Will our bigs actually be productive this year?


If goofiness equaled basketball skills then the Plumlees would be the best players since Rodman.

Through this entire preseason I’ve read numerous articles that claim that this is the year Duke will become a more balanced team because its big guys are better and stronger.  We get quotes like these from Coach K from this article:

“Our strength right now is our big guys.” Junior forward Ryan Kelly was the leading scorer on the China trip, but Mason and Miles have made huge gains in the workouts and practices since then. Krzyzewski seems to think Miles, who had somewhat of a mediocre junior year, can be an impact player in the post. “The last couple of years, we’ve been a perimeter team, but this year, our big guys need to touch the ball,” he said. “They’re good enough to play with anyone in the country.”

It seems like every year Duke fans hear some variation of “our big guys have really improved and they’re going to be a focal point on the team.” And nearly every year we ache as our big guys haven’t really improved and they aren’t a focal point on the team. As I sit and watch every Duke game I realize that I’m rooting the hardest for a pass to the post so a big guy can try and score. I sigh with disappointment as big guys are routinely ignored when they hold up their hands for the ball. It’s not that I think the big guys have a better chance at scoring than the guards, but I really, really, really want them to have a chance. Even when I know the most likely course of events will be: guard sees center posting up and raising his hand for the ball, guard shakes his head like a pitcher shaking off a catcher’s signal, big guy yells louder for the ball, guard sighs exasperatedly and dumps it into the post. At this point there are a variety of options available to us.

The big guy may execute a brilliant feint, draw his defender off guard and dump the ball in. You cheer with glee because you’ve witnessed something amazing. Then you change the channel back to the Duke game where reality sets in. Typically our big guys have turned the ball over, pass the ball back out when they get double teamed  or ineffectively pump fake for a few minutes before getting blocked by their defender or the rim itself. Hopefully we’ll see more of the former and less of the latter this year. The worldwide exhibition games have given me a restrained feeling of optimism, so yet again I will be going into this year believing our big guys have a chance to be effective.

In the aforementioned article Luke Winn mentions that a fight almost broke out between Mason and Marshall during practice because Marshall was continuously needling and frustrating Mason. Duke would be well served to see that type of intensity on the court. We need our big guys playing with a fiery passion, but I don’t see that happening. When it comes to competition, family members will try to destroy each other with unrestrained fury in order to become a victor. We’ve all seen this happen during monopoly sessions with our siblings. However, it is difficult to translate your enmity for your siblings to enmity for strangers. I don’t think the Plumlees have the ability to treat their opponents with unbridled disdain. They are just too darn nice. Although, if Marshall decides to talk shit to his brothers during games they may take their aggression out on the enemies. Marshall won’t be playing much this year so it should be his goal to infuriate his brothers as much as possible. Then they can take their rage out on their opponents and throw monster dunks over everybody.

This entry was posted in Miscellaneous. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *