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dukehick
03-17-2007, 11:19 PM
After listening to the basketball analysts all season and reading the season postmortems on this board, it seems that the book of conventional wisdom on Paulus has been written and it goes something like this:

1. Paulus commits too many turnovers. He needs to do a better job of taking care of the ball evidenced by his low assist to turnover ratio.
2. Paulus showed some grit on offense in the second half of the season because someone needed to step up and fill the void. However, he really isnít a high caliber perimeter scoring threat in the traditional Duke mold.
3. Paulus is too slow. He isnít quick enough to take his man and he has poor lateral quickness on defense and therefore gets beaten by his man.

Now letís take a closer look at each one of theseÖ

Turnovers
Letís start with the turnovers. Paulusí turnovers are actually down this year. During his freshman year he committed 3.3 turnovers per game compared with 3.1 per game this year. Still too many you say? Well, letís put those turnovers into proper historical perspective. Here are a few season turnover stats from former Duke point guards:

Bobby Hurley (Freshman) 4.3 TO/G
Bobby Hurley (Sophomore) 3.9 TO/G
Bobby Hurley (Junior) 3.5 TO/G
Bobby Hurley (Senior) 3.4 TO/G
Jason Williams (Freshman) 4.1 TO/G
Jason Williams (Sophomore) 3.9 TO/G
Jason Williams (Junior) 3.7 TO/G
Tommy Amaker (Freshman) 3.0 TO/G
Chris Duhon (Junior) 3.0 TO/G

(I should mention that Wojo, never had more than 1.8 TO/G and Amaker and Duhon kept theirs <3 in their other seasons not listed.)

So my point here is that Paulusí turnover numbers are not really that high relative to other PGs in the Duke system. So the culprit with Paulusí A/T ratio is the relatively low assist total. That is certainly something Greg will need to work on and improve. However we should remember that the PGs listed above had guys like Dawkins, Laettner, Hill, Boozer, Battier, Shelden and Redick on the other end of those assists. Consider the offensive personnel that Paulus had to work with this yearÖ

Scoring Threat
Now letís talk about Paulus as a scoring threat. When the season started I, and pretty much everyone else, would have said that Scheyer is the guy that would need to try to step in and fill the void that JJ left on the perimeter. Early in the season, that is pretty much what happened. But over the course of the season, Paulus became more and more dangerous from behind the arc. I knew this was the case but I was shocked when I looked at his final season 3 point shooting percentage. A torrid 45.6%! That is the sixth all-time highest single season percentage at Duke. And the five guys at the top of the list are not named Trajan or JJ. Also, his 68 total 3 pointers made puts him ahead of Jeff Capelís sophomore season, Hurleyís junior season, Trajanís freshman season, and Dunleavyís sophomore season. By comparison, Scheyer (and this is not a criticism of him) shot only 36.5% with a total of 61 made.

Speed
It is true that you canít coach quickness but a couple of former Dukies have proven that you can work on it. Anyone who remembers Wojoís first two years at Duke knows that he was a step too slow to be truly effective. JJ got off to a great start at Duke but saw his game plateau in his second year due to his lack of speed. Both Wojo and JJ worked their butts off over the summer and showed remarkable improvements in speed as upperclassman. They also learned over time how to play their man on defense more effectively and keep their man in front of them.

We heard stories at the beginning of this year about how Paulus went ďJJĒ over the summer and had really got into great shape. Well that was all thrown out the window by his injury. Something tells me that Paulus is not going to sit on the couch eating nachos this summerÖ

I donít expect this argument to sway all the Paulus doubters. I am sure they could come up with some lies, damn lies and statistics of their own. However, I think those who think that Duke will not be able to be a contender with Paulus at the point and/or who actually think that Paulus will lose his spot to Nolan Smith at some point next year really need to take a closer look at Gregís game. Consider what he has done, who has been around to help him, and what he has been up against.

Furthermore, Greg showed more leadership down the stretch than anyone on the team. Personally, I think he should be named as the sole captain for next yearís team.

Exiled_Devil
03-17-2007, 11:31 PM
I'm with you on Paulus being a great leader for the team, and I think he did a good job over the course of the year.

I am interested looking at your stats, though, to see the A/TO ratio for each of those guys - that stat tells alot about how effective of a PG the player is.

I am with you on supporting Paulus, but comparisons to Hurley just seem a bit outlandish. I think he is good, but Hurley is the gold standard.

Exiled
PS - I agree about training quickness - people keep saying its impossible and I know I have seen athletes increase thier speed (Heck, that is the only goal of sprinters.)

dukie8
03-17-2007, 11:44 PM
After listening to the basketball analysts all season and reading the season postmortems on this board, it seems that the book of conventional wisdom on Paulus has been written and it goes something like this:

1. Paulus commits too many turnovers. He needs to do a better job of taking care of the ball evidenced by his low assist to turnover ratio.
2. Paulus showed some grit on offense in the second half of the season because someone needed to step up and fill the void. However, he really isnít a high caliber perimeter scoring threat in the traditional Duke mold.
3. Paulus is too slow. He isnít quick enough to take his man and he has poor lateral quickness on defense and therefore gets beaten by his man.

Now letís take a closer look at each one of theseÖ

Turnovers
Letís start with the turnovers. Paulusí turnovers are actually down this year. During his freshman year he committed 3.3 turnovers per game compared with 3.1 per game this year. Still too many you say? Well, letís put those turnovers into proper historical perspective. Here are a few season turnover stats from former Duke point guards:

Bobby Hurley (Freshman) 4.3 TO/G
Bobby Hurley (Sophomore) 3.9 TO/G
Bobby Hurley (Junior) 3.5 TO/G
Bobby Hurley (Senior) 3.4 TO/G
Jason Williams (Freshman) 4.1 TO/G
Jason Williams (Sophomore) 3.9 TO/G
Jason Williams (Junior) 3.7 TO/G
Tommy Amaker (Freshman) 3.0 TO/G
Chris Duhon (Junior) 3.0 TO/G

(I should mention that Wojo, never had more than 1.8 TO/G and Amaker and Duhon kept theirs <3 in their other seasons not listed.)

So my point here is that Paulusí turnover numbers are not really that high relative to other PGs in the Duke system. So the culprit with Paulusí A/T ratio is the relatively low assist total. That is certainly something Greg will need to work on and improve. However we should remember that the PGs listed above had guys like Dawkins, Laettner, Hill, Boozer, Battier, Shelden and Redick on the other end of those assists. Consider the offensive personnel that Paulus had to work with this yearÖ

Scoring Threat
Now letís talk about Paulus as a scoring threat. When the season started I, and pretty much everyone else, would have said that Scheyer is the guy that would need to try to step in and fill the void that JJ left on the perimeter. Early in the season, that is pretty much what happened. But over the course of the season, Paulus became more and more dangerous from behind the arc. I knew this was the case but I was shocked when I looked at his final season 3 point shooting percentage. A torrid 45.6%! That is the sixth all-time highest single season percentage at Duke. And the five guys at the top of the list are not named Trajan or JJ. Also, his 68 total 3 pointers made puts him ahead of Jeff Capelís sophomore season, Hurleyís junior season, Trajanís freshman season, and Dunleavyís sophomore season. By comparison, Scheyer (and this is not a criticism of him) shot only 36.5% with a total of 61 made.

Speed
It is true that you canít coach quickness but a couple of former Dukies have proven that you can work on it. Anyone who remembers Wojoís first two years at Duke knows that he was a step too slow to be truly effective. JJ got off to a great start at Duke but saw his game plateau in his second year due to his lack of speed. Both Wojo and JJ worked their butts off over the summer and showed remarkable improvements in speed as upperclassman. They also learned over time how to play their man on defense more effectively and keep their man in front of them.

We heard stories at the beginning of this year about how Paulus went ďJJĒ over the summer and had really got into great shape. Well that was all thrown out the window by his injury. Something tells me that Paulus is not going to sit on the couch eating nachos this summerÖ

I donít expect this argument to sway all the Paulus doubters. I am sure they could come up with some lies, damn lies and statistics of their own. However, I think those who think that Duke will not be able to be a contender with Paulus at the point and/or who actually think that Paulus will lose his spot to Nolan Smith at some point next year really need to take a closer look at Gregís game. Consider what he has done, who has been around to help him, and what he has been up against.

Furthermore, Greg showed more leadership down the stretch than anyone on the team. Personally, I think he should be named as the sole captain for next yearís team.

looking at ONLY turnover rates is just a tad misleading because it ignores assists. hurley AVERAGED 7.6, 7.4, 7.6 and 8.2 assists/game, which means that his assists/turnovers per game was roughly 2:1 -- not the roughly 1:1 assist/to rate paulus put up this year. it's easy not to make a turnover when you aren't doing anything with the ball. let's take a look at what else was going on in the acc:

lawson: 5.6 assists and 2.2 tos
vasquez: 4.8 assists and 2.8 tos
singletary: 4.7 assists and 3.0 tos
gordon: 4.6 assists and 2.3 tos
rice: 5.5 assists and 3.3 tos
crittendon: 5.8 assists and 3.8 tos

so ALL of the point guards on the teams that were either tied or above us in the acc had significantly better assist/turnover ratios, ALL of them had more assists and 4 of the 6 had less tos. his stats aren't exactly blowing anyone away -- particularly when 3 of the other 6 were freshmen -- and we aren't even addressing the fact that whatever he did on the offensive end usually was negated by the other team's point guard having a monster game (eg, maynor being the most recent).

i also question your conclusion that he was "showing leadership." this team was about as rudderless as i ever have seen a duke team. being a leader means taking charge late in close games and doing whatever it takes to win. battier did this. laettner did this. hurley did this. even jj did this even though the results weren't as good when it matter the most. just today i saw great leadership in acie law, lewis on ohio st and graves on butler. they took their teams on their backs and drove their teams to victory. where did you see paulus being a leader in the past month? i would argue that one of the biggest problems of this team was that it was completely lacking ANY leadership, which is why it lost so many games at the very end. leaders would not have let that happen so many times.

FewFAC
03-17-2007, 11:47 PM
I would go even further with an assumption that this year's version had far fewer possessions than did other years, thus creating a disproportionate opportunity cost in comparison.

HK Dukie
03-17-2007, 11:57 PM
Thank you for this thread. I completely agree that Paulus gets a bad rap. I will go on record as saying he gets at least 2nd team all-acc next year and potentially 1st team (with the standard proviso that he stays healthy, knock on wood).

46% from 3pt range. Higher than Langdon or Redick, two 3pt Duke legends. That should at least give you doubters some pause, to reconsider your positions on our captain.

dukie8
03-18-2007, 12:09 AM
Thank you for this thread. I completely agree that Paulus gets a bad rap. I will go on record as saying he gets at least 2nd team all-acc next year and potentially 1st team (with the standard proviso that he stays healthy, knock on wood).

46% from 3pt range. Higher than Langdon or Redick, two 3pt Duke legends. That should at least give you doubters some pause, to reconsider your positions on our captain.

you have to be kidding me that you are citing 3pt % as evidence that he is a better shooter than redick or langdon -- particularly when so many duke fans were all up in arms over lute olson saying that stoudamire is a better shooter than redick because his percentage was better. did you ever consider the degree of difficulty? redick ALWAYS had the other team's best perimeter player on him (and often another guy) and usually was the focus of the other team's defense. i agree that he really improved his shooting this year but i have no idea how you could possibly believe that he is going to be 1st or 2nd team all acc. if lawson stays, there's 1st team right there. if he doesn't, then vasquez, rice and singletary all had significantly better seasons this year than he and clearly would be the top candidates for 1st and 2nd team (and i am ignoring crittendon who will be much better if he stays).

pfrduke
03-18-2007, 12:15 AM
let's take a look at what else was going on in the acc:

lawson: 5.6 assists and 2.2 tos
vasquez: 4.8 assists and 2.8 tos
singletary: 4.7 assists and 3.0 tos
gordon: 4.6 assists and 2.3 tos
rice: 5.5 assists and 3.3 tos
crittendon: 5.8 assists and 3.8 tos

so ALL of the point guards on the teams that were either tied or above us in the acc had significantly better assist/turnover ratios, ALL of them had more assists and 4 of the 6 had less tos.

For what it's worth, Paulus had a better A/TO ratio in ACC-only play (1.35) than Singletary did (1.26), but it was worse than the other four listed. He turned the ball over less frequently (as a percentage of possessions) against conference competition than Crittenton, Lawson, and Singletary, and was right about even with Rice.

Also (again for what it's worth), Duke's offensive design, at least this year, was not point-guard-focused in terms of assists. Duke placed 4 players in the top 31 in assist rate (assists-per-teammate's made field goals) - Paulus, McRoberts, Nelson, and Henderson. Only FSU (Swann, Douglas, Mims, Allen) also had 4 in the top 31, and neither of them had as good an assist rate as Paulus did. So our assists were more spread out than those of other teams, which contributes to Paulus' lower assist numbers. Though I admit, there's a little bit of a chicken and the egg argument with that last point (was the spread out offensive focus the cause of Paulus' lower assist numbers, or were Paulus' lower assist numbers the cause of the more spread out offensive focus).

HK Dukie
03-18-2007, 12:16 AM
you have to be kidding me that you are citing 3pt % as evidence that he is a better shooter than redick or langdon -- particularly when so many duke fans were all up in arms over lute olson saying that stoudamire is a better shooter than redick because his percentage was better. did you ever consider the degree of difficulty? redick ALWAYS had the other team's best perimeter player on him (and often another guy) and usually was the focus of the other team's defense. i agree that he really improved his shooting this year but i have no idea how you could possibly believe that he is going to be 1st or 2nd team all acc. if lawson stays, there's 1st team right there. if he doesn't, then vasquez, rice and singletary all had significantly better seasons this year than he and clearly would be the top candidates for 1st and 2nd team (and i am ignoring crittendon who will be much better if he stays).

Did I say he was a better shooter than redick or langdon? No I didn't. Please read carefully. I said his 3pt % should give you doubters pause. 6th highest all time at Duke, yeah that should give you pause too. Please care to explain that one?

As for 1st or 2nd team ACC, i'm completely convinced Vasquez will be in jail for all/part of next season. I mean, the guy is just a thug.

In all seriousness, you take the last 10 games for Paulus and he was the best point guard in the ACC. Yes, it didn't translate into wins, but for whatever reason we couldn't finish.

Evidence for strong Junior season from Paulus:

#1 strong finish to sophomore season
#2 46% 3pt % and leading 3pt scorer on team
#3 another season of improvement
#4 hopefully no foot injury or early season illness to slow his development

Add it all together, and I think you have a strong case to think positive for Paulus next year. Get on the bandwagon now.

Kewlswim
03-18-2007, 01:58 AM
Hi,

John Madden says something along the lines that, "Winning cleans up a lot of stink." If Duke is doing well next year, Paulus will receive less scrutiny. If Duke has another year like this one, as the point guard he can expect to be crucified--justified or not. In a way I am sort of sick of talking about it because the one vote that matters, Coach K's, seems squarly for Greg. So, one can fire up one statistic after another and as long as Coach K thinks Greg should play--he will. Also, it seems a bit strange to second guess a coach with so much success. All those years of going to the sweet sixteen, if not farther, and all of the sudden he can't judge talent better than some guy who has a lot fewer credentials. I am not saying Coach K is infallable or that he isn't stubborn (goodness knows he has been quite stubborn at times and I think can be to the detriment of the team), but I am saying he has earned the right not to be second guessed a lot about this. He sees something in Greg and so Greg is his man. I trust Coach K. I am more into supporting people than tearing them down particularly when they wear the right shade of blue.

GO DUKE!

Bob Green
03-18-2007, 02:01 AM
The best thing that could happen to improve Paulus' game next year is for Nolan Smith to be as good as some people believe he is. If Smith can beat people off the dribble and take some of the playmaker load off of Paulus' shoulders by beating the fullcourt press, then Paulus may really be able to exploit his 3-point shooting skills. I would draw an analogy between Duhon/Williams and Smith/Paulus. The 2001 Blue Devils really excelled having two guards on the floor who could both handle and shoot. Duhon enabled Jason Williams the freedom to concentrate on scoring. I'm cautiously optimistic that Paulus will benefit from Smith's presence. I'm cautious because of the "unknown" associated with freshmen.

Bob Green
Yokosuka, Japan

Lulu
03-18-2007, 04:53 AM
...it's easy not to make a turnover when you aren't doing anything with the ball.

I second that, and bump the thought.

I've ripped Paulus a bit here in the forums, but not quite as much as others. However, I don't want that to imply that I have no faith in him or even that I think he should be replaced. Defense aside, I still think he could be a great player for us. Perhaps we can include defense if there's really something to the notion that his injury early in the season got him out of shape again, perhaps...

Like dukie8 said, Paulus needs to do something with the ball. I really believe he is too cautious at times. We've seen the great passes he is capable of making, some are incredible, but these passes seem to disappear over the course of a game. Now, I'm not certain if it's really Paulus becoming more cautious or tired, or perhaps his teammates, or perhaps even if it's just the other team adjusting as the game progresses, but to my amateur eyes it appears most likely that it's Paulus' play that's different.

He also has a tendency to make critical mistakes at critical times. That turnover right there at the end is just the first example that comes to mind, though not the most glaring. You can relate missed free throws to tired legs, as we hear from the announcers ad nauseum, but you can probably also relate them to pressure, the mental sort of course since there's not a lot of
D when you're at the line:rolleyes: . Unfortunately, that's something that may or may not be helped by directly addressing it. We played without any confidence whatsoever at the end of games, though that's another chicken or egg situation as we certainly shouldn't have had any late-game confidence by the end of the season.

Leadership, confidence, quickness (get in better shape if possible): Those are the 3 attributes I'd most want Paulus to work on this summer. He can really be great at times, just for some reason not all the time. To start, no more shaking the head or otherwise showing frustration, especially when the ball is live...

Lulu
03-18-2007, 04:58 AM
btw, I love you guys who look up the numbers. What's the best repository of such information???

devildownunder
03-18-2007, 08:20 AM
Thank you for this thread. I completely agree that Paulus gets a bad rap. I will go on record as saying he gets at least 2nd team all-acc next year and potentially 1st team (with the standard proviso that he stays healthy, knock on wood).

46% from 3pt range. Higher than Langdon or Redick, two 3pt Duke legends. That should at least give you doubters some pause, to reconsider your positions on our captain.


I don't think anyone quibbles with the statement that paulus has become a fine shooter. Heck, early this season, my question was how could his foot be hurting him so much if his jumpshot is so much improved. It's the other facets of the game that are the problem. For me, it's just his defense at this point, really. He does need to turn the ball over less and teams can pressure him into mistakes and take us out of our offense. But if he had a better post presence to feed and could actually D up on opposing guards, he has become enough of a scorer that I think it would compensate for his other deficiences.

And Dukie8, good call on the leadership issue. Paulus has heart and guts but he did not effectively lead this team this year, not that he should have been expected to do so. Almost without fail, the great team leaders only become great after one year of on-the-job training. This was Greg's training year (last year jj and shelden handled it). Next year, we'll see what he's learned.

dukehick
03-18-2007, 08:22 AM
looking at ONLY turnover rates is just a tad misleading because it ignores assists. .

I agree that the A/TO ratio is a key stat. But my point in the original post was if you look at that stat alone then it can be a bit misleading... Again, the conventional wisdom on Paulus is that he commits too many turnovers. My point was simply that his turnover numbers are in line with past Duke PGs. I completely agree that he needs to put up higher assist numbers. As far as relatively low assist numbers here are two contributing factors.

1. For much of the season the offense spent a lot of time flowing through McRoberts in the half-court. Therefore during these stretches McRoberts racked up a fair number of assists. The problem for Paulus' stats in this scenario is that Greg still had to bring the ball up the court and start the offense (leading to an occasional turnover).

2. We didn't have a stud go to guy in the frontcourt this year. All those other Duke PGs I talked about had some key guys to pass to (with the exception of Wojo in his first 3 years). What do you think would have happened to Paulus' assist totals this year if McRoberts had averaged 20 ppg? What would have happened if we had Shelden for another year?

Troublemaker
03-18-2007, 08:23 AM
Good points, dukie8.



Turnovers
Let’s start with the turnovers. Paulus’ turnovers are actually down this year. During his freshman year he committed 3.3 turnovers per game compared with 3.1 per game this year. Still too many you say? Well, let’s put those turnovers into proper historical perspective. Here are a few season turnover stats from former Duke point guards:
So my point here is that Paulus’ turnover numbers are not really that high relative to other PGs in the Duke system. So the culprit with Paulus’ A/T ratio is the relatively low assist total. That is certainly something Greg will need to work on and improve.

As others have mentioned, you can't really look at turnovers without looking at assists (and you have to look at things on a per-possession basis to really be accurate since Duke's pace was very slow this year). Teams that have point guards that make plays and create easy baskets for their teammates and for themselves experience so much benefit from the playmaking that they can handle a couple of extra turnovers a game. It's like Peyton Manning in football. He's going to get some balls intercepted because he puts the ball up there, but those 30 TDs he throws more than make up for it. Even with that said, Greg is more like Favre in terms of interceptions than Manning. He picks up his dribble a lot, gets trapped easily and has a difficult time passing out of it.



However we should remember that the PGs listed above had guys like Dawkins, Laettner, Hill, Boozer, Battier, Shelden and Redick on the other end of those assists. Consider the offensive personnel that Paulus had to work with this year…

Unfortunately, it's not like Greg created a bunch of easy baskets for his teammates this year that they didn't finish. While guys like Josh and Markie did have trouble finishing around the basket this year, their opportunities were self-created. Markie would drive to the basket on his own and miss. Josh would make a post move on his own and miss. If you watched the point guards on the top teams that played yesterday (Conley on OSU, Sosa on Lville, Law on TAMU, Lawson on UNC), you notice that those teams enjoy such an advantage with the easy opportunities that their point guards create. Pitino, who is a great coach, basically cleared out for Sosa time and time again. And that's really the rub right there. Duke wants to be a great team. Other great teams enjoy easy opportunities created by their point guard, quickness on defense by their point guard, and excellent ball-handling by their point guard, but Duke does not. So how do you make up that deficit? Hopefully the answer is Kyle Singler. Both Georgetown and Kansas rely on a dominant point-forward (Green and Wright, respectively) instead of a playmaking point guard to be top teams. Hopefully Duke can follow the same formula with Singler.



Scoring Threat
Now let’s talk about Paulus as a scoring threat.

I agree with you that he's becoming a great shooter and that will come in handy in the next couple of years.



Speed
It is true that you can’t coach quickness but a couple of former Dukies have proven that you can work on it. Anyone who remembers Wojo’s first two years at Duke knows that he was a step too slow to be truly effective. JJ got off to a great start at Duke but saw his game plateau in his second year due to his lack of speed.

Unfortunately, even Wojo his senior year couldn't handle the likes of Wayne Turner, Terrell Mcintyre, and Ed Cota all that well on defense. And JJ his senior year was still shutdown by the likes of Garrett Temple and Ginyard and Terry (the difference between the game in Chapel Hill and the game in Cameron last year was Roy wising up and not guarding JJ with Wes Miller). You can improve your quickness but only so much.



However, I think those who think that Duke will not be able to be a contender with Paulus at the point and/or who actually think that Paulus will lose his spot to Nolan Smith at some point next year really need to take a closer look at Greg’s game.

I don't think Nolan will start ahead of Paulus, either because Coach K is loyal to his upperclassmen. Paulus will start the next two years. Now, what effect does that have on Duke? From previous conversation, I know that the difference between dukie8's stance on Greg and my stance on Greg is that I believe Duke can still compensate for Greg's shortcomings by being great in other areas (for example, Singler as playmaking point-forward, as mentioned) in order to contend while dukie8 thinks we're in a bind the next couple of years. I've predicted that Duke will be a 3 or 4 seed next year and then a strong championship contender in two years but I don't know for sure that will happen. dukie8 might be right. We've never really made the Final Four with a guy like Greg at the "1" before. The closest was in 94 but that was on the back of a senior Grant Hill, who basically took over playmaking and ball-handling duties. So here's hoping Kyle Singler is the real deal.

Troublemaker
03-18-2007, 08:30 AM
The best thing that could happen to improve Paulus' game next year is for Nolan Smith to be as good as some people believe he is. If Smith can beat people off the dribble and take some of the playmaker load off of Paulus' shoulders by beating the fullcourt press, then Paulus may really be able to exploit his 3-point shooting skills. I would draw an analogy between Duhon/Williams and Smith/Paulus. The 2001 Blue Devils really excelled having two guards on the floor who could both handle and shoot. Duhon enabled Jason Williams the freedom to concentrate on scoring. I'm cautiously optimistic that Paulus will benefit from Smith's presence. I'm cautious because of the "unknown" associated with freshmen.

Bob Green
Yokosuka, Japan

Unfortunately, I'm not sure how many minutes Nolan and Greg will get to play beside each other. 5 minutes a game? 10? Because with Scheyer, Henderson, Nelson, and Pocius also in the backcourt, and with Nolan being a freshman and likely Greg's backup, I just don't see them spending much time together. Certainly any crunch-time lineup will have some combo of Paulus, Scheyer, Hendu, and Nelson in the backcourt, you would think.

devildownunder
03-18-2007, 08:35 AM
So here's hoping Kyle Singler is the real deal.

TM, from what little I have seen of Kyle Singler, I'm already convinced his addition next year will be the primary factor in turning our offense around. The Jeff Green/Gtown analogy is a good one and I think that Singler can affect our offense just as much. Hopefully, that would free up Greg to off the ball more and nail a lot of catch-and-shoot threes. Provided we some type of offensive post presence next year, I'm pretty confident we'll get back to the business of attacking on offense, just not in the same manner we did it in the past.

If that part works out, the key to becoming dominant again is playing some serious defense. Perhaps Nolan's real value for '08 would be on that end of the floor. On offense, for reasons already noted, he'll probably be just a change of pace and not "the man". Unless he turns out to be j-will.

Duke76
03-18-2007, 08:38 AM
A point guard generally does not make assists from the wing or from outside the top of the key which is where Greg was most of the year. Assists come from penetrating the middle down the lane where he can dish it to a big without the big having to dribble before he takes his shot. Much easy way for a big to score and thus the point guard get the assist.

Or if your fast enough as point guard leading the fast break for an assist. Didn't see Greg leading too many fast breaks this year, did we. He usually was walking or trotting the ball up the court.

If we played zone defense his slowness would be less of liability there, but we don't...so.

Coach K sees something in him because we have no one better to play point.

Greg will be much better as a shooting guard really and as a complement to
a true point guard. As opposed to Scheyer whose shot release needs to be much quicker. Greg does have a very quick release and he squares up like JJ. I think he works pretty well coming off picks. But again that's not what point guards do.

I do think he is a leader, listening to him in post game interviews, etc. Much better that Josh. He is a standup man and a fine representative for Duke basketball. I think we all have his back. He got squat for help from Scheyer
and Nelson in the VCU game.

dukie8
03-18-2007, 09:14 AM
Good points, dukie8.



As others have mentioned, you can't really look at turnovers without looking at assists (and you have to look at things on a per-possession basis to really be accurate since Duke's pace was very slow this year). Teams that have point guards that make plays and create easy baskets for their teammates and for themselves experience so much benefit from the playmaking that they can handle a couple of extra turnovers a game. It's like Peyton Manning in football. He's going to get some balls intercepted because he puts the ball up there, but those 30 TDs he throws more than make up for it. Even with that said, Greg is more like Favre in terms of interceptions than Manning. He picks up his dribble a lot, gets trapped easily and has a difficult time passing out of it.



Unfortunately, it's not like Greg created a bunch of easy baskets for his teammates this year that they didn't finish. While guys like Josh and Markie did have trouble finishing around the basket this year, their opportunities were self-created. Markie would drive to the basket on his own and miss. Josh would make a post move on his own and miss. If you watched the point guards on the top teams that played yesterday (Conley on OSU, Sosa on Lville, Law on TAMU, Lawson on UNC), you notice that those teams enjoy such an advantage with the easy opportunities that their point guards create. Pitino, who is a great coach, basically cleared out for Sosa time and time again. And that's really the rub right there. Duke wants to be a great team. Other great teams enjoy easy opportunities created by their point guard, quickness on defense by their point guard, and excellent ball-handling by their point guard, but Duke does not. So how do you make up that deficit? Hopefully the answer is Kyle Singler. Both Georgetown and Kansas rely on a dominant point-forward (Green and Wright, respectively) instead of a playmaking point guard to be top teams. Hopefully Duke can follow the same formula with Singler.

i completely agree. it's the point guard's main job on offense to set-up everyone else for easy baskets. it puts a lot more stress on everyone else -- particularly when they don't have great 1-on-1 moves -- when they receive the ball 20 feet from the basket versus in the paint or cutting to the basket. typically, a pg will do this by taking his man off the dribble. it then becomes 5 on 4 and the other team either has to rotate someone over or the driving pg will have an easy close-in shot. if the other team does rotate over, then the pg will have a great opportunity to dish it to someone bigger than he for hopefully a dunk or easy shot. we saw very little of this with our offense but we repeatedly saw it on defense. sosa made texas a&m, one of the top defensive teams in the country, look silly yesterday because he time and time again got past his man and either scored or dished. i have no doubt that if we had lawson on our team this year, a lot of our offensive woes would have been erased because mcroberts/nelson/scheyer would have been receiving the ball in much better positions.


I agree with you that he's becoming a great shooter and that will come in handy in the next couple of years.



Unfortunately, even Wojo his senior year couldn't handle the likes of Wayne Turner, Terrell Mcintyre, and Ed Cota all that well on defense. And JJ his senior year was still shutdown by the likes of Garrett Temple and Ginyard and Terry (the difference between the game in Chapel Hill and the game in Cameron last year was Roy wising up and not guarding JJ with Wes Miller). You can improve your quickness but only so much.



I don't think Nolan will start ahead of Paulus, either because Coach K is loyal to his upperclassmen. Paulus will start the next two years. Now, what effect does that have on Duke? From previous conversation, I know that the difference between dukie8's stance on Greg and my stance on Greg is that I believe Duke can still compensate for Greg's shortcomings by being great in other areas (for example, Singler as playmaking point-forward, as mentioned) in order to contend while dukie8 thinks we're in a bind the next couple of years. I've predicted that Duke will be a 3 or 4 seed next year and then a strong championship contender in two years but I don't know for sure that will happen. dukie8 might be right. We've never really made the Final Four with a guy like Greg at the "1" before. The closest was in 94 but that was on the back of a senior Grant Hill, who basically took over playmaking and ball-handling duties. So here's hoping Kyle Singler is the real deal.

unfortunately i agree with you that k is going to be loyal to paulus and start him the next 2 years. the million dollar question is whether that spells doom for the team. i hope that i am wrong but i really cannot see a team making a championship run with a pg who cannot take his man off the dribble and who gets taken off the dribble repeatedly on defense. as the better teams continue advancing in the tournament, look and see if any are at such a disadvantage. i really don't buy the argument that some have posted on here that the 4 other guys can compensate for paulus's woes and we still can make a final 4 run because i cannot recall a single team making it to the final 4 (or winning the nc) with such deficiencies at the most important position on the floor.

NYC Dukie, to your point that "In all seriousness, you take the last 10 games for Paulus and he was the best point guard in the ACC," did you even look at the stats? here are the stats for paulus (and i am ignoring the defensive woes which are substantial):

39 assists and 36 turnovers

here are lawson's numbers over his last 10 games:

69 assists and 16 turnovers

in the future, it would behoove you if you actually looked up some stats before posting such outlandish claims.

arnie
03-18-2007, 09:24 AM
I grew up hating Carolina in the 70's, but is preposterous to compare Paulus to Lawson. Lawson has extraordinary skills and speed. Greg simply is not that talented. Greg is trying to be a leader and has improved his shooting dramatically, but cannot consistently penetrate and dish nor does he have sufficient quickness to defend the perimter.

Duke does not have another point guard, nor are we apparently recruiting one for next year. Therefore, Greg will be our point guard and we will be limited in the offensive and defensive schemes we can run. Hopefully, other positions will be stronger than this past year.

Duke76
03-18-2007, 09:37 AM
painfully true.

devildownunder
03-18-2007, 09:45 AM
unfortunately i agree with you that k is going to be loyal to paulus and start him the next 2 years. the million dollar question is whether that spells doom for the team. i hope that i am wrong but i really cannot see a team making a championship run with a pg who cannot take his man off the dribble and how gets taken off the dribble repeatedly on defense. as the better teams continue advancing in the tournament, look and see if any are at such a disadvantage. i really don't buy the argument that some have posted on here that the 4 other guys can compensate for paulus's woes and we still can make a final 4 run because i cannot recall a single team making it to the final 4 (or winning the nc) with such deficiencies at the most important position on the floor.




I'm not 100 percent convinced that gp's spot is secure just because he will be an upperclassman. I remember Ricky Price and Taymon Domzalski seeing their playing time cut substantially their senior years as more-talented, younger players took their minutes. And in perhaps a more-relevant case, Chris Duhon sent Nate James to the bench in 2001 on a team that won it all. Yes, gp will start out of the gate but if Nolan Smith is a better point guard, I think he'll be starting at that position before the year is out.

Also, I agree that we won't win it all with gp at the point but I think he can be a huge part of a championship team, for his scoring and as a secondary ballhandler. If Smith can play D and penetrate, and if we develop some lowpost scoring and if Kyle Singler is for real. I'm more confident in the first and last than the one in the middle.

dukehick
03-18-2007, 09:55 AM
i also question your conclusion that he was "showing leadership." this team was about as rudderless as i ever have seen a duke team. being a leader means taking charge late in close games and doing whatever it takes to win. battier did this. laettner did this. hurley did this. even jj did this even though the results weren't as good when it matter the most.

I agree with you that this team looked rudderless at several critical moments this year. I also remember several critical moments where Paulus stepped up big time. But yes, it was an up and down season in that department as everyone predicted this after losing two all Americans and having no upperclassman (I love Nelson and McClure but both of them were really Sophs this season in terms of games played given previous injuries).

I think Battier was perhaps the best leader Duke has ever seen and I imagine most people would agree with me (including Coach K). But keep in mind, Battier didn't step into the leadership role until his Junior year. He was a Soph in '99 and was a solid player on that team but not the leader. So, holding Greg to the standard of Hurley, Laettner, JJ, or Battier when he is only a Soph trying to lead a team without any upperclassman is COMPLETELY UNFAIR. Hey, if you want to throw Paulus under the bus after next season then by all means.... But I think you need to cut the kid some slack this year and give him a chance to prove you wrong next year.

OldDukie
03-18-2007, 10:16 AM
Sure,we all agree that Paulus is not the fastest guard around. Most of us agree that he will be our primary point for the next two seasons. Our problem is not Greg. Please remember that in the past we have had a "stopper" in the middle. This year,not so. McRoberts is not,nor does he want to be, a center. Zoubek is another year away from being "the man." Duke plays a pressing defense. Guards and forwards will drive by you on occasion if you play tight defense.However, I would prefer playing tight defense in order to try taking the opposing team out of their rhythm and game plan. Since McRoberts is our best big man,if he leaves we will be in trouble next year. Remember,Patterson,if he comes, and Singlar will be Freshmen and it is a rare freshman that can step in and take over. Having said that,year after next is our year. Zoubek will be the man in the middle,Thomas will have beefed up,Singler will have a year under his belt,Henderson will get even better,etc.,etc. Those of you still in school,encourage McRoberts to stay. With him here,we can have a really good year next year. He needs a 10-15 foot jumper and a jump hook. Where better to get that than the best coach around?

Troublemaker
03-18-2007, 10:47 AM
Our problem is not Greg.........Guards and forwards will drive by you on occasion if you play tight defense.However, I would prefer playing tight defense in order to try taking the opposing team out of their rhythm and game plan.

Greg's shortcomings are not our only problems but they are some of it (and, of course, "problems" are only relative, as there are plenty of schools that would love to have our problems...) Regarding Greg's defense, he doesn't threaten the opposing offensive player at all. Duke does play tight defense but the offshoot of that over the years has usually been turnovers forced. We simply didn't force enough turnovers this year and Greg is part of the reason why. Opposing guards with quickness and handle are not threatened by him; they know they can get by him with relative ease and he'll be too slow and short to really challenge them. I think he'll improve in this area but I don't know if the improvement can be dramatic.

HK Dukie
03-18-2007, 11:07 AM
The following is the summary of the last 10 games for Paulus and the people who are generally considered the best PGs in the ACC (I included both Virginia guys). Now while I may have been too aggressive in saying Paulus was the best over that time period, he certainly is not the liability all you whiners complain he is.

Paulus 174 pts, 39 assists, 36 TOs
Reynolds 173 pts, 34 assists, 31 TOs
Singletary 190 pts, 42 assists, 28 TOs
Rice 197 pts, 40 assists, 34 TOs
Crittenton 160 pts, 62 assists, 40 TOs
Lawson 112 pts, 69 assists, 16 TOs
Vasquez 110 pts, 62assists, 31 TOs

Then look at his 3pt &#37; vs those guys

Paulus 45
Singletary 40
Reynolds 37
Lawson 37
Crittenton 36
Vasquez 32
Rice 32

I think Paulus stacks up very well thank you (and his last 5 games were even better > 20 pts a game & < 3to's a game).

Just to give you guys a bit more comparison look at these stats:

Paulus 17.4pts, 3.9 assts, 3.6 to's
J Will 21.3pts, 5.3 assts, 3.7 to's

Yes J Will was the man. He is in my top 5 favorite Duke basketball players of time. Those are his stats from the 2001 season when Duke won the title and was Jwill's sophomore year. Yes, J Will's #s are better, but Paulus still has time, and we are comparing him to someone with his jersey hanging from the rafters in Cameron!!! Paulus is pretty darn good.

Do you really have to keep dogging our captain? Look at his stats. He is getting better. He is our leader. He is right there with the best in the ACC and he has tremendous passion and heart and didn't back down to anyone (opposing players, commentators, or spectators). And I stand by what I said, I believe he will be 1st or 2nd team all ACC next year. If you can't get behind him, then perhaps you are just a spoiled wine and cheese kind of fan.




Evidence for strong Junior season from Paulus:

#1 strong finish to sophomore season
#2 46% 3pt % and leading 3pt scorer on team
#3 another season of improvement
#4 hopefully no foot injury or early season illness to slow his development

Add it all together, and I think you have a strong case to think positive for Paulus next year. Get on the bandwagon now.

foggybottom
03-18-2007, 11:37 AM
statistics aside, it was painfully obvious that one of Duke's major weaknesses this season was an inability to deal with pressure defense on the ball. The VCU game was a scenario we saw many times over the last two seasons. I love Paulus's competitiveness but he struggled to even get the ball over half court. Historically Duke has made teams who pressed pay dearly for that strategy. Teams now know the risk of the press being not only broken but attacked by Duke is low. On the other side of the ball, the same is true. Duke has a hard time stopping the ball and that responsibility starts with the PG.

As a contrast, look at the performance Acie Law had yesterday against relentless pressure vs Louisville. His ability to shred the press and double team traps and create easy bakets was a key to Texas A&M winning. That is the power of an effective PG, a luxury Duke has enjoyed historically.

Constantstrain 81
03-18-2007, 12:13 PM
Lawson has some nice advantages - fast, strong, aggressive. He has other advantages - he plays 25+ minutes for a very talented, offensive-minded team that runs. They averaged well over 20 points more than Duke. They had excellent finishers. Would it surprise me to know that he averaged, essentially, 2 more assists a game than Greg Paulus? No.

To get an assist, you have to make the pass that leads to a basket. Paulus has excellent instincts in this regard. He does not, however, have excellent finishers on the team. He does not, however, have teammates who run and run and get easy baskets. Some of his turnovers come from just plain poor play. I would estimate that half of them come from his aggressively trying to create offense. He has at least one (or two) turnovers a game that come from him passing the ball to where a teammate should have been (if he understand basketball). He could have picked up another assist or two if his passes to a teammate resulted in that person actually shooting a shot instead of hesitating and kicking it back out. He would have more assists if he wasn't the team's leading scorer over the last ten games. It is hard to get the assist passing to yourself.

Breaking the press? You need teammates in the right place to do that. You also need teammates who will take advantage of breaking the press and make the other team pay. Duke used to do that routinely - this team seemed to hesitate. I usually felt more comfortable with the ball in Greg's hands than in any other.

Bobby Hurley was great. One of my favorite Duke players ever. He never had to deal with the other team focusing most of their defensive energy on him. He had other superstars who took (and made) all kinds of big shots. He had defensive pressure that lead to fast breaks and easy assists. What would Bobby have done playing with a bunch of freshmen and sophomores who were afraid to shoot? He'd probably be reading about how King Rice was so much better and about how the incoming freshmen would relegate him to the bench because they were so much better.

How would Ty Lawson done with this Duke team? Let's increase his minutes. He could push the pace - but since no one else on the team was joining him - he'd have to stop that. He could drive into the middle to the hoop. Since Duke had no one stepping up to be an offensive threat, he'd have to make some shots. He'd end up with some charges, some layups, and some blocked shots and turnovers. Why more? Because driving into the heart of a defense only really works if the defenders are more worried about who you might pass it to than they are about you. Would he have shot as well or consistently from long-range? No. His assists would be down and his turnovers would be up. He would be more fatigued. The pressure would rise. He is an excellent player - but it is more than just the physical skills (Stephon Marbury and John Stockton).

How would our maligned Paulus have done with the UNC team? His scoring would be down (the team wouldn't need it). His court vision and work on the break, in my opinion, is better than Lawson's. I think his assists would be way up. His turnovers would remain the same - more possessions and he is still aggressive. Drive and kick for a three. Assist. Pick and roll to Pyscho T. Assist. Paulus has the skills and the drive. He just needs more experienced teammates.

The last ten games the consistency and confidence of almost every player on the team waned. People seemed afraid to step up. Except for Greg Paulus. For that, he is endlessly compared to others (in an unfavorable light). There are even some who hint that his increased leadership role played a part in our lack of success. Somehow, if he had just made a better pass to Jon, that jumper would have gone in.

For heaven's sake. He just played one of the guttiest ten game stretches that a short, speed-challenged former quarterback could be expected to play against long odds and the criticism of half the fan base and most of the media. He rose to the challenge. We should celebrate his accomplishments. Instead, we're trying to retire him.

throatybeard
03-18-2007, 12:23 PM
Not only is Lawson faster than greased grease, so is Ellington. I'm not sure if I've ever seen a pair of guys who can get out ahead of everybody on a break like those two. You're used to seeing fast guys all the time in sports, such that fast guys look like normal speed. But these Carolina guys right now make me :eek:

captmojo
03-18-2007, 12:46 PM
Greg Paulus is not the problem. Offensive troubles for this team were nearly as bad as last year. Paulus is not JJ. The rest of the squad has to learn to move without the ball, not stand and watch and wait to see the point create a score from out of the blue. Also this team needs to hit free throws,75% or better please. They leave far too many points off the board from the line!

OldSchool
03-18-2007, 01:18 PM
Constantstrain makes some good points on pace.

One of the frustrating things about watching Duke this season was that, once we got into conference play, K would have Greg stop pushing the ball quickly upcourt once we got an 8-10 point lead. Instead, he would walk it up, slowing down the pace of the game and shortening the clock.

K clearly was worried about foul trouble if we pushed the ball the whole game, and this was understandable. On the other hand, we lose the opportunity to get any quick scores while the defense is getting set and have to rely solely on our half-court offense. And the other team has more of a chance to D up on Greg. So less assists, more turnovers.

The way VaTech and MD were able to beat UNC was by pushing the ball hard on offense the whole game, not slowing it down on their own end. The most important key to playing competitively with Carolina this year was for the opposing team to get back quickly on defense after a basket and especially after a turnover. Carolina gets so many extra points in transition and occasionally by Lawson just speeding past people to the rim, often those points are the difference between winning and losing. Michigan State did a good job of this last night and if Neitzel had been hot from 3 the Heels would be starting their offseason today.

dukie8
03-18-2007, 01:32 PM
[QUOTE=NYC Dukie;8332]The following is the summary of the last 10 games for Paulus and the people who are generally considered the best PGs in the ACC (I included both Virginia guys). Now while I may have been too aggressive in saying Paulus was the best over that time period, he certainly is not the liability all you whiners complain he is.

Paulus 174 pts, 39 assists, 36 TOs
Reynolds 173 pts, 34 assists, 31 TOs
Singletary 190 pts, 42 assists, 28 TOs
Rice 197 pts, 40 assists, 34 TOs
Crittenton 160 pts, 62 assists, 40 TOs
Lawson 112 pts, 69 assists, 16 TOs
Vasquez 110 pts, 62assists, 31 TOs

Then look at his 3pt % vs those guys

Paulus 45
Singletary 40
Reynolds 37
Lawson 37
Crittenton 36
Vasquez 32
Rice 32

I think Paulus stacks up very well thank you (and his last 5 games were even better > 20 pts a game & < 3to's a game).
i have no idea why you arbitrarily picked the last 10 games but i was just responding to your outlandish claim that he was the best pg in the acc over that time period. now that you posted the stats over that arbitrary time period for other guards, why are you so confident that he stacks up so well? he had the LEAST assists among the pgs (reynolds is the 2 not the 1 for uva) and the second most turnovers (the most was freshman crittendon). moreover, you didn't include guys who you probably automatically assumed were worse but who were actually better. take a peak at these stats:

smith (wfu): 6.0 asst/game and 3.6 tos/game for the season and 65 assts and 41 tos for the last 10 games (note that he, too, is a freshman)
atsur (nc st): 4.2 asst/game and 2.3 tos/game for the season and 32 assts and 8 tos for the last 10 games
hammonds (clem): 4.1 asst/game and 1.6 tos/game for the season and 54 assts and 23 tos

so looking at all of the stats, paulus had the WORST assist/to ratio out of all 9 of these pgs. wonderful. even doormat miami had a pg with with a better ratio (harris was 1.5 and clemente was 1.7). we haven't even looked at what goes on the defensive end (which isn't pretty). here is just a small sampling of opposing pgs who had had either season best of close to season best performances against us:

maynor (neutral): 22 pts, 8 assts and 2 tos
vasquez (at duke): 18 pts (season high), 3 assts and 3 tos
vasquez (home): 13 points, 12 assts (season high) and 4 tos
atsur (acc tourn): 22 points (season high in the acc), 2 assts and 2 tos
james (neutral): 25 points (season high), 7 assts and 1 to
hammonds (home): 14 points, 9 assts (1 off season high) and 2 tos
lawson (at unc): 12 pts, 5 assts and 1 to


Yes J Will was the man. He is in my top 5 favorite Duke basketball players of time. Those are his stats from the 2001 season when Duke won the title and was Jwill's sophomore year. Yes, J Will's #s are better, but Paulus still has time, and we are comparing him to someone with his jersey hanging from the rafters in Cameron!!! Paulus is pretty darn good.

no. we are comparing him to the other current pgs in the acc, most of whom are either freshmen or sophmores, and his numbers are WORSE than all 9 listed above.


Do you really have to keep dogging our captain? Look at his stats. He is getting better. He is our leader. He is right there with the best in the ACC and he has tremendous passion and heart and didn't back down to anyone (opposing players, commentators, or spectators). And I stand by what I said, I believe he will be 1st or 2nd team all ACC next year. If you can't get behind him, then perhaps you are just a spoiled wine and cheese kind of fan.[/

it still baffles me why anyone who watches games and concludes that paulus is an extremely weak pg in the acc and for a team looking to win nc's automatically is a "whiner" or is "dogging" him (whatever that means). the facts are the facts and some people are willing to look at them and make objective conclusions. can things change next year? i don't know. i'd like to think that they can and have to come back here and eat crow. however, i was one of the most vocal people on here going back to last december when we were in the top 10 saying that this season was going to go up in smoke if we don't address the pg situation. i was completely tarred and feathered on here for even bringing that up. the problems were not addressed and the season effectively went up in smoke.

Sir Stealth
03-18-2007, 02:03 PM
I personally thought Paulus was the best thing Duke had going for it by the end of the year. He was the only player I counted on to make a big shot, period. He had to grind it out at full speed, breaking pressure, leading the team, trying to make plays, trying to play good defense on a team that needed great defense, and filling the role of go-to scorer for just about the entire game with little substitution.

Demarcus and McRoberts were disappointing when it came to supporting the team on offense. None of the freshmen seemed fully ready to be major leaders on offense in the VCU game. I think Paulus will improve his playmaking as players improve around him and maybe he can get a rest druing a game. It seems to me at this point that he's the strongest link on the team and the last player that should be looked at for criticism.

Zeke
03-18-2007, 02:06 PM
Several games I have been surprised that GP had so few turnovers. It is always possible that I had misperceived the number, but I don't think so. Question: If GP drives into the paint, gets stuck, and throws a pass that is rushed, badly conceived pass, highly contested,and goes off a Duke player's hand(or body, or leg) - who get's credit for that turnover? I have seen that play so many times I have nightmares about it albeit less in the later part of the season.
GP seems like a nice kid. I love his attitude. He reminds me of a Golden Retreiver obviously tries really hard, affirming, helpful, and always nodding understanding to the coach's directions. I hope he makes the next leap. He must be a fun kid to coach.

BobbyFan
03-18-2007, 02:59 PM
Wow, this is an incredibly apologetic post. Anyway, I'll respond to some parts:


To get an assist, you have to make the pass that leads to a basket. Paulus has excellent instincts in this regard.

I haven't seen much evidence to suggest that Greg has "excellent" passing instincts. Not for a point guard.


He does not, however, have excellent finishers on the team.

McRoberts, Henderson, and Nelson are just fine as finishers. Again, I'm not sure of your definition of "excellent", but Greg wasn't playing with a lack of finishers this year.


I would estimate that half of them come from his aggressively trying to create offense. He has at least one (or two) turnovers a game that come from him passing the ball to where a teammate should have been (if he understand basketball). He could have picked up another assist or two if his passes to a teammate resulted in that person actually shooting a shot instead of hesitating and kicking it back out. He would have more assists if he wasn't the team's leading scorer over the last ten games.

Where are you getting all of these figures from? For instance, the statement that he has one or two turnovers a game because his teammates weren't in the right place is nonsense. I can make that claim about any point guard, and it wasn't any more true for Greg. Just like any point guard also benefits from teammates saving their errant passes.

Straying away from blanket statements, how often did Greg create opportunities for his teammates? Not often, and his lack of penetrating ability and subpar effectiveness in leading a break was a large reason.


Breaking the press? You need teammates in the right place to do that. You also need teammates who will take advantage of breaking the press and make the other team pay.

Huh? His teammates weren't in the "right place"? Sounds like you are just making generic arguments that absolutely do not apply here. Let's stick with this Duke team. How many other teams had a weapon like Josh to serve as an option to bring the ball across?


Bobby Hurley was great. One of my favorite Duke players ever. He never had to deal with the other team focusing most of their defensive energy on him.

Actually he had to plenty during his senior year. And I don't understand why you are bringing this up because defenses didn't do it to Greg anyway.


He had defensive pressure that lead to fast breaks and easy assists.

Right, with much of that defensive pressure generated by Hurley himself. And even if we do normalize all other factors in this respect, Hurley still dwarfs Paulus in his ability to lead the break.


What would Bobby have done playing with a bunch of freshmen and sophomores who were afraid to shoot? He'd probably be reading about how King Rice was so much better and about how the incoming freshmen would relegate him to the bench because they were so much better.

Hurley would have immediately solidified an identity for this offense, created many more opportunities with his penetrating ability, and allowed this team to be one of the best defensive teams Coach K has had.

You really shouldn't have brought Hurley into this.


For heaven's sake. He just played one of the guttiest ten game stretches that a short, speed-challenged former quarterback could be expected to play against long odds and the criticism of half the fan base and most of the media. He rose to the challenge. We should celebrate his accomplishments. Instead, we're trying to retire him.

Greg played very well to end the season, but the defense and playmaking were still lacking. I'm glad that he made the strides he did. But it has to be taken into account that they were strides because he got off to such a horrendous start.

Madrasdukie
03-18-2007, 03:54 PM
I haven't seen much evidence to suggest that Greg has "excellent" passing instincts. Not for a point guard.....BobbyFan

Is it normal for a point-guard to have his fingers taped ? Also, there's this nagging issue of his leg injury that wasn't completely healed but wasn't grave enough to warrant immediate surgery (K, recently said that Greg may need to have his leg "treated" during this off-season).
Based on the few high school games (and some of the Duke preseason practices in '05) that I've seen of Greg, he clearly seemed to demonstrate above average passing ability. Having said that, I do agree that there hasn't been much evidence of that during the past season barring a few occassions. I just wonder to what extent, if at all, injuries might be affecting his passing game ?




.

HK Dukie
03-18-2007, 04:04 PM
[QUOTE]
no. we are comparing him to the other current pgs in the acc, most of whom are either freshmen or sophmores, and his numbers are WORSE than all 9 listed above.


I noticed how you conveniently forgot to list points scored when discussing the other PGs in the ACC. Paulus became a significant scoring threat, our #1 option in the 2nd half the season, scoring nearly 1/4 of our points. None of the second tier point guards were a scoring threat, that is why I compared him only to the best.

I also noticed how you conveniently left out the comparison with Jason Williams. 17ppg vs 21, 4 APG vs 5, and he actually had less turnovers than JWill during our championship season in 2001 with a team that scored many more points than the 2007 team. The way Paulus finished the season you have to be encouraged.

You conveniently snubbed Reynolds who happens to be second team all-ACC. Well guess what, Paulus compares really favorably with that guy and this is what I mean when I say that Paulus has a chance to get 1st or 2nd team all-ACC next year with some improvement. Indeed, I believe he will improve and will attain that standing.

I'll repeat the numbers again...

"Paulus 174 pts, 39 assists, 36 TOs
Reynolds 173 pts, 34 assists, 31 TOs
Singletary 190 pts, 42 assists, 28 TOs
Rice 197 pts, 40 assists, 34 TOs
Crittenton 160 pts, 62 assists, 40 TOs
Lawson 112 pts, 69 assists, 16 TOs
Vasquez 110 pts, 62assists, 31 TOs

Then look at his 3pt % vs those guys

Paulus 45
Singletary 40
Reynolds 37
Lawson 37
Crittenton 36
Vasquez 32
Rice 32"

BOTTOMLINE: Paulus is not the reason for our falloff towards the end of the season. In fact he stepped up big time and for that he should be thanked and congratulated. He showed more heart and tenacity than any of you doubters expected and yet you still won't give him any credit. I have no problem with analyzing the reason for our troubles, so long as it is in a non-mean spirited way and logical. But let's face facts, Paulus stepped up when it counted most for us.

He is improving, already is a fantastic shooter, and if he can just cut one turnover a game his assist/to ratio becomes 2 to 1. Just one per game, that's it. (Since that seems to be the only statistic you care about dukie8). I would argue that his scoring prowess and 3pt fg % more than make up for that one turnover per game disadvantage, but just imagine if we can have both next year. I think we can.

Madrasdukie
03-18-2007, 04:31 PM
He is improving, already is a fantastic shooter, and if he can just cut one turnover a game his assist/to ratio becomes 2 to 1. Just one per game, that's it. (Since that seems to be the only statistic you care about dukie8). I would argue that his scoring prowess and 3pt fg &#37; more than make up for that one turnover per game disadvantage, but just imagine if we can have both next year. I think we can....NYCDukie[/QUOTE]

Coach K even said recently that he is the best 3-point shooting point guard he's ever had.

Regarding assit/to ratio, like I had alluded to in a previous post, I wonder to what extent injuries affected his game.

The two 3-pointers in the second half and that basket-and-one drive in the second half against VCU with Jesse Pellot Rosa blocking him (and after he had taken a physical beating), to me, symbolized the fire, the passion and the willingness to perform in crunch time, that Greg symbolizes - as a fan, it is very uplifting to see someone do that, even in a losing effort.


In other words, I totally agree with you that this aspect of Greg has to be appreciated.

EagleDevil
03-18-2007, 05:22 PM
These Paulus stats being thrown around are misleading. One thing that I think is being overlooked is that Paulus scored as much as he did because he absolutely had to, and because defenses were focusing on other players.

This Duke team desperately needed someone to step up and take shots. Paulus took them, and hit a pretty good % of his threes. But I think it's misleading to compare his scoring numbers to J-Will's or Lawson's -- those are guys on teams with tons of other offensive options, who could/can create points in situations Paulus can't.

As we've now heard ad nauseam, Duke didn't have a "go-to scorer." That means there was no one who could score when they had to, which is why Duke lost so many close games. I suspect an analysis would show that Paulus racked up some nice numbers while defenses were focusing on McRoberts and Scheyer (and maybe Nelson and Henderson); but but a good defender on him and you could forget about him.

Offensively, Paulus might be cut out to be that "Steve Kerr" figure on a team. I've been pleasantly surprised by his shooting. But I agree with others that he is not a Final Four team's PG -- unless, as has been suggested, he was playing significantly hurt all season.

Chris

dukie8
03-18-2007, 06:12 PM
I noticed how you conveniently forgot to list points scored when discussing the other PGs in the ACC. Paulus became a significant scoring threat, our #1 option in the 2nd half the season, scoring nearly 1/4 of our points. None of the second tier point guards were a scoring threat, that is why I compared him only to the best.

i didn't "conveniently" forget to list points scored. we are talking about pgs and most people look at assists and turnovers as the most relevant stats regarding them. do you also want to look at rebounds? blocks? you still have not explained away that paulus's asst/to rate was the worst in the acc. this is particularly glaring because many of the other pgs actually were freshmen who never had played college ball prior to this year (eg, lawson, vasquez, smith and crittendon). you don't think that rice is a scoring threat? did you watch any of bc's games in the tournament? how about atsur and the 21 he pumped in against duke? even douglas, who hasn't even been mentioned yet, scored over 20 points in 5 different games (and missed 5 games). i compared him to ALL of the acc pgs (not just "the best" -- whatever that means) and he doesn't look good in that regard.


I also noticed how you conveniently left out the comparison with Jason Williams. 17ppg vs 21, 4 APG vs 5, and he actually had less turnovers than JWill during our championship season in 2001 with a team that scored many more points than the 2007 team. The way Paulus finished the season you have to be encouraged.

i didn't "conveniently" leave it out -- i thought any comparison to j will is completely ridiculous (as is your comparison to hurley). if you watched the games in 2001, you would have realized that (1) j will did not play pg after duhon took over that role mid season and (2) j will usually was the focus of the other team's defense (he was, after all, the national poy). why you continue comparing him to non-pgs (reynolds included) is beyond me. also, contrary to what you claimed earlier, paulus did NOT improve his running of the offense at the end of the year as his assts/to ratio was basically the same that it was all year (roughly 1:1). i agree that his scoring picked up and he shot the ball well but his PRIMARY responsibility as the pg is to run the offense and set up OTHER players -- not create his own shots. you further have completely omitted any discussion of his defensive liabilities, which more than offset the points he was scoring.



You conveniently snubbed Reynolds who happens to be second team all-ACC. Well guess what, Paulus compares really favorably with that guy and this is what I mean when I say that Paulus has a chance to get 1st or 2nd team all-ACC next year with some improvement. Indeed, I believe he will improve and will attain that standing.

as stated above, reynolds is NOT the full-time pg at uva so i am baffled why you continue using his as a comparison. he plays the 2. paulus plays the 1. they are very different positions.


BOTTOMLINE: Paulus is not the reason for our falloff towards the end of the season. In fact he stepped up big time and for that he should be thanked and congratulated. He showed more heart and tenacity than any of you doubters expected and yet you still won't give him any credit. I have no problem with analyzing the reason for our troubles, so long as it is in a non-mean spirited way and logical. But let's face facts, Paulus stepped up when it counted most for us.

He is improving, already is a fantastic shooter, and if he can just cut one turnover a game his assist/to ratio becomes 2 to 1. Just one per game, that's it. (Since that seems to be the only statistic you care about dukie8). I would argue that his scoring prowess and 3pt fg % more than make up for that one turnover per game disadvantage, but just imagine if we can have both next year. I think we can.

do you even bother reading what people write on here? i have not read one person who has said that paulus shot the ball poorly. he shot the ball very well and it has been acknowledged on here repeatedly. you continue to throw around terms like "mean spirited" and "whining" about anyone who expresses even the slightest reservation about his game. nobody on here is saying that he is bad guy and nobody is wishing that he continues with his woes but the facts are the facts and both his defensive and offensive issues were major contributors to the team's less than stellar season. i'm not sure how much basketball you watch, but you should know that going from 1:1 to 2:1 in assists/tos is a monumental improvement. 2:1 is the gold standard for pgs and is not easy to reach. that's like saying that a baseball player only has to raise his batting average 0.050 with an extra hit every 20 abs to be good. considering that he has played 2 full seasons (1 of which had 2 aas next to him) and hasn't been anywhere near 2:1, i would be extremely surprised if he were able to do so next year. if he could do that, then this team is going to be much much improved next year and all of this chatter will be moot.

tele
03-18-2007, 06:45 PM
statistics aside, it was painfully obvious that one of Duke's major weaknesses this season was an inability to deal with pressure defense on the ball. The VCU game was a scenario we saw many times over the last two seasons. I love Paulus's competitiveness but he struggled to even get the ball over half court. Historically Duke has made teams who pressed pay dearly for that strategy. Teams now know the risk of the press being not only broken but attacked by Duke is low. On the other side of the ball, the same is true. Duke has a hard time stopping the ball and that responsibility starts with the PG.

As a contrast, look at the performance Acie Law had yesterday against relentless pressure vs Louisville. His ability to shred the press and double team traps and create easy bakets was a key to Texas A&M winning. That is the power of an effective PG, a luxury Duke has enjoyed historically.

don't think i've ever whined or complained about paulus, not that i'm not capable of it. Have to give him credit for coming back from injury and really playing hard. I'm sure he's a great person.

Still, Duke teams have had a lot of success pressuring the ball on defense and overplaying the passing lanes. Dribble penetration causes problems if one or other guard can't stop it or put pressure on the ball to take the other team out of their offense.

Tables seemed to be turned this year. Duke had trouble with ball pressure and had to repeatedly start offense by passing off to high wing player. Hard to run a motion offense from there.

The high pick and rolls were also getting tiresome. Brought back memories of greece and the world championships, wonder if anyone has been watching that tape. So, if you cant stop the ball or the pick and roll from the free throw line, and you won't play zone, then your point guards assist to turnover ratio may not be your biggest concern.

not that i'm complaining or whining or anything.

CDu
03-18-2007, 07:06 PM
There were things Paulus did really well and things he didn't do well at all. He greatly improved his FG% and 3pt FG% this year, which is to be commendable. But he finished with probably the worst assist/turnover ratio of any Duke starting PG in the past 20 years (including Ewing, who was a SG forced to play PG). He struggled against pressure defense, and rarely created scoring opportunities for his teammates. This year's team desperately needed a playmaker, and that's the role Paulus was supposed to fill, and he didn't fill that role.

Granted, there were other holes on this team. We didn't have a consistent post scoring presence. We didn't have a "lights-out" perimeter threat with the exception of our point guard. And we didn't have an offensive identity. But not having a point guard who could handle pressure defense or create shots for others was a tough problem to overcome.

For us to succeed next year, we're going to either need several guys to develop the ability to create offense for themselves, or Paulus is going to have to make a large jump in terms of his playmaking abilities. Hopefully, Henderson can progress as a threat from the wing, because he has the type of potential to change games on the offensive end. Hopefully, Scheyer will gain confidence and strength and be a more consistent offensive presence from the perimeter. Hopefully, Thomas and Zoubek can gain strength and become more proficient interior presences. Hopefully, Singler brings some inside/outside scoring punch. Hopefully, King brings a perimeter threat to stretch defenses. Hopefully, Smith gives us a decent option as a backup PG, so we don't have to rely on Paulus exclusively. And hopefully Paulus figures out how to handle pressure defense and create shots for others.

Chicago 1995
03-18-2007, 07:42 PM
BOTTOMLINE: Paulus is not the reason for our falloff towards the end of the season. In fact he stepped up big time and for that he should be thanked and congratulated. He showed more heart and tenacity than any of you doubters expected and yet you still won't give him any credit. I have no problem with analyzing the reason for our troubles, so long as it is in a non-mean spirited way and logical. But let's face facts, Paulus stepped up when it counted most for us.

Defense.

Setting aside the discussion of Greg's offensive prowess for a moment, Greg's defensive struggles really hurt this team.

Greg can't handle quick PGs and can't effectively stop good penetrators off the dribble. When Scheyer went down with the cut in the last two minutes of the VCU game, Greg for some reason got switched onto Maynor and he was torched, and left defending air as Maynor scored. That's just the last example. Certainly not the only one.

Even when Greg wasn't getting killed on penetration, the adjustments we had to make defensively to cover for him really hurt our D -- and are a large reason our defensive efficiency struggled as the season wore on. We switched almost every screen on D to cover for Greg. Teams invariably figured this out, and in the second half of games, teams would screen until the switch lead to a mismatch. Sometimes that was a mismatch allowing a team to attack Greg -- Maynor, Vasquez, Lawson. Other times, teams would attack a different mismatch -- guards switched onto McRoberts, Thornton guarded by McClure in the post. The result was the same. We couldn't get stops when we needed them, and we lost leads and games because of that inability to get stops.

As for Greg's offensive improvement. He shot the ball better. That's it. He still can't create off the dribble. How many possessions against VCU, State, UNC or Maryland did we end up with the ball in Greg's hands to create something with the dribble as the shot clock wound down? How many of those possessions came up empty? Most of them. Greg's not able -- even against Engin Atsur, to create off the dribble.

Greg's offensive troubles won't be as bad next year, presumably. King and Singler and a stronger Scheyer should allow us to spread the floor, giving more kick out options and more space for Greg to penetrate. But his lack of athleticism that requires him to back the ball down the court against guys like Singletary and Crittendon isn't going to be aided in any way by those additional weapons. He's still going to have a heck of a time running the offense while he struggles to hold onto the ball against elite athletes.

I know there's a tendency here to view everything through Royal Blue glasses, but any defense of Greg that tries to compare him favorable with Lawson or Singletary let alone Hurley or Jason Williams is beyond Kool-Aid drinking and is well into fantasy land.

I give Greg a ton of credit for working on his shot and making himself into a shooting threat. The problem is that he's a pretty one-dimensional shooting guard who apparently is the only option we've got at PG not just for next year, but for the next two years. He's a player that brings value to our team, and I don't disagree for a second about his heart, toughness and leadership or his captaincy. But none of that changes the fact that he's not a point guard, and we're a team that needs a point guard.

CDu
03-18-2007, 08:01 PM
Defense.

Setting aside the discussion of Greg's offensive prowess for a moment, Greg's defensive struggles really hurt this team.

Greg can't handle quick PGs and can't effectively stop good penetrators off the dribble. When Scheyer went down with the cut in the last two minutes of the VCU game, Greg for some reason got switched onto Maynor and he was torched, and left defending air as Maynor scored. That's just the last example. Certainly not the only one.

Even when Greg wasn't getting killed on penetration, the adjustments we had to make defensively to cover for him really hurt our D -- and are a large reason our defensive efficiency struggled as the season wore on. We switched almost every screen on D to cover for Greg. Teams invariably figured this out, and in the second half of games, teams would screen until the switch lead to a mismatch. Sometimes that was a mismatch allowing a team to attack Greg -- Maynor, Vasquez, Lawson. Other times, teams would attack a different mismatch -- guards switched onto McRoberts, Thornton guarded by McClure in the post. The result was the same. We couldn't get stops when we needed them, and we lost leads and games because of that inability to get stops.

As for Greg's offensive improvement. He shot the ball better. That's it. He still can't create off the dribble. How many possessions against VCU, State, UNC or Maryland did we end up with the ball in Greg's hands to create something with the dribble as the shot clock wound down? How many of those possessions came up empty? Most of them. Greg's not able -- even against Engin Atsur, to create off the dribble.

Greg's offensive troubles won't be as bad next year, presumably. King and Singler and a stronger Scheyer should allow us to spread the floor, giving more kick out options and more space for Greg to penetrate. But his lack of athleticism that requires him to back the ball down the court against guys like Singletary and Crittendon isn't going to be aided in any way by those additional weapons. He's still going to have a heck of a time running the offense while he struggles to hold onto the ball against elite athletes.

I know there's a tendency here to view everything through Royal Blue glasses, but any defense of Greg that tries to compare him favorable with Lawson or Singletary let alone Hurley or Jason Williams is beyond Kool-Aid drinking and is well into fantasy land.

I give Greg a ton of credit for working on his shot and making himself into a shooting threat. The problem is that he's a pretty one-dimensional shooting guard who apparently is the only option we've got at PG not just for next year, but for the next two years. He's a player that brings value to our team, and I don't disagree for a second about his heart, toughness and leadership or his captaincy. But none of that changes the fact that he's not a point guard, and we're a team that needs a point guard.

Agreed. Part of the issue here is that Paulus has the misfortune of playing for a school with a long history of terrific point guards. Williams, Hurley, Duhon, and Amaker are a tough act to follow. Even Wojo was gritty defensively and had a spectacular assist/turnover ratio throughout his career. It doesn't help to be compared to some truly outstanding all-time PG.

Paulus is a pretty solid player if you disregard his position. He's a very good shooter, can periodically catch you napping and attack the basket for a bucket, and he plays with great intensity. But when you take into account that he's a point guard, he hasn't been very impressive. The assist/turnover ratio is poor, the assists per game aren't good, he has lots of trouble running the offense against pressure defense, he doesn't create for others, and he can't defend quick point guards.

Duke76
03-18-2007, 08:26 PM
and i believe K sees the same weaknesses and will figure out how to relieve the pressure on Greg next season some way some how.

It just too obvious when it takes an extra 10 seconds to get a play started because the opposing guard is pressuring greg so relentlessly.

Duke12
03-18-2007, 08:53 PM
Unfortunately, the issue with Greg is on the defensive end. He simply can't stop dribble penetration. Thus, teams just break us down.

dockfan
03-18-2007, 09:02 PM
We switched almost every screen on D to cover for Greg. Teams invariably figured this out, and in the second half of games, teams would screen until the switch lead to a mismatch.

The problem is that he's a pretty one-dimensional shooting guard who apparently is the only option we've got at PG not just for next year, but for the next two years. He's a player that brings value to our team, and I don't disagree for a second about his heart, toughness and leadership or his captaincy. But none of that changes the fact that he's not a point guard, and we're a team that needs a point guard.

How does switching on screens "cover for Greg" on defense? If we wanted to hide him on defense, he would have guarded the other team's worst perimeter player, and never switched, so he wouldn't end up with a tough matchup.

If you meant we would switch on-ball screens to "cover for Greg," I highly doubt the team's ball screen decisions were based on Greg. First, we usually hedged on ball screens, not switched (though Lance and sometimes Josh would struggle enough with this to turn it into a switch). Second, Greg rarely guarded the opponent's best penetrating guard anyway. Third, if any player is ever "covered up" by his team's defensive scheme, that's just a basic part of team basketball - it doesn't indicate any horrendous liability or flaw of that player or team. Many, if not most, teams win championships with a player that is "covered for" in some way, either defensively or offensively. It's about putting the players you have in the best position for them to be successful and for your team to win. For example, Chris Duhon was a much better off-ball defender than he was an on-ball defender. He wasn't the quickest laterally, and Daniel Ewing was better at on-ball defense. So Duhon often would get moved off the point guard on defense.

Finally, whatever one's opinion of Greg's defensive struggles (even with a completely healthy foot, he's never going to be our best perimeter defender), to say that Greg Paulus is not a point guard (which I have read several times on these boards) is going way too far, in my opinion.

If you wish the team had a better PG, that's fine. Maybe you have a different definition of point guard than I do. If you want a different type of player as Duke's point guard, that's fine too. But Greg is a (barely) 6' guard, with tremendous leadership and toughness, a deadly jump shot, and above-average court vision, ball-handling skills, and decision-making ability. That's a point guard in my book, and I think Coach K and most coaches who have see him play would agree.

It's amazing to me how a few close losses by the team, some costly turnovers by Greg, and criticism of Greg's defense translates to "he is not a point guard." Have people forgotten some of the passes Greg has thrown these last two seasons? How about that slicing bounce pass to free Josh for a tomahawk jam? That was on Thursday night against VCU. There is a nice picture of Josh on the GoDuke.com page. Too bad some people remember the dunk, but not the pass.

Chicago 1995
03-18-2007, 09:10 PM
But Greg is a (barely) 6' guard, with tremendous leadership and toughness, a deadly jump shot, and above-average court vision, ball-handling skills, and decision-making ability. That's a point guard in my book, and I think Coach K and most coaches who have see him play would agree.

It's amazing to me how a few close losses by the team, some costly turnovers by Greg, and criticism of Greg's defense translates to "he is not a point guard." Have people forgotten some of the passes Greg has thrown these last two seasons? How about that slicing bounce pass to free Josh for a tomahawk jam? That was on Thursday night against VCU. There is a nice picture of Josh on the GoDuke.com page. Too bad some people remember the dunk, but not the pass.

There is very little evidence in the last two years that Greg has "above average court vision, ball handling skills or decision-making ability." Very, very little. That's why I don't think he's a PG.

As for the pass, sure, he makes some great passes. As much as the ball is in his hands, he should. But lets not forget that for everyone of those good passes, there's an equally bad pass that's a turnover. Again, that's not the mark of a PG.

HK Dukie
03-18-2007, 09:19 PM
i'm not sure how much basketball you watch, but you should know that going from 1:1 to 2:1 in assists/tos is a monumental improvement. 2:1 is the gold standard for pgs and is not easy to reach....i would be extremely surprised if he were able to do so next year. if he could do that, then this team is going to be much much improved next year and all of this chatter will be moot.

Paulus averaged just about 4 apg and 3tos per game this season. Cutting out one TO gets him to that 2 to 1 ratio. But let's forget that arbitrary stat for a second. Consider what 1 TO costs the team. The average possession is worth just about 1pt. So even if he reached your "gold standard of 2:1" that would save us 1ppg. Don't get me wrong I want that 1ppg, but there are so many areas where we could spend hundred's of posts dissecting besides this measly 1 turnover extra per game. How about our free throw shooting or the injuries that cost certain players valuable time this year? That is worth our attention but it seems like many on this board just like to blame Paulus. I also want him to cut down the TOs but please put it in perspective.

I would rather have him play the way he finished the year averaging 17.4ppg in his last 10 than save that one TO or 1ppg. I would rather have someone play their guts out and at least TRY to step up.

He can be a very good PG. He can be a 1st or 2nd team all-ACC. You add one APG and cut one TO per game and he scores like he did in those final 10 games and he will get that honor next season. He is that close. So while everyone on the team can improve, Paulus no exception, how about finding some other points that we SHOULD have gotten instead of focusing on that 1PPG Paulus cost us with that 1 extra TO.

P.S. dukie8, I have never mentioned Hurley till this point on this board contrary to your claim. Paulus is no Hurley, and likely will never be, but as Coach K says, he has never had a PG that could shoot as well as Paulus. We have something to build on.

dockfan
03-18-2007, 09:41 PM
Another important factor in this assist/turnover discussion is a team's style of play. I'm not sure if anyone has studied this, but I'm pretty sure that PGs, on the whole, get more of their assists in transition than in the half-court. Point guards probably make a vast majority of the decisions that lead to baskets in transition, whereas in the half court, they don't- consider the post player who kicks out for threes, or wing players that feed the post, etc. In the half-court, PGs might make the pass that leads to the assist for someone else, but hey, this ain't hockey.

So, rather than hoping Greg can get from 4A/3TO to 4A/2TO next year, how about if Coach K finally lets the team push the ball again? This has been especially frustrating for me as a fan because I thought this season we actually had the athletes and enough depth to do it. But maybe next year. Plus, I generally think Greg is a much better PG in transition than when he is restrained to the half-court.

So how about a 6A/3TO average next year in a faster-paced system? I'd take it. Of course, the question would then be if that system would lead to increased TOs for Markie, G, Marty, etc., which is entirely possible, and probably the reason why Coach K has been so conservative with this bunch.

chrisM
03-18-2007, 10:30 PM
Letís start with the turnovers. Paulusí turnovers are actually down this year. During his freshman year he committed 3.3 turnovers per game compared with 3.1 per game this year.

Please not that according to Ken Pomeroy's stats (http://kenpom.com/stats.php?y=2006&s=14) last year Duke averaged 71.2 possessions. 3.3 turnovers in 71.2 possessions is 4.6%. This year, Duke averaged 66.1 possessions per game. 3.1 turnovers in 66.1 possessions is 4.6%.

In other words, he didn't turn the ball over less per possession, Duke just played much slower this year than last, and that made his per game TO numbers look better.

CDu
03-18-2007, 11:21 PM
Paulus is no Hurley, and likely will never be, but as Coach K says, he has never had a PG that could shoot as well as Paulus. We have something to build on.

He's also never had a starting PG who had such a poor assist/turnover ratio. For a PG, I'd say that's a pretty big drawback. If Paulus was a SG, his numbers would be REALLY good. But he's a PG, not a PG. And PG are expected to have better than a 1.2:1 assist/turnover ratio, and they're expected to be able to consistently set up the offense and create shots for others. Paulus didn't do very well in that regard.

Also, you keep mentioning that "if he just commits one less turnover per game, he'd have a 2:1 assist/turnover ratio." Well, that would be a 33% reduction in turnovers. As someone else pointed out, he's averaged the exact same turnover per possession rate in the past two years. To suddenly cut his turnover rate by a third would be quite impressive and honestly quite improbable (for any player).

EagleDevil
03-19-2007, 06:18 AM
So, rather than hoping Greg can get from 4A/3TO to 4A/2TO next year, how about if Coach K finally lets the team push the ball again? This has been especially frustrating for me as a fan because I thought this season we actually had the athletes and enough depth to do it. But maybe next year. Plus, I generally think Greg is a much better PG in transition than when he is restrained to the half-court.

My read on this year's team is that Paulus was the reason K didn't push the pace.

Chris

dockfan
03-19-2007, 07:20 AM
My read on this year's team is that Paulus was the reason K didn't push the pace.

Chris

Really? That's interesting. Is it because of Greg's injury? Please explain, especially if you have inside info.

My impression was that Coach K kept the pace slow mainly because he knows that we would have a much better chance of beating UNC and similar teams by executing in the half-court, rather than trying to run with them. So, half-court execution was a major focus of the team all year. We did improve a lot in that regard. Plus, we were very inexperienced on the wing, and a fast-paced game can encourage loose, sloppy play.

Also, it is hard to see how Zoubek fits into all of this- he wouldn't excel in a transition game, but we never really utilized him enough to take advantage of his size in the half-court. It will be interesting to see how he is utilized in the future.