagree that it was the primary factor. Lots of things hurt us a lot more in our losses than our supposed lack of defensive rebounding.


Two points here. One, it's not particularly helpful to judge Marshall Plumlee based only on his limited minutes this season. I don't know if you're a baseball fan, but we call that a "small sample size."


Thornton played 6 minutes and Hairston, as discussed above, played 4 minutes. Again, a move in the right direction. They may get slightly more playing time in certain games based on foul trouble or player performance, but I believe you're likely to see our seniors' minutes diminish due to their physical limitations.

Talk about a limited sample size. It was one game. I admit I was surprised both at how quick Coach K changed the starting lineup (as I said earlier I thought it would happen down the road but not immediately) and at how few minutes both Tyler and Josh played last night, but one game does not make a trend. I'll be surprised again if Tyler averages fewer than 15 to 20 and/or Josh averages fewer than 8 to 12 from here on in. Doesn't mean it won't happen, but I will be surprised if it does.


You're free to think otherwise, but it's certainly not true that there is "no evidence" that playing Plumlee more would improve the defense. There is. It comes in the form of a 7'0" man with a large wingspan who gives maximum effort.

That's not evidence. That's just hope. Plenty of 7' players who try hard aren't good defensive players. Also, from what I've heard, Marshall's wingspan is actually pretty small for a guy his height.


Josh Hairston, who led the Blue Devils in charges taken last year, has taken how many this year, my friend? The rules changes have drastically reduced Hairston's effectiveness on the defensive end, and he's a black hole on the offensive end. Looking at last night's game, it sure looks to me like Coach K is starting to agree with me on this front -- Hairston played a total of 4 minutes, while Amile Jefferson started and played 28 minutes (right in the range I suggested, actually). That's a move in the right direction, in my view. So Hairston appears no longer to be "the most likely option."

I never said Josh would play more than Amile. I've been a pretty strong backer of Amile on these boards and hoped he would play 20 to 25 minutes while expecting Josh to play 8 to 15. What I said was playing Josh and Tyler was a more likely option than Marshall playing 15 to 20 minutes a game.

Also, even without the charges, of all our bigs Josh is best at defensive positioning. Even in his four minutes last night he did it very well, while Marshall in his two minutes got out of position at least once that I noticed.



You are correct that there are more than "two choices," but my suggestion about the Jefferson/Plumlee pairing is the only one that involves the Blue Devils putting excellent height and length on the floor at the 4 and 5 positions. And the more time those guys get on the floor, the better they'll communicate, and the better the defense and rebounding can improve.

I just don't see it happening. But I suppose anything is possible.

grad_devil
01-08-2014, 09:47 AM
...
Absolutely. But you can't teach height and you can't teach length. If these Blue Devils are going to make noise in March and April, I believe the maturation of Jefferson and Plumlee are key to hanging with teams with good-to-great front courts. We shall see.

I agree you can't teach height and length, but it seems to me that MP3 only has the former. Does anyone have data on his wingspan? All I have is the way it looks to me, but my eye-test says that Marshall suffers from T-Rex syndrome.

Then again, I could be totally wrong. Correct me, someone?

tommy
01-08-2014, 11:07 AM
Two points here. One, it's not particularly helpful to judge Marshall Plumlee based only on his limited minutes this season. I don't know if you're a baseball fan, but we call that a "small sample size." With additional time, Plumlee can certainly be expected to improve both his communication and his confidence, each of which are very helpful on the defensive end of the floor. Two, you simply cannot teach height and length. Last night, Plumlee had a great block and appeared more comfortable defending the low block. He's always been very active and even a little nasty, another facet this Duke team generally lacks. In the long run, more time for Plumlee is likely to improve the Blue Devils' ability to defend the post and rebound the basketball. You're free to think otherwise, but it's certainly not true that there is "no evidence" that playing Plumlee more would improve the defense. There is. It comes in the form of a 7'0" man with a large wingspan who gives maximum effort.



Now, Marshall Plumlee only played 2 minutes, but he was more effective in his deuce (1 block, good presence on the low block) than Hairston was in his foursome (1 foul, 1 turnover).

You are correct that there are more than "two choices," but my suggestion about the Jefferson/Plumlee pairing is the only one that involves the Blue Devils putting excellent height and length on the floor at the 4 and 5 positions. And the more time those guys get on the floor, the better they'll communicate, and the better the defense and rebounding can improve.



Absolutely. But you can't teach height and you can't teach length. If these Blue Devils are going to make noise in March and April, I believe the maturation of Jefferson and Plumlee are key to hanging with teams with good-to-great front courts. We shall see.

The guy who doesn't have such a small sample size from which to judge Marshall is Coach K. He sees him every day in practice, in addition to what we all see in the games.

If it is so essential to this team's success in March and April that Marshall Plumlee get minutes now, do you have a theory as to why he is not getting them?

flyingdutchdevil
01-08-2014, 11:10 AM
I agree you can't teach height and length, but it seems to me that MP3 only has the former. Does anyone have data on his wingspan? All I have is the way it looks to me, but my eye-test says that Marshall suffers from T-Rex syndrome.

Then again, I could be totally wrong. Correct me, someone?

Mason Plumlee suffers from t-rex syndrome (6'11.25 H, 6'11" wingspan) but Miles Plumlee is the opposite (6'10.5 H, 7'0.75" wingspan).

If genetics are correlated in the Plumlee household, and given that Marshall is the tallest, he may have the shortest arms in the family.

That said, I have no idea. Just thought it was interesting that Miles and Mason are basically opposites in H and wingspan.

J_C_Steel
01-08-2014, 11:32 AM
The guy who doesn't have such a small sample size from which to judge Marshall is Coach K. He sees him every day in practice, in addition to what we all see in the games.

Agreed. Coach K definitely sees him every day.


If it is so essential to this team's success in March and April that Marshall Plumlee get minutes now, do you have a theory as to why he is not getting them?

There are a hundred different potential answers to this, but my point is that the Blue Devils' struggles against talented front courts means that Coach K and the rest of the staff are likely to turn to Jefferson and Plumlee to plug the leaks. My post was a bit prescient on this issue given that Coach K started Jefferson over Hairston hours later (and Jefferson played 28 minutes to Hairston's 4 minutes). As to Plumlee, the best way to build his confidence is to put him in circumstances where he can succeed -- limited minutes at the beginning of the ACC season is a way to do that.

By late February, I believe Plumlee has a decent shot to be playing 10-15 minutes per game, provided he continues his aggressive play. His height and bulk are solid. I'll grant you that he doesn't appear to have great length, but Jefferson certainly does, which makes a Jefferson/Plumlee tandem potentially the best rebounding and defensive 4 & 5 the Blue Devils can put on the floor. We shall see.

Troublemaker
01-08-2014, 11:34 AM
I agree you can't teach height and length, but it seems to me that MP3 only has the former. Does anyone have data on his wingspan? All I have is the way it looks to me, but my eye-test says that Marshall suffers from T-Rex syndrome.

Then again, I could be totally wrong. Correct me, someone?

No, you're totally right. Draft Express has MP3's wingspan as 6' 8.5" : http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Marshall-Plumlee-6261/

His arms are ridiculously short for his height and they're all I can see when he's on the court. I feel really rude staring at them, to be honest, like if Frank Beamer invited me to his house and I spent the entire time looking at his goiter.

Marshall has really short arms. I need to get over it and move on with my life.

jv001
01-08-2014, 11:39 AM
The guy who doesn't have such a small sample size from which to judge Marshall is Coach K. He sees him every day in practice, in addition to what we all see in the games.

If it is so essential to this team's success in March and April that Marshall Plumlee get minutes now, do you have a theory as to why he is not getting them?

I do. TRUST. Coach K does see him in practice, but from what I've seen in games is that Marshall could be as affective as Josh if given the minutes. I love Josh for his 4 years at Duke, but he's too short to defend big 5s. He is too slow to guard athletic 4s. I know Josh understands Duke's man to man but the former negatives keep him from being any better option than Marshall. Well in my eyes anyway. Ok, let me have it Marshall doubters, lol. GoDuke!

wk2109
01-08-2014, 11:47 AM
By late February, I believe Plumlee has a decent shot to be playing 10-15 minutes per game, provided he continues his aggressive play. His height and bulk are solid. I'll grant you that he doesn't appear to have great length, but Jefferson certainly does, which makes a Jefferson/Plumlee tandem potentially the best rebounding and defensive 4 & 5 the Blue Devils can put on the floor. We shall see.

I hope that Marshall develops into someone who can contribute 10-15 mpg, but even if he does, I really doubt we'll ever see more than 5 minutes of a Marshall/Amile tandem per game (and even that seems high), simply because Jabari will certainly be playing 30+ minutes in the frontcourt. There's a zero-sum game situation with frontcourt minutes -- if Marshall plays, he'll be eating into Amile and/or Josh's minutes, not Jabari's.

uh_no
01-08-2014, 12:03 PM
Mason Plumlee suffers from t-rex syndrome (6'11.25 H, 6'11" wingspan) but Miles Plumlee is the opposite (6'10.5 H, 7'0.75" wingspan).

If genetics are correlated in the Plumlee household, and given that Marshall is the tallest, he may have the shortest arms in the family.

That said, I have no idea. Just thought it was interesting that Miles and Mason are basically opposites in H and wingspan.

if mason has t-rex syndrome, then marshall has snake syndrome....

http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Marshall-Plumlee-6261/

he's listed as 7'1 with a 6'8" wingspan....

i'd say miles has gorilla proportions, mason has standard proportions, and marshall has t-rex proportions

ChrisP
01-08-2014, 12:07 PM
I realize the topic of MP3's minutes has been covered in other threads (and by people more knowledgeable and insightful than I) but...as I watched the GT game last night and saw some terrible interior defense in the first half, all I could think of was "How much worse could it be with MP3 playing more minutes?" To me, really, that's the bottom line - what could it hurt at a point like that?

Now, I realize we played much better D in the second half and yes, I realize that simple mathematics says that additional minutes for Marshall come at the expense of someone else on the team but...as others have pointed out, you can't teach size or height and if some beef in the middle is what we're lacking, I sure would like to see MP3 get some more minutes at this point in the season and let him learn on the job, so to speak. I trust of course that K knows what he's doing with the lineups and substitution patterns and maybe Marshall would end up looking silly out there, but when you show virtually NO interior defense as we did in that first half against Tech, it seems it might be worth a shot to give MP3 some more minutes and at least see what happens, right?

CDu
01-08-2014, 12:29 PM
I do. TRUST. Coach K does see him in practice, but from what I've seen in games is that Marshall could be as affective as Josh if given the minutes. I love Josh for his 4 years at Duke, but he's too short to defend big 5s. He is too slow to guard athletic 4s. I know Josh understands Duke's man to man but the former negatives keep him from being any better option than Marshall. Well in my eyes anyway. Ok, let me have it Marshall doubters, lol. GoDuke!

Bingo. Trust is a big thing for Coach K. And he's shown in the past to be loath to go deep to the unknown unless he absolutely has to do so.

Hairston knows where to be on the floor defensively. That's certainly better than not knowing where to be. But knowing where to be only helps so much. You need to know where to be AND be able to do something once you're there.

Hairston rarely gets caught out of position. But despite being in position, he rarely gets rebounds, rarely makes defensive stops, and is nonexistent on offense. Some have argued that he provides "boxing out" benefits that lead to others getting rebounds, but I don't see any evidence of that. For example, last night was one of our best rebounding games of the season, and Hairston played sparingly. Moreover, our leading rebounder (Jefferson) was also frequently the guy asked to box out the opposing C. One can box out without being a non-factor statistically.

Conversely, Plumlee may sometimes get out of position. I do think some folks overstate how frequently he's out of position defensively (my eyes tell me his positioning problem is more on the offensive end). But sure, it may happen. But what is undeniable is that he seems to be more involved in the action when he's in there than Hairston. He averages almost as many rebounds and almost as many assists as Hairston despite playing less than half of Hairston's minutes. And he has as many steals and more blocks than Hairston. And Hairston's foul rate is nearly 3 times that of Plumlee.

I have trouble believing that Plumlee's supposed deficiencies in positioning offset his advantages in ability to produce/extend possessions. It just seems like Coach K has a bit more trust in Hairston than he does Plumlee, and that trust is keeping Plumlee on the bench.

It should be noted, however, that we may be seeing a shift. Jefferson has seemingly supplanted Hairston in the rotation. Hairston is now averaging just 9 mpg over the past 4 games, and just 6.5 mpg in the 2 ACC games. So the real discussion may be whether Plumlee should be playing more at the expense of Jefferson - not Hairston.

Right now, I'd argue that Plumlee should be playing more over Hairston. But that doesn't matter much, since Hairston isn't playing much. I don't think I would make the same argument for Plumlee over Jefferson right now.

azzefkram
01-08-2014, 12:43 PM
Bingo. Trust is a big thing for Coach K. And he's shown in the past to be loath to go deep to the unknown unless he absolutely has to do so.

Hairston knows where to be on the floor defensively. That's certainly better than not knowing where to be. But knowing where to be only helps so much. You need to know where to be AND be able to do something once you're there.

Hairston rarely gets caught out of position. But despite being in position, he rarely gets rebounds, rarely makes defensive stops, and is nonexistent on offense. Some have argued that he provides "boxing out" benefits that lead to others getting rebounds, but I don't see any evidence of that. For example, last night was one of our best rebounding games of the season, and Hairston played sparingly. Moreover, our leading rebounder (Jefferson) was also frequently the guy asked to box out the opposing C. One can box out without being a non-factor statistically.

Conversely, Plumlee may sometimes get out of position. I do think some folks overstate how frequently he's out of position defensively (my eyes tell me his positioning problem is more on the offensive end). But sure, it may happen. But what is undeniable is that he seems to be more involved in the action when he's in there than Hairston. He averages almost as many rebounds and almost as many assists as Hairston despite playing less than half of Hairston's minutes. And he has as many steals and more blocks than Hairston. And Hairston's foul rate is nearly 3 times that of Plumlee.

I have trouble believing that Plumlee's supposed deficiencies in positioning offset his advantages in ability to produce/extend possessions. It just seems like Coach K has a bit more trust in Hairston than he does Plumlee, and that trust is keeping Plumlee on the bench.

It should be noted, however, that we may be seeing a shift. Jefferson has seemingly supplanted Hairston in the rotation. Hairston is now averaging just 9 mpg over the past 4 games, and just 6.5 mpg in the 2 ACC games. So the real discussion may be whether Plumlee should be playing more at the expense of Jefferson - not Hairston.

Right now, I'd argue that Plumlee should be playing more over Hairston. But that doesn't matter much, since Hairston isn't playing much. I don't think I would make the same argument for Plumlee over Jefferson right now.

Great post and exactly how I feel.

Matches
01-08-2014, 12:47 PM
Hairston rarely gets caught out of position. But despite being in position, he rarely gets rebounds, rarely makes defensive stops, and is nonexistent on offense. Some have argued that he provides "boxing out" benefits that lead to others getting rebounds, but I don't see any evidence of that. For example, last night was one of our best rebounding games of the season, and Hairston played sparingly. Moreover, our leading rebounder (Jefferson) was also frequently the guy asked to box out the opposing C. One can box out without being a non-factor statistically.

It should be noted, however, that we may be seeing a shift. Jefferson has seemingly supplanted Hairston in the rotation. Hairston is now averaging just 9 mpg over the past 4 games, and just 6.5 mpg in the 2 ACC games. So the real discussion may be whether Plumlee should be playing more at the expense of Jefferson - not Hairston.

Right now, I'd argue that Plumlee should be playing more over Hairston. But that doesn't matter much, since Hairston isn't playing much. I don't think I would make the same argument for Plumlee over Jefferson right now.

Yea; I'd note that Plumlee *also* played sparingly last night during one of our best rebounding games of the season. It may well be that the optimal situation is Amile playing as many minutes as he is able, with both Josh and MP3 playing spot minutes as needed.

I think Plumlee's minutes have been too few, and too sporadic, to draw any meaningful conclusions from them (except the 0-13 FT which is...yeah). Right now K seems to be deploying him like an A-bomb - he flies in the game, runs around and disrupts things for a few minutes, then exits. Pretty effective but not likely sustainable over a 12-15 min stretch. He does appear to me to be out of position pretty frequently, which would be a real problem if he was in the game long enough for it to matter.

I will say that I find the "it can't get any worse" argument pretty unconvincing (not that you said that, but others in this thread and other threads have). In my experience those are usually the last words spoken before things get much much worse. Josh's limitations are what they are - but yes it really could be worse.

flyingdutchdevil
01-08-2014, 01:08 PM
I think Plumlee's minutes have been too few, and too sporadic, to draw any meaningful conclusions from them (except the 0-13 FT which is...yeah). Right now K seems to be deploying him like an A-bomb - he flies in the game, runs around and disrupts things for a few minutes, then exits. Pretty effective but not likely sustainable over a 12-15 min stretch. He does appear to me to be out of position pretty frequently, which would be a real problem if he was in the game long enough for it to matter.

Don't mean to beat a dead horse, but it's 0-15.

If it gets to 0-20, we need to start a vigil.

jv001
01-08-2014, 02:20 PM
Bingo. Trust is a big thing for Coach K. And he's shown in the past to be loath to go deep to the unknown unless he absolutely has to do so.

Hairston knows where to be on the floor defensively. That's certainly better than not knowing where to be. But knowing where to be only helps so much. You need to know where to be AND be able to do something once you're there.

Hairston rarely gets caught out of position. But despite being in position, he rarely gets rebounds, rarely makes defensive stops, and is nonexistent on offense. Some have argued that he provides "boxing out" benefits that lead to others getting rebounds, but I don't see any evidence of that. For example, last night was one of our best rebounding games of the season, and Hairston played sparingly. Moreover, our leading rebounder (Jefferson) was also frequently the guy asked to box out the opposing C. One can box out without being a non-factor statistically.

Conversely, Plumlee may sometimes get out of position. I do think some folks overstate how frequently he's out of position defensively (my eyes tell me his positioning problem is more on the offensive end). But sure, it may happen. But what is undeniable is that he seems to be more involved in the action when he's in there than Hairston. He averages almost as many rebounds and almost as many assists as Hairston despite playing less than half of Hairston's minutes. And he has as many steals and more blocks than Hairston. And Hairston's foul rate is nearly 3 times that of Plumlee.

I have trouble believing that Plumlee's supposed deficiencies in positioning offset his advantages in ability to produce/extend possessions. It just seems like Coach K has a bit more trust in Hairston than he does Plumlee, and that trust is keeping Plumlee on the bench.

It should be noted, however, that we may be seeing a shift. Jefferson has seemingly supplanted Hairston in the rotation. Hairston is now averaging just 9 mpg over the past 4 games, and just 6.5 mpg in the 2 ACC games. So the real discussion may be whether Plumlee should be playing more at the expense of Jefferson - not Hairston.

Right now, I'd argue that Plumlee should be playing more over Hairston. But that doesn't matter much, since Hairston isn't playing much. I don't think I would make the same argument for Plumlee over Jefferson right now.

I agree with everything in your post. Including the bolded portion of your post. Amile needs to get as many minutes as he can handle and stay out of foul trouble. He's even doing that well. Marshall needs as many minutes as he can handle unless he really under performs. However not in end of game minutes because of his free throw woes. Therefore his minutes should come at the expense of Josh and when Jabari needs a rest. To be an elite program, we will need for the team to improve on defense and it wouldn't hurt for Marshall to improve his all around game as well. GoDuke!

rsvman
01-08-2014, 03:29 PM
Yea; I'd note that Plumlee *also* played sparingly last night during one of our best rebounding games of the season. ....

The whole thread has kind of spontaneously moved in a direction that suggests that the only possible advantage the team could have by playing Plumlee more is better rebounding. It's unfortunate that it trended that way; looking at last night's game then provides evidence that we don't need Marshall because we can rebound just fine without him.

But rebounding isn't the story. It's part of the story, but it's not the story. Re-watch the first half of last night's game (if you have the stomach for it). We rebounded just fine, and yet, there was a glaring problem in the center of the lane: a complete absence of interior defense.

I'm not saying that playing Plumlee more is the obvious solution to the problem, but at the same time I am saying that it is POTENTIALLY a longer-term partial solution to the problem. I am sick of listening to color commentators on my television saying this (or a close approximation of it): "Duke plays an overextended defense that makes it relatively easy for the opposing team to drive the lane. Unfortunately for Duke, they DON'T HAVE A SHOTBLOCKER on the team. Yada Yada, blah blah blah."

I want to scream at the tv that we MIGHT have a shotblocker on the team, but it's hard for him to block shots from the freakin' bench (especially given the previous discussion about his lack of wingspan).:D We have all seen instances during the season in which Plumlee has either blocked or altered shots, sometimes several in quick succession. To be fair, we've also seen times when people have blown by him or put a spin move on him and scored with ease. From the observations I have made over the course of the season so far, it's hard to say which occurs with more frequency.

However, the first half of last night's game was a perfect example of a time when playing Plumlee could not possibly have made our interior defense any worse than it already was, and I really wish Coach K would've given the big guy a reasonable shot at it. He missed one defensive assignment and he was right back on the bench. He needs a slightly longer leash.

Kedsy
01-08-2014, 04:22 PM
Amile needs to get as many minutes as he can handle... Marshall needs as many minutes as he can handle unless he really under performs. However not in end of game minutes because of his free throw woes. Therefore his minutes should come at the expense of Josh and when Jabari needs a rest.

This seems contradictory to me. In our last game, Amile played 28 minutes, so I assume he can handle that much. Jabari only played 21 minutes but we know he'll probably generally play 10 or 15 more. Josh only played 4 minutes (and Marshall had 2). For the sake of future Duke teams, I certainly hope Marshall can "handle" more than 6 minutes a game, or even 10 to 12 (if you add in Jabari resting, which against Georgia Tech saw us go small). As CDu said, if Marshall is going to get significantly more minutes, they'd have to come from Amile, which I don't think sounds like a very good idea at all.

Put another way, on this season's Duke team it would be almost impossible for both Amile and Marshall to get "as many minutes as [they] can handle." At least not without seriously reducing minutes from one or more of our top six players.

jv001
01-08-2014, 04:32 PM
This seems contradictory to me. In our last game, Amile played 28 minutes, so I assume he can handle that much. Jabari only played 21 minutes but we know he'll probably generally play 10 or 15 more. Josh only played 4 minutes (and Marshall had 2). For the sake of future Duke teams, I certainly hope Marshall can "handle" more than 6 minutes a game, or even 10 to 12 (if you add in Jabari resting, which against Georgia Tech saw us go small). As CDu said, if Marshall is going to get significantly more minutes, they'd have to come from Amile, which I don't think sounds like a very good idea at all.

Put another way, on this season's Duke team it would be almost impossible for both Amile and Marshall to get "as many minutes as [they] can handle." At least not without seriously reducing minutes from one or more of our top six players.

Badly posted on my part. I think there will be times that Amile won't get 28 minutes because of foul trouble, getting beaten by a much bigger 5 or just needing more rest. Add in a couple of mins for Jabari while Amile moves to PF and I would expect Marshall to not get more than 10-12 mins max, unless he really improves. Quinn, Rodney and probably Jabari will get 30-35 minutes each. So, that doesn't leave many minutes. GoDuke!

tommy
01-08-2014, 06:48 PM
While last night Miller did hurt us in the post, I agree with many that the more significant problem, again, was giving up dribble penetration. It seemed particularly bad in the first half when even after their guards got into the lane, our bigs often didn't come over and help, try to block shots, etc., until it was too late, if at all. The GT guys just went all the way to the rim.

With respect to Marshall Plumlee, though, it seems to me that the question is this: Is a long-armed, 6'9" Amile Jefferson more or less likely than a short-armed 7'0" Marshall Plumlee to learn to come over and help, put his arms in the air and alter and/or block the shot of a 6'2" or 6'4" or 6'6" guy driving to the hoop? I don't know that Amile isn't just as able to alter the shots of those smaller and mid-sized guys who are primarily the ones hurting us. He towers over those guys, and he has long arms, and he is athletic. So Marshall is a couple inches taller. So what, in that context?

Yes, having a bigger body would normally help against traditional post play. But as has been discussed and demonstrated ad nauseum on these boards, traditional post play has not been where our defense has broken down this season FOR THE MOST PART -- Miller's solid game notwithstanding.

And when it comes to rebounding, Amile has been just a beast, even playing against bigger and stronger guys in the post. Don't think there's a lot of room to complain about his rebounding, or indeed the team's defensive rebounding for most if not all of the year.

FerryFor50
01-08-2014, 06:52 PM
While last night Miller did hurt us in the post, I agree with many that the more significant problem, again, was giving up dribble penetration. It seemed particularly bad in the first half when even after their guards got into the lane, our bigs often didn't come over and help, try to block shots, etc., until it was too late, if at all. The GT guys just went all the way to the rim.

With respect to Marshall Plumlee, though, it seems to me that the question is this: Is a long-armed, 6'9" Amile Jefferson more or less likely than a short-armed 7'0" Marshall Plumlee to learn to come over and help, put his arms in the air and alter and/or block the shot of a 6'2" or 6'4" or 6'6" guy driving to the hoop? I don't know that Amile isn't just as able to alter the shots of those smaller and mid-sized guys who are primarily the ones hurting us. He towers over those guys, and he has long arms, and he is athletic. So Marshall is a couple inches taller. So what, in that context?

Yes, having a bigger body would normally help against traditional post play. But as has been discussed and demonstrated ad nauseum on these boards, traditional post play has not been where our defense has broken down this season FOR THE MOST PART -- Miller's solid game notwithstanding.

And when it comes to rebounding, Amile has been just a beast, even playing against bigger and stronger guys in the post. Don't think there's a lot of room to complain about his rebounding, or indeed the team's defensive rebounding for most if not all of the year.

You're forgetting about leaping ability, which I think Marshall has hands down. More than makes up for the shorter arms. Though I'd be interested in hearing what each's wingspan is...

CDu
01-08-2014, 07:06 PM
I agree with those who have said that rebounding has not been a big problem for the most part this year. I also agree with those who have said that Jefferson has been unequivocally terrific on the boards.

I fall in the camp of thinking our best-case scenario is a rotation something like this:
C: Jefferson 25 mpg-30 mpg, Plumlee 10-15 mpg, Hairston 0-5 mpg
PF: Parker 30-35 mpg, Hood 0-5 mpg, Jefferson 0-5 mpg
SF: Hood 30 mpg, Dawkins/Jones 10 mpg
SG: Sulaimon 25-30 mpg, Dawkins/Thornton/Jones 10-15 mpg
PG: Cook 30-35 mpg, Thornton 5-10 mpg

There will be games where I think Plumlee's size and athleticism will be needed. On those nights, we need him to be ready to contribute 15-20 mpg of solid play. There will be games in which we just don't need Plumlee. On those nights, I'd expect to see him play limited minutes.

CDu
01-08-2014, 07:08 PM
You're forgetting about leaping ability, which I think Marshall has hands down. More than makes up for the shorter arms. Though I'd be interested in hearing what each's wingspan is...

According to DraftExpress, Jefferson has a wingspan of 7'0". Plumlee has a wingspan of 6'8.5".

http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Amile-Jefferson-6271/
http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Marshall-Plumlee-6261/

It's almost like they got them backwards!

So taking height into account, I'd guess that they have a similar standing reach. And I'd guess that Plumlee outjumps Jefferson by quite a bit.

J_C_Steel
01-09-2014, 06:38 PM
I agree with those who have said that rebounding has not been a big problem for the most part this year. I also agree with those who have said that Jefferson has been unequivocally terrific on the boards.

I fall in the camp of thinking our best-case scenario is a rotation something like this:
C: Jefferson 25 mpg-30 mpg, Plumlee 10-15 mpg, Hairston 0-5 mpg
PF: Parker 30-35 mpg, Hood 0-5 mpg, Jefferson 0-5 mpg
SF: Hood 30 mpg, Dawkins/Jones 10 mpg
SG: Sulaimon 25-30 mpg, Dawkins/Thornton/Jones 10-15 mpg
PG: Cook 30-35 mpg, Thornton 5-10 mpg

There will be games where I think Plumlee's size and athleticism will be needed. On those nights, we need him to be ready to contribute 15-20 mpg of solid play. There will be games in which we just don't need Plumlee. On those nights, I'd expect to see him play limited minutes.

Well done. In my view, that distribution of minutes gives this year's edition of the Blue Devils the best chance to win -- provided that Plumlee and Jefferson improve with more PT.