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View Full Version : 4 does not equal 4



Eakane
03-04-2014, 10:55 AM
So we're right back where we were preseason -- #4. But this team would kick the crap out of that team. Consider some of the changes:

Sulaimon and Jefferson have emerged as not good, but great players, both capable of altering a game;
Plumlee has become an effective rim protector and rebounder;
Dawkins is now a dangerous weapon that can rip your heart out;
Parker and Hood are Parker and Hood, but both are more effective and better defensively
Cook is better focused and figuring out his role extremely well;
Heck, even TT has stopped posting 0 point-5 pf games, and is a great asset now offensively and defensively.

Most notably, this is now a TEAM. They've adapted to the new rules and to each other. I think this team beats ND and Clemson, and probably Arizona and Kansas too.

If we stat healthy, and throw in a few more 3's, then there's no limit what we can do.

DukieInBrasil
03-04-2014, 11:01 AM
So we're right back where we were preseason -- #4. But this team would kick the crap out of that team. Consider some of the changes:

Sulaimon and Jefferson have emerged as not good, but great players, both capable of altering a game;
Plumlee has become an effective rim protector and rebounder;
Dawkins is now a dangerous weapon that can rip your heart out;
Parker and Hood are Parker and Hood, but both are more effective and better defensively
Cook is better focused and figuring out his role extremely well;
Heck, even TT has stopped posting 0 point-5 pf games, and is a great asset now offensively and defensively.

Most notably, this is now a TEAM. They've adapted to the new rules and to each other. I think this team beats ND and Clemson, and probably Arizona and Kansas too.

If we stat healthy, and throw in a few more 3's, then there's no limit what we can do.

Agree that the team now would beat the team we were at the beginning of the year. Agree with your assertions about Sulaimon, Jefferson, Plumlee, Parker and Hood. Dawkins is the same player, dangerous yet mercurial. Disagree about Cook, he has regressed and seems to have lost what his role actually is. Also disagree about TT, he has been very steady, and very seldom has had 0 pt, 5 foul games.

Trinity09
03-04-2014, 11:05 AM
I agree that the team is better than it was to start the season, but I think you're off on a couple points:

-Dawkins has ALWAYS been a dangerous weapon. Baylor 2010, anyone?

-Cook has pretty clearly regressed. 3 point shooting, rebounding, assists all down from the beginning of the year. With Sheed and TT getting more minutes at point, maybe Quinn's efficiency numbers are better than the naked eye suggests since his usage is down. In any event, getting a rim-attacking, shot-making, confident Quinn back would be huge for this team IMO.

JasonEvans
03-04-2014, 11:20 AM
I would ague that when we were ranked 4 in the preseason, it was largely because of expectations we would mature into about the team we are today. No, the exact way we matured and the roles the players took in that process were not predictable, but the fact that we evolved as a team and got better over the course of the season should not come as some huge surprise.

I would wager that just about any top ten team right now would beat the October/November version of themselves or whoever was in that ranking spot in Oct/Nov. That's just how the season works.

--Jason "still, I have certainly enjoyed the way this Duke bunch has evolved and continues to do so" Evans

CDu
03-04-2014, 11:45 AM
I would echo Jason's sentiments that a #4 ranking in October/November is a far different implication than a #4 ranking in March.

I completely agree that we're almost certainly better now than we were in November. But I would disagree a bit with some of the arguments made in the original post.

I would not classify Jefferson as a "great" player yet. He has been great at times, but he has yet to show the consistency to be considered great. To wit: over his past 4 games, Jefferson has averaged 4.75 ppg and 4.75 rpg. I'd argue that he's been slightly outplayed by Plumlee over the past 3 games. Jefferson certainly has the potential to be great, and has certainly been the game-changer in a number of games. But we've only seen it in spurts.

In a similar story, I'm not sure I'm ready to call Plumlee an effective rim protector and rebounder. He's clearly an effective offensive rebounder, and in his last few games has shown signs of being a solid defensive rebounder. But I don't think we're quite to the point where we can say he's an effective rim protector. Still, he's far better than he was early this season.

Lastly, Cook has not been as effective as the season has progressed as he was in November/December. I'm not quite sure why, but as a PG he's struggled in 2014.

All that being said, I'm quite happy with where we are as a team. I'm still hopeful that we continue to improve. But we are definitely playing better ball now than we were in November/December.

Rich
03-04-2014, 11:53 AM
Let's hope that 1 = 4 and that the team at the end of March/beginning of April would kick this team's butt!

Eakane
03-04-2014, 01:17 PM
I would ague that when we were ranked 4 in the preseason, it was largely because of expectations we would mature into about the team we are today. No, the exact way we matured and the roles the players took in that process were not predictable, but the fact that we evolved as a team and got better over the course of the season should not come as some huge surprise.

I would wager that just about any top ten team right now would beat the October/November version of themselves or whoever was in that ranking spot in Oct/Nov. That's just how the season works.

--Jason "still, I have certainly enjoyed the way this Duke bunch has evolved and continues to do so" Evans

Not always Jason. Back at the start, the teams that were ahead of us were (holding back guffaw) Kentucky, Michigan State and Louisville. It does come as a surprise that those three teams have devolved over the course of the season. It is of course a coincidence that we are 4 now and were 4 then, and yeah, most teams would get better from October to March, but our change has been mercurial, imo, and I don't think we're just better, were hugely better.

The points about Jefferson and Cook in the other posts are well taken, but Jefferson IS better now than then, and I'm still hopeful that Cook will stay focused, pick his spots and run the team efficiently. In many ways, Cook is the lynchpin to this team's success.

DBFAN
03-04-2014, 01:52 PM
I find myself extremely confused about Quinn Cook. First of all I agree with the other poster to the fact that he has regressed over this season. What I can't tell is if, his ankles were worse than any of us know, or whether it really is just a mental issue, as in confidence. He just seems to overthink things waaaay too much. Instead of just going with the flow of the offense, he seems to doubt himself and try to make something happen, sometimes it works out for him, but most of the time it doesn't. If he could get back on track this team would become extremely dangerous.

Kedsy
03-04-2014, 03:20 PM
I find myself extremely confused about Quinn Cook. First of all I agree with the other poster to the fact that he has regressed over this season. What I can't tell is if, his ankles were worse than any of us know, or whether it really is just a mental issue, as in confidence. He just seems to overthink things waaaay too much. Instead of just going with the flow of the offense, he seems to doubt himself and try to make something happen, sometimes it works out for him, but most of the time it doesn't. If he could get back on track this team would become extremely dangerous.

If it is the ankle then presumably the 7-day layoff will have helped. I'm interested to see how Quinn looks tomorrow.

hurleyfor3
03-04-2014, 03:32 PM
I dunno. Our shooting isn't going to be any different from what it already is. If we blow out shooting something like 6-for-23 from three, would anyone really be surprised? Welcome to Duke Basketball, amiright?

I still feel like we mailed in the second half against unc (don't mean to argue this here). This in the one game we should be most motivated to win (up to that point), and after nearly two months of steadily improving consistency.

Put it this way, we weren't the fourth-best team at the start of the year. That 4 was an arbitrarily small value of 4. Maybe we're #4 now but it's still possible to argue against it.

MCFinARL
03-04-2014, 03:38 PM
If it is the ankle then presumably the 7-day layoff will have helped. I'm interested to see how Quinn looks tomorrow.

Good point. I am also interested to watch both Quinn and Andre tomorrow, as Coach K suggested that one of his goals for the week off was to figure out how to do the rotation to get more out of the bench, and especially those two players. If he has solved this issue and Quinn, Andre and Marshall are all contributing effectively along with the presumed starting lineup of Tyler, Rasheed, Rodney, Jabari, and Amile, I will be pretty excited about our prospects over the next month.

jv001
03-04-2014, 03:39 PM
I dunno. Our shooting isn't going to be any different from what it already is. If we blow out shooting something like 6-for-23 from three, would anyone really be surprised? Welcome to Duke Basketball, amiright?

I still feel like we mailed in the second half against unc (don't mean to argue this here). This in the one game we should be most motivated to win (up to that point), and after nearly two months of steadily improving consistency.

Put it this way, we weren't the fourth-best team at the start of the year. That 4 was an arbitrarily small value of 4. Maybe we're #4 now but it's still possible to argue against it.

Great point. I thought we had overcome our inconsistency coming into that game and the way we played in the 2nd half was just not Duke like. As much talent as we have, we should not be having 2nd half letups. We need for one or two players to step up and just let the other guys know that kind of play is unacceptable. We've had players that were like that, Shane, Christian, Grant, Nolan, Jon, etc. If we win the two games leading up to the ACCT, then I think we're top 4, if not, then back to the drawing board. But if that's the case, class is about over. GoDuke!

UrinalCake
03-04-2014, 03:50 PM
For the first month or so of the season, Jabari was shooting the ball out of his mind, and the rest of the team sort of sat back and watched. Now he's settled into a better role of allowing other guys to get involved while still taking over in spurts.

Josh has gotten phased out in favor of Marshall and Amile; I think most agree that this is a good thing even though we all love Josh for his effort and toughness.

On offense we're running more motion and less one-on-one, which is great, but when we get behind and start pressing I think we still fall back into hero-mode.

Defensively Coach K must be reading these boards because we're seeing less overplay and switching, replaced by more hedging. For some opponents though, the overplay makes sense and we're still using it effectively.

While our bench is getting more minutes now than at the start of the season, most of us would like to see even more minutes for Marshall, Jones, and Andre.

Overall the team has progressed nicely. 4 still seems like a little too high a ranking, but if we can win out then I think a possible #1 seed would be well-deserved. I'm a little bit concerned that the regular season is almost over and we still haven't quite figured out our rotation; hopefully things will fall into place soon.

Des Esseintes
03-04-2014, 04:04 PM
I would not classify Jefferson as a "great" player yet. He has been great at times, but he has yet to show the consistency to be considered great. To wit: over his past 4 games, Jefferson has averaged 4.75 ppg and 4.75 rpg. I'd argue that he's been slightly outplayed by Plumlee over the past 3 games. Jefferson certainly has the potential to be great, and has certainly been the game-changer in a number of games. But we've only seen it in spurts.

In a similar story, I'm not sure I'm ready to call Plumlee an effective rim protector and rebounder. He's clearly an effective offensive rebounder, and in his last few games has shown signs of being a solid defensive rebounder. But I don't think we're quite to the point where we can say he's an effective rim protector. Still, he's far better than he was early this season.


A bit of a digression, but this thread reminds me of the debates from the summer about Duke's ceiling at the 5. I remember you, like many of us, really wanted to get the Memphis center Black, now playing for KU. I wonder today how our season would have played out differently if we'd gotten him. Black seems somewhat less of a force than KU probably hoped he would be, and Amile has beaten most projections for his play at center. Marshall, too--the sane projections, at least. But Black would have been a good get nonetheless. So: would we be the same team with him? To my eyes, we'd have an equivalent ceiling to today's team, with perhaps a higher floor. And would that higher floor have resulted in one or two fewer losses?

jv001
03-04-2014, 04:10 PM
A bit of a digression, but this thread reminds me of the debates from the summer about Duke's ceiling at the 5. I remember you, like many of us, really wanted to get the Memphis center Black, now playing for KU. I wonder today how our season would have played out differently if we'd gotten him. Black seems somewhat less of a force than KU probably hoped he would be, and Amile has beaten most projections for his play at center. Marshall, too--the sane projections, at least. But Black would have been a good get nonetheless. So: would we be the same team with him? To my eyes, we'd have an equivalent ceiling to today's team, with perhaps a higher floor. And would that higher floor have resulted in one or two fewer losses?

Would Marshall have improved as much with Black and Amile getting most of the minutes? A good question you bring up. I watched part of a Kansas game the other night and the announcers said that Black had been getting more minutes and had made contributions. I have not see enough of his games to make an educated guess as how he would have helped Duke. GoDuke!

Des Esseintes
03-04-2014, 04:17 PM
Would Marshall have improved as much with Black and Amile getting most of the minutes? A good question you bring up. I watched part of a Kansas game the other night and the announcers said that Black had been getting more minutes and had made contributions. I have not see enough of his games to make an educated guess as how he would have helped Duke. GoDuke!

That definitely gets at the question. My suspicion is that Marshall would have progressed as he has regardless of Black's presence. I mean, it's not as though he was getting major minutes on the court, and yet his game has really improved. To me, that says he made his strides as a result of practice and getting healthy. I think a healthy Marshall today is as valuable or more valuable than Black today. But earlier in the year, when he was less reliable? Maybe Black would have given us an option in certain games that we otherwise lacked. Or maybe not. I find it hard to come down hard on either side of this one.

MCFinARL
03-04-2014, 05:06 PM
That definitely gets at the question. My suspicion is that Marshall would have progressed as he has regardless of Black's presence. I mean, it's not as though he was getting major minutes on the court, and yet his game has really improved. To me, that says he made his strides as a result of practice and getting healthy. I think a healthy Marshall today is as valuable or more valuable than Black today. But earlier in the year, when he was less reliable? Maybe Black would have given us an option in certain games that we otherwise lacked. Or maybe not. I find it hard to come down hard on either side of this one.

Yes, this is a good question to while away the last day or so until the team is playing again, because it is so hypothetical. There are so many variables--how would Black have affected the rotation, how would he have affected what happened in practice, would he have had better/worse/different chemistry with the other players than Josh/Amile/Marshall, etc. It's certainly possible he would have made a difference in those games, but he is not such an outstanding talent that it's obvious he would have.

FerryFor50
03-04-2014, 05:25 PM
Agreed on Quinn, re: his regression. I think a lot of it has been physical, but I also think there is a large mental aspect. Quinn seems to be the type that lets his head and emotions affect his play and effort. He hasn't responded that well to the benching and needs different handling than Sheed needed. And you can see that in K's approach to Cook vs Sheed. Sheed got tough love; Quinn has gotten more one on one education during games. (At least that is how it has appeared/felt)