Previewing Duke

2010 Scouting Report / 2010 Game Plan / 2011 Scouting Report / 2011 Game Plan
2011 Stats
2011 Roster
2011 Schedule

Duke Offense 09-10
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 50.5 92
Turnover Rate 16.4 15
Off Reb Rate 40.3 7
FTA/FGA 37.9 158
Duke Offense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 55.7 10
Turnover Rate 17.9 37
Off Reb Rate 33.9 128
FTA/FGA 39.0 147

 

 

 

 

 

Coach K is the best not just because he gets great players and gets them to play hard, but also because he understands better than most that there is more than one way to skin a cat and is willing to adjust his methods to the talent on hand.  His 2010 national title team wasn't blessed with the wealth of skills he's had in the past, but they were put into a position to succeed and not surprisingly, they did.  They were deliberate and took care of the basketball to guarantee plenty of effective possessions, which helped them compensate for mediocre shooting and played to their advantages on the glass.

This season promised a new look, as Duke added a couple of impact guards who figured to make the team much better in transition and lost the offensive rebounder who had been a critical part of the way they did things in 2010.  With little interior presence to speak of, it made sense for these Blue Devils to get out and go.

"Hopefully, we can rebound, so we can run," Krzyzewski said. "We're going to try to force more turnovers and try to get more possessions in a game. I think more possessions in a game would favor our group, whereas not as many possessions in a game would have favored last year's group."

Done and done, as if there were any doubt that K would get what he wanted from this group.  They've improved their defensive rebounding and they're forcing more turnovers, which is giving K the additional transition opportunities he felt they needed.  The Blue Devils average about seven more possessions per 40 minutes than they did in 2010.

While offensive rebounds aren't as plentiful, they've compensated with improved shooting inside and out.  They lean on the three-pointer more than they have in the past--about 37% of their attempts have come from outside--and a significant improvement in two-point accuracy has made a big difference as well.  As Luke Winn pointed out last week, they've very good at avoiding low-percentage jump shots--only 4% of their field goal attempts occur between 17 feet and the three-point line.  That always helps.

They lost a big part of their penetrate-and-kick identity when Kyrie Irving got hurt--with that guy dealing from the point it was almost unfair.  Still they present a myriad of problems to their opponents' perimeter defense, and if the Wolfpack cannot do a better job of getting off screens and communicating, they will get buried.

Starters

Nolan Smith (6-2,185) -- Smith leads the way in terms of workload and scoring, and he's better than ever.  He's  done a fine job picking up the slack in Irving's absence and shoots well inside and out.

Andre Dawkins (6-4, 205) -- Dawkins is in the midst of a brilliant season; he is without question the best role player in the league.  With the kind of accuracy he has displayed--69% from two, 48% from three--it's hard not to be.  He is the perfect opportunistic scorer and likely someone who can be more than that down the road.  For now he's a fantastic complement to Duke's primary scorers.

Kyle Singler (6-8, 230) -- Singler is as effective as ever from the free throw line and beyond the arc, while his two-point percentage is up considerably.  Like Smith, you can tell he's taken it up a level because the stress of a high workload isn't bothering him as much.

Ryan Kelly (6-11, 235) -- The thing that separates Kelly from the Plumlees at the offensive end is his willingness to take three-pointers.  He hasn't been bad enough to be a real liability, and anyway he doesn't get a lot of opportunities, but Duke could be using those shots in better ways.  Defensively, Kelly leads the team in block percentage but needs to get stronger on the defensive glass.

Mason Plumlee (6-10, 240) -- Plumlee is shooting 55% in the paint but struggles to convert from the free throw line (43%) and his turnover problem is rather severe.  Those negatives are enough to relegate him to the bottom of the pecking order.  His offensive rebounding is good enough to create some high-percentage looks here and there, but his value to the offense doesn't go far beyond that.

Bench

Seth Curry (6-2, 180), Miles Plumlee (6-10, 245).  I was curious to see how Curry's skills would translate to the ACC and how he would fit into Duke's offense.  At Liberty his workload was truly insane (he took 33% of the shots) but Duke wasn't going to need him to carry a load anywhere close to that.  Because workload is partially a reflection of who a player is and not just how many plays a team runs for him, I wondered how he might take to a smaller role, if he was really capable of dialing it down.  Turns out he is: he accounts for a modest 18% of Duke's shots, which has helped him improve his 3FG% quite a bit.  Looking at the crazy difference in his per-shot production between contested and uncontested shots, I'd say his usage is right where it should be.  He's no good in traffic, but good heavens is he deadly when he is open.  Keep a hand in his face and you can make him disappear.  Forget about him and he'll bring the wrath.

 

Duke Defense 09-10
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 43.6 7
Turnover Rate 21.3 116
Off Reb Rate 32.1 149
FTA/FGA 34.0 97
Duke Defense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 44.1 25
Turnover Rate 23.5 52
Off Reb Rate 30.9 105
FTA/FGA 28.2 26

 

 

 

 

 

Duke's perimeter D is suppressing three-point attempts just like it always does, and their interior defense is excellent.  The latter may be a bit misleading as a factor in tomorrow night's game since I don't think the Blue Devils have a guy that Tracy Smith can't handle.  Tracy had a big game against Duke last season and he'll have that opportunity again.  

The Pomeroy Predictor likes Duke by 15.  It's do-or-die time for the Pack and their dwindling prospects.  Following this week, four of the next five games are on the road.  That includes trips to Chapel Hill and Durham.  Unfortunately, Duke is the now now, and that's a pretty impossible now.  We need three of the next four if there is to be any hope of salvaging the season.

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