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  1. To compare Zion's 70th percentile defensive EPM with other notable forwards:

    Luka Doncic: 66
    Kevin Durant: 63
    Pascal Siakam: 51
    James Harden: 48
    John Collins: 41
    Karl Anthony Towns: 33

    Zion's defense is much maligned, and unhelpfully perpetuated by his own coach.

    While we're at it, why not compare Kyrie's 49th percentile defensive EPM with other notable guards:

    Donovan Mitchell: 38
    Stephen Curry: 35
    Damian Lillard: 26
    Bradley Beal: 24
    CJ McCollum: 24
    Trae Young: 23

    Yep, this season Kyrie is defending better than all those guys. Surprising right?

  2. #1642
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Raleigh, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernDukie View Post
    Search no further than tonightís box score for the reason the Pelicans canít keep Ball. This was a huge game tonight, and he was absolutely pathetic. 1-9 from three point range, and 3-18 for the game. That just isnít going to cut it. I still say he and Bledsoe both need to be jettisoned in the off-season.
    The Pelicans were down 39 to ??? something a lot less like 21 after the first period. Steph Curry scored 17 in the first quarter and the GSW put on a clinic on how to play offense. Meanwhile, Ball started 0-8, Zion actually struggled trying to score through traffic (meaning he 'only' hit 50% of shots) and it seemed like the game was lost before halftime. I fell asleep and didn't see the second half (had saved the game and was watching late so I might go back and watch the second half later today). Ball just kept chucking up shots and missing. I've said it in this thread before...when Ball is hitting his shots, this team is hard to beat because Zion and BI are generally going to score and Ball gets lots of open looks. A healthy JJ Redick would really have helped this team. They need to replace Ball and Bledsoe.

  3. #1643
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by ice-9 View Post
    It's easy to discount Zion's historical season because the Pels are not a good team. He is now 96th percentile on offensive EPM, which is elite, and 70th on defensive EPM. He's no longer a bad defender, and in fact a significantly above average one. He is fourth in PER, scoring in ways people didn't think were no longer possible -- inside at an incredibly efficient rate. And he's only 20 years old!!

    In my mind he's certainly a top 15 player, and probably a top 10 player. Imagine how much better he would be if he had good shooters around him.

    Without those, teams can design defensive schemes exclusively around Zion. One of the podcasts I listened to (think it was the Ringer) mentioned reading another team's scouting report on the Pels and Zion was basically the only thing on that report.

    The Pels are best when Lonzo is hitting shots, but the problem is Lonzo is not consistent. Some of it can be blamed on injuries but he's injured a lot.

    You all know how I feel about the coach. But the team is also ill fitting.

    Pels would do better with a Dave Bertrans or Kelly Olynyk instead of a Steven Adams and Jaxon Hayes.

    Instead of Eric Bledsoe, a Seth Curry or Duncan Robinson or...a freaking JJ Redick.

    Lonzo obviously has potential, but he's injured so often and can go on cold shooting slumps. With SVG's pace of play, Pels would be better served with a Mike Conley type. OK, maybe Conley is unrealistically good, but this team did have Jrue Holiday once upon a time and those two are about on par with each other. Look at how much better Jrue plays now that he's on a good team with a good coach.

    With Bledsoe, Lonzo, Ingram, Zion and Adams, this team is actually well equipped to play a fast pace and run. But no, with SVG at the helm, this team plays slow and in the half court.

    Maybe the blame should be put on the GM.
    ice-9 posted this while I was still typing and did a better job of covering the "Pelicans Need Shooters" issue than I did. I will say that the problem with Jrue last year, IMHO, was that he still wanted to be the man too often and have the ball and take the shot. With Zion and BI, they needed a guy that would be OK being the 3rd option (which ironically is where Jrue is with the Bucks: 3rd or 4th).

    As someone who really like he Pelicans and the GSW, I really hate that they are playing so much as this point in the season because they both needs the wins...

    On another note, it would be so sweet to see the Lakers lose a play in game!

  4. #1644
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Quote Originally Posted by elvis14 View Post
    ice-9 posted this while I was still typing and did a better job of covering the "Pelicans Need Shooters" issue than I did. I will say that the problem with Jrue last year, IMHO, was that he still wanted to be the man too often and have the ball and take the shot. With Zion and BI, they needed a guy that would be OK being the 3rd option (which ironically is where Jrue is with the Bucks: 3rd or 4th).

    As someone who really like he Pelicans and the GSW, I really hate that they are playing so much as this point in the season because they both needs the wins...

    On another note, it would be so sweet to see the Lakers lose a play in game!
    Not sure if this was mentioned upthread, but in the 4Q of last night's game, Vince Carter made a point of mentioning the Pels' lack of perimeter shooting, and how inexplicable it was for them to get rid of JJ.

  5. #1645
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by luvdahops View Post
    Not sure if this was mentioned upthread, but in the 4Q of last night's game, Vince Carter made a point of mentioning the Pels' lack of perimeter shooting, and how inexplicable it was for them to get rid of JJ.
    Yeah, JJ struggled because he wasn't healthy but now that he is and it's crunch time the Pels could really use him (and that article posted earlier talks about how he's going to help the Mavs). Add to that the fact that the Zion as Point Stud experiment wasn't really going on when JJ was getting minutes...

  6. #1646
    Quote Originally Posted by elvis14 View Post
    Yeah, JJ struggled because he wasn't healthy but now that he is and it's crunch time the Pels could really use him (and that article posted earlier talks about how he's going to help the Mavs). Add to that the fact that the Zion as Point Stud experiment wasn't really going on when JJ was getting minutes...
    Iíll avoid the debate as to SVGís suitability as coach of the Pelicans, but JJ has never thrived on one of his teams. I know that JJ did not like the way the trade happened, but I am glad for him that he is in a much better basketball situation and hope he shines in Dallas.

    Who knows, maybe he likes the city and the tax benefits and the family follows him. Not what I expect to happen, but creating connections in another big city cannot hurt someone as dynamic as Redick.
    Carolina delenda est

  7. #1647
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Mount Kisco, NY
    Duke in the NBA - New Yorker edition

    Duke in NBA New Yorker Cover.jpg

  8. #1648
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Dat View Post
    Duke in the NBA - New Yorker edition

    Duke in NBA New Yorker Cover.jpg
    That's some pretty heady company for RJ. But he's established himself as the 2nd best player for the Knicks, so seems warranted.

  9. #1649
    Quote Originally Posted by cato View Post
    Iíll avoid the debate as to SVGís suitability as coach of the Pelicans, but JJ has never thrived on one of his teams. I know that JJ did not like the way the trade happened, but I am glad for him that he is in a much better basketball situation and hope he shines in Dallas.
    Agreed. I know JJ always gives the professional tip of the hat when it comes to SVG helping him with his defense and such, but after watching him this year in NO with SVG back at the helm it became obvious to me those two are like oil and water. JJ has never played well under Stan, and I don't think Stan has ever truly valued what JJ brings to a team. I'm very happy he's out of there, and in a better spot for him.

    Long term I'm definitely worried that BI, and especially Zion, will lose valuable years off their NBA career playing for a guy that hasn't consistently won unless he's had otherworldly talent on the team. Shaq says Van Gundy is a panic-type guy, and I believe it. He doesn't impress me as a coach that instills confidence into his players. He the polar opposite of Coach K in that regard. I truly hate that Zion and BI have to play under him.

  10. #1650
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Winston Salem, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernDukie View Post
    Agreed. I know JJ always gives the professional tip of the hat when it comes to SVG helping him with his defense and such, but after watching him this year in NO with SVG back at the helm it became obvious to me those two are like oil and water. JJ has never played well under Stan, and I don't think Stan has ever truly valued what JJ brings to a team. I'm very happy he's out of there, and in a better spot for him.

    Long term I'm definitely worried that BI, and especially Zion, will lose valuable years off their NBA career playing for a guy that hasn't consistently won unless he's had otherworldly talent on the team. Shaq says Van Gundy is a panic-type guy, and I believe it. He doesn't impress me as a coach that instills confidence into his players. He the polar opposite of Coach K in that regard. I truly hate that Zion and BI have to play under him.
    I guess Van Gundy is lucky that Zion isn't the type player who would run to the owner and demand a coaching change. Not that Zion feels that way but Van Gundy doesn't have to worry about his super star bad mouthing him. I love Zion's attitude. It's apparent he loves playing basketball and it's not all about money to him. That's just a guess on may part.

    GoDuke!

  11. #1651
    Man, there's a lot of SVG hate on this sub. I don't get it. JJ's compliments seem sincere, not contrived. The roster is a very strange amalgamation of players. SVG had nothing to do with that. He had liberated Zion to play all over the floor. Not sure why folks are bashing him.

  12. #1652
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Steamboat Springs, CO
    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15 View Post
    Man, there's a lot of SVG hate on this sub. I don't get it. JJ's compliments seem sincere, not contrived. The roster is a very strange amalgamation of players. SVG had nothing to do with that. He had liberated Zion to play all over the floor. Not sure why folks are bashing him.
    Agree. I am sick and tired of hearing about Stan Van Gundy in the Dukies in the NBA thread. Let's find another whipping horse. What about Harrison Barnes?
    Sage Grouse

    ---------------------------------------
    'When I got on the bus for my first road game at Duke, I saw that every player was carrying textbooks or laptops. I coached in the SEC for 25 years, and I had never seen that before, not even once.' - David Cutcliffe to Duke alumni in Washington, DC, June 2013

  13. #1653
    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15 View Post
    Man, there's a lot of SVG hate on this sub. I don't get it. JJ's compliments seem sincere, not contrived. The roster is a very strange amalgamation of players. SVG had nothing to do with that. He had liberated Zion to play all over the floor. Not sure why folks are bashing him.
    I donít hate SVG and specifically donít care to try to rate him as a coach. Pushed into that conversation I would say heís clearly not great (great coaches stick on a specific team) and not terrible. More to the point, JJ simply has not performed at his best on SVGís teams. I am not apportioning blame, just noting that is what has happened.
    Carolina delenda est

  14. #1654
    Quote Originally Posted by sagegrouse View Post
    Agree. I am sick and tired of hearing about Stan Van Gundy in the Dukies in the NBA thread. Let's find another whipping horse. What about Harrison Barnes?
    Or we could retitle the thread ďDukies in the NBA and SVG is a Bad CoachĒ.

  15. #1655
    Iím going to make a bold, way-too-early, prediction just based on my gut feeling at the moment: if the Bucks beat the Nets tonight, I think Brooklyn can kiss a trip to the NBA Finals goodbye. I donít think theyíll be able to catch Philadelphia for the #1 seed in the East, and I think back to back wins for Milwaukee over them will give the Bucks a decided mental advantage over the Nets in a 7 game series during the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

    Of course, if Harden doesnít return for Brooklyn, I think the Nets are at a serious disadvantage regardless.

  16. #1656
    Kyrie and Durant were out-dueled in both these games by Holiday and Giannis. Right now I think Dukie Seth Curry has a better shot at an NBA title than Kyrie. Would not have said that before tonight. But the 76ers and Bucks are trending up right now, and the Nets are trending down. The Knicks are trending up as well. The Celtics are so inconsistent, Jayson probably can’t be expected to represent Duke in the NBA Finals this year.

  17. #1657
    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernDukie View Post
    Iím going to make a bold, way-too-early, prediction just based on my gut feeling at the moment: if the Bucks beat the Nets tonight, I think Brooklyn can kiss a trip to the NBA Finals goodbye. I donít think theyíll be able to catch Philadelphia for the #1 seed in the East, and I think back to back wins for Milwaukee over them will give the Bucks a decided mental advantage over the Nets in a 7 game series during the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

    Of course, if Harden doesnít return for Brooklyn, I think the Nets are at a serious disadvantage regardless.
    So, Brooklynís season is de facto over based on the game tonight, even assuming Harden comes back as everyone expects? I guess thatís why they call it a hot take.

    I think 3 teams in the East could potentially win a championship this year, and Brooklyn is still one of them.

  18. Nets gave up a lot to get Harden, so if he doesn't play they are at a disadvantage. Still with KD and Kyrie they are still a contender, just not the favorite.

  19. #1659
    Quote Originally Posted by Duke79UNLV77 View Post
    So, Brooklynís season is de facto over based on the game tonight, even assuming Harden comes back as everyone expects? I guess thatís why they call it a hot take.

    I think 3 teams in the East could potentially win a championship this year, and Brooklyn is still one of them.
    I pretty much stated at the outset that it was a hot/gut take. And Iím rooting for the Nets, because of Kyrie. But they are not trending in the right direction at the moment.

  20. I wasn't able to watch the Pels-Warriors game live, but just saw the replay. Dang, what a great game. BI was off but Lonzo was on, and teases just how good this team can be if Zion, BI and Lonzo can all play well at the same time.

    Pels are now just one win behind the Spurs, who have a brutal remaining schedule: road games against Jazz (twice), Kings and Blazers, then the Bucks at home, on the road against Nets and Knicks, and the finally home games against the Suns. Yikes. Getting more than a win (likely the Kings) against that schedule won't be easy, and the Suns and Jazz are still playing for the best overall record. The Spurs caught a break though as Mitchell and Conley are injured for the Jazz; hopefully they'll be healthy enough to play.

    The Pel's remaining schedule is difficult as well: on the road against 76ers, Hornets, Grizzlies, Mavericks, Warriors and then at home against the Lakers, who are fighting to not be in the play-in tournament. However these Pels seem to play up or down to their competition, so hopefully they can win 3 against this schedule.

    Spurs own the tie-breaker.

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