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  1. #1

    At What Point Should Coach K Start Jack Over Cam?

    I don't know if this is a controversial take but it's no secret that Cam has been in a serious funk since Maui. He's simply unable to drive to the hoop without getting stripped, is a foul machine and his shooting mechanics seem to have regressed.

    Jack White, on the other hand, is a rebounding machine whose defensive instincts are 2nd to only maybe Tre on the team. He's also clearly the best spot up 3 point shooter on the team and his motor simply far surpasses Cam on both ends of the floor.

    If I recall correctly, K brought Ingram off the bench for a few games in the 2015-2016 season. Any chance we see a repeat of that with Cam? I'm thinking it might be good for him to come off the bench for some time and regain his confidence while getting more usage on the 2nd unit. This might light a fire under him.

    I truly believe that a starter spot, minutes and playing time should be earned and not given based on your RSCI ranking and NBA potential.

    Should K institute this change with the best interests of the team in mind? I'm interested in hearing all your thoughts on this.

  2. #2
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    Cam has struggled at times. Heís also had some brilliant moments. Key threes. Steals. Heís running his own race, and he will be consistently great one day soon.
       

  3. #3
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    Yeah, Jacques is sort of an ideal sixth man spark fellow, he'll get his minutes no matter what. Gotta stick with Cam so progress can be made.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by DukeTrinity11 View Post
    I don't know if this is a controversial take but it's no secret that Cam has been in a serious funk since Maui. He's simply unable to drive to the hoop without getting stripped, is a foul machine and his shooting mechanics seem to have regressed.

    Jack White, on the other hand, is a rebounding machine whose defensive instincts are 2nd to only maybe Tre on the team. He's also clearly the best spot up 3 point shooter on the team and his motor simply far surpasses Cam on both ends of the floor.

    If I recall correctly, K brought Ingram off the bench for a few games in the 2015-2016 season. Any chance we see a repeat of that with Cam? I'm thinking it might be good for him to come off the bench for some time and regain his confidence while getting more usage on the 2nd unit. This might light a fire under him.

    I truly believe that a starter spot, minutes and playing time should be earned and not given based on your RSCI ranking and NBA potential.

    Should K institute this change with the best interests of the team in mind? I'm interested in hearing all your thoughts on this.
    My thoughts are that Coach K knows these players better than any of us, and has proven over time that (a) he has a very fine sense of how best to motivate each individual; and (b) his player personnel decisions are consistently made with the best interests of the team in mind, not based on recruit rankings or pro potential.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Fish80 View Post
    Cam has struggled at times. Heís also had some brilliant moments. Key threes. Steals. Heís running his own race, and he will be consistently great one day soon.
    I think this is putting it mildly though. Cam came into Duke with a HS ranking/repertoire that would suggest he should be an Ingram or Tatum level player and we've seen no indication that he can ever approach that level while in college.

    I have no doubt Cam will improve tremendously in the coming years but I'm not sure its in the team's best interest in its pursuit of a national championship to keep starting him over Jack White, who up to this point has been a better basketball player.

    He definitely has the physical tools to be great; I just hope we see it while he's at Duke.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by budwom View Post
    Yeah, Jacques is sort of an ideal sixth man spark fellow, he'll get his minutes no matter what. Gotta stick with Cam so progress can be made.
    I'm not typically a member of the Duke Player Name Spelling Police, but I thought Jack was an Aussie not a Frenchman

    Perhaps residing in close proximity to the French part of Canada has affected your spelling?

    To your actual point, I agree that I think Jack as 6th man and Cam in the starting lineup is still the way to go. I think Cam as a starter is still the best way to go for long-term growth of this team.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Stray Gator View Post
    My thoughts are that Coach K knows these players better than any of us...
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  8. #8
    This feels like a pretty academic debate to have while we are continually winning games by 20+. Are you arguing we'd be winning by 30+ if Jack White was starting instead of Reddish? Is that a change we'd need to make?

    As it stands, I think White functions pretty well as a sixth man, and I think continuing to start Reddish is our best plan for his long-term growth this season--meaning it gives us the best shot at a championship by the end of the season.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stray Gator View Post
    My thoughts are that Coach K knows these players better than any of us, and has proven over time that (a) he has a very fine sense of how best to motivate each individual; and (b) his player personnel decisions are consistently made with the best interests of the team in mind, not based on recruit rankings or pro potential.
    I also think that there is a difference between the Ingram and Reddish situations. Ingram was struggling with effort and letting his offense effect his defense. Reddish for all of his shooting and turnover issues is still playing great defense (although fouling at too high of a rate). I think Reddish is playing hard, he just need to adjust to the pace and physicality of the game. I would be worried that sitting on the bench might make him regress even further.

    Another difference is that this team is gelling and winning where Ingramís season was struggling a little when he was benched.

  10. #10
    My recommendation, focus on MPG. Jack will get a lot of PT playing like he did last night!

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by DukeTrinity11 View Post
    Should K institute this change with the best interests of the team in mind?
    K knows his team better than any of us. Please remember this.

  12. #12
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    scottdude8 is offline Contributor, Zoubek disciple, and resident Wolverine
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    At this point I see no reason to make a change to the starting lineup unless K sees it as a necessary/useful motivational tool for Cam. There are a few main reasons for this:
    1. All indications are Jack is perfectly content in his sixth man role and doesn't feel the "need" to start. Plus, his game is pretty well suited to coming off the bench anyways.
    2. K has shown that, even with Cam as the nominal "starter" and Jack as the nominal "sixth man", he has no problem playing Jack in the key moments or having him play "starters minutes" in place of Cam.
    3. Given points 1 and 2, at the moment the only real difference in starting Jack over Cam would be an aesthetic one... it doesn't matter all that much who plays the first 3-4 minutes of the game considering K is very comfortable putting Jack in early and playing him for an extended period.

    With that said, it is a definite possibility that we see this happen if Cam continues to struggle, especially if those struggles are carried over in a way we may not see into a practice or off-court setting. I'm not speculating that this is the case (actually from everything I can see it appears Cam and this tight-knit group are doing a good job of making sure it isn't the case), but there's nothing ruling out that it might happen.

    As an illustrative side note, this reminds me of one of the most interesting experiences I had writing for The Chronicle, which was covering the lone game that Austin Rivers didn't start while at Duke. Despite not starting Austin still came off the bench and played around 30 minutes in a victory against Wake. Interviewing him in the locker room afterwards I expected Austin to say something along the lines of "I needed that message from K to pick up my effort level, and it was received... I'm going to earn my starting job back" or something like that. Instead, Austin said (and I'm paraphrasing from memory here) something along the lines of "I understand what Coach was trying to do, but I'm a starter, and I've always been a starter at every level, and I know I'm going to start again". It was by far the oddest locker-room interview I was ever a possible, and definitely revealed Austin's ego. By the next game, Austin was back in the starting lineup and many of the issues that sent him to the bench (specifically his tendency to start playing a lot of "hero-ball") were largely ignored.

    Now, I am in no way saying that the situation I outlined above it applicable to Cam... as I mentioned, from all accounts Cam and this team carry themselves in a way antithetical to Austin (also, I'm in no way intending to bad mouth Austin... he just carried himself in a different way then many other players. Not better or worse necessarily, but definitely different.). But I do think this example is a useful one in this context because it shows a simple "benching" doesn't necessarily carry the weight it might have in the past, and could potentially be counterproductive depending on the personalities involved. All this is to say I think the more likely scenario than Jack starting over Cam (if Cam continues his struggles) is something more along the lines of Jack starting to play 30 minutes a night off the bench, with Cam's minutes dipping in concert.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DukeTrinity11 View Post
    Should K institute this change with the best interests of the team in mind? I'm interested in hearing all your thoughts on this.
    Under what other circumstances would you see K making a change of this nature?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey View Post
    My recommendation, focus on MPG. Jack will get a lot of PT playing like he did last night!
    I think this is a more salient point. As it stands, Jack is getting more minutes than Cam. The starting lineup is significant to fans and probably to the psyche of the players. However, in terms of on-court impact, Jack is on the floor more than Cam right now.

    However, I've said it before and I'll say it again, Cam's defense is very, very good. That's worth keeping him on the court, alone. I think if his foul-rate were to decrease, Coach K would play him more minutes even without improvement on offense. Cam has not lived up to the hype on offense, but he's surpassed expectations on defense (to be fair, the entire team has) and he works really hard on that end.

    I don't want this to sound like I'm trying to knock Jack because I'm not. I think he's the biggest and best surprise for Duke this season. His rebounding is sensational. He's not as versatile as Cam on defense, but he's capable when switched onto a smaller defender and is strong enough/athletic enough to hold his own in the post against bigger players. And while he is still very limited on offense, he knows his limitations and sticks to shooting open threes and wide open dunks/layups. In fact, he's only taken 14 total 2-point shots all season and has taken zero jumpers inside the arc. He is maximizing his skills in about the best possible way for a low-usage player.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by DukeTrinity11 View Post
    I don't know if this is a controversial take but it's no secret that Cam has been in a serious funk since Maui. He's simply unable to drive to the hoop without getting stripped, is a foul machine and his shooting mechanics seem to have regressed.

    Jack White, on the other hand, is a rebounding machine whose defensive instincts are 2nd to only maybe Tre on the team. He's also clearly the best spot up 3 point shooter on the team and his motor simply far surpasses Cam on both ends of the floor.

    If I recall correctly, K brought Ingram off the bench for a few games in the 2015-2016 season. Any chance we see a repeat of that with Cam? I'm thinking it might be good for him to come off the bench for some time and regain his confidence while getting more usage on the 2nd unit. This might light a fire under him.

    I truly believe that a starter spot, minutes and playing time should be earned and not given based on your RSCI ranking and NBA potential.

    Should K institute this change with the best interests of the team in mind? I'm interested in hearing all your thoughts on this.

    I am absolutely sure that Cam has earned his starter spot because he has been starting (I can't discount the possibilty that this may change). Coach K does not start undeserving players and a lot of his decisions are based on what he sees in practices. He sees something in Cam that has not yet totally translated to the games, but I'm confident (wishful thinking, maybe) that eventually things will click.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbosbbos View Post
    K knows his team better than any of us. Please remember this.
    I agree and you have to think that what we are seeing is not what K is seeing in practice. While itís a bit frustrating to see the turnovers and misses I have faith that K knows what he is doing.
    I also think his teammates know how good he is and are really pulling for him too. You could see that after some of the shots he made and missed last night with the way the rest of the team were making a point to encourage him.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by curtis325 View Post
    I am absolutely sure that Cam has earned his starter spot because he has been starting (I can't discount the possibilty that this may change). Coach K does not start undeserving players and a lot of his decisions are based on what he sees in practices. He sees something in Cam that has not yet totally translated to the games, but I'm confident (wishful thinking, maybe) that eventually things will click.
    My guess is what Coach K sees in Cam is someone struggling, someone frustrated that he's struggling, someone that is working tirelessly to execute on the coaching he's being given, and someone that needs to start to show the support of his coach that he is doing everything right.

    I think the fact that Jack is playing more minutes than Cam is the telling sign that the starting nod is more support and confidence building than performance based - insofar as my definition of performance is on-court and not including "attitude" or "work ethic".

    If Cam clicks, I don't expect Jack White to play more minutes than him. Perhaps not by a vast amount, since Jack has been largely great this year, all things considered. But that's my expectation nonetheless.

    Said differently, I think Coach is fully aware that Jack's on-court performance thus far this season is superior to Cam's. And Coach is also fully aware that Cam Reddish has a ceiling that has not been anywhere close to achieved. And thus my conclusion is that Coach is managing the situation as best he believes to grow Cam into his untapped potential while not sacrificing losses.

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by DukeTrinity11 View Post
    I truly believe that a starter spot, minutes and playing time should be earned and not given based on your RSCI ranking and NBA potential.

    Should K institute this change with the best interests of the team in mind? I'm interested in hearing all your thoughts on this.
    "Should K institute this change with the best interests of the team in mind?" is begging the question. The insinuation that K puts weight on RSCI for PT decisions shows a gross misunderstanding of K's values.

    K's goal is to put the best team on the floor in march/april. Winning games along the way is a at least mildly secondary. We are a better team with a top notch cam on the floor than not, if that means he needs to get some minutes now to get him there? Then so be it. We have that luxury winning by a gazillion.

    So long as Cam is busting his butt in practice, and playing strong defense, which he seems be doing, I have no problem with him being on the floor.


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  19. #19
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    I understand the reasoning that Jack makes a great 6th man because of his versatility. But here are the reasons why starting him would make sense:

    - We've made a habit of starting off games slow. Other than Texas Tech, when we started on an 8-0 run, it feels like we begin every game missing our first 8 shots and letting the overmatched teams hang around for 15-20 minutes. I have to wonder if it would help to have Jack's energy on the floor from the very tip, rather than waiting until the players have settled in.

    - Cam has also made it a habit of picking up two fouls in the first half, which then throws off his game. Coming off the bench would remove some of that pressure.

    - As we've discussed ad nauseum, a lot of Cam's struggles seem to come from adjusting to playing with other scorers around him. So instead of starting three scorers, why not start two of them and let the third come in off the bench? Let him come in for RJ or Zion after the first TV timeout and then he'll have more freedom to have the ball in his hands.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by UrinalCake View Post
    I understand the reasoning that Jack makes a great 6th man because of his versatility. But here are the reasons why starting him would make sense:

    - We've made a habit of starting off games slow. Other than Texas Tech, when we started on an 8-0 run, it feels like we begin every game missing our first 8 shots and letting the overmatched teams hang around for 15-20 minutes. I have to wonder if it would help to have Jack's energy on the floor from the very tip, rather than waiting until the players have settled in.

    - Cam has also made it a habit of picking up two fouls in the first half, which then throws off his game. Coming off the bench would remove some of that pressure.

    - As we've discussed ad nauseum, a lot of Cam's struggles seem to come from adjusting to playing with other scorers around him. So instead of starting three scorers, why not start two of them and let the third come in off the bench? Let him come in for RJ or Zion after the first TV timeout and then he'll have more freedom to have the ball in his hands.
    Really? If Cam gets stripped driving to the hoop when both Zion AND RJ are on the floor, what makes you think he'll be more effective when they aren't and the defensive attention is solely on Cam?

    I like Cam starting. Agreed that Duke starts slow and Cam is foul prone, but taking him out may easily:

    -Destroy his confidence
    -Prevent Cam from working on fouling less
    -Put more pressure on Zion and RJ to put up points that may lead to more offensive fouls

    It's a trade-off and not clear-cut.
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