-The Duke Offseason Report
-Duke is the best team in the NBA
-The Roy Williams take-down
-The 'Zombie Singler' Theorem
-Duke-WVU Final Four Preview
This post is a response to "Why Duke Will Not Repeat" from esteemed rapper Tupac Shakur.
From the desk of Tupac Shakur:
An Open Letter
An Open Letter
It is with great sorrow that I write to you on this, the first day of June, in the year of our Lord 2010. Last week, while summering with Norman Mailer, I was between copies of The Economist, so I went to check on my favorite sports blog. I used to shun the mutterings of the hoi polloi and the so-called “blogosphere” that promotes such drivel, but I must admit I am an ardent follower of SCSD, even if its coverage of sailing and airplane races is woefully inadequate. Needless to say, I nearly choked on my foie gras when I saw that a dear Duke supporter had the temerity to befoul my favorite basket-ball team, mere weeks after triumphing in the NCAA’s penultimate game.
The Blue Devils are, of course, my favorite representatives of the ivory towers. As a graduate of the prestigious Baltimore School of the Arts I strongly support strict adherence to fundamentals, especially in basket-ball. Naturally, with their fine attention to set-shots and crisp chest passes, I find Duke the worthiest of all competitors.
I also feel a bit of kinship with the history of Duke as well. In the late 1980s we were both new but unproven commodities on the national scene - I as a secondary lyricist for Digital Playground and Duke with regular appearances in the Final Four. Needless to say, we both “broke out”, as it were, in 1991 with Duke and I winning national championships and releasing 2pacalypse Now, respectively. Christian Laettner and I both received criticism for our blunt and provatative style, but such is the norm for groundbreaking work. I responded with Strickly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. and Christian with another national championship.
Our story continues to parallel in the mid-90s, when Coach K had to leave the team in 1996 due to exhaustion and I was found guilty of sexual assault in 1994. I was so upset by Duke’s season in 1996 I staged my death; sure, I had been wanting to retire from the intellectually barren world of hip-hop anyway, but seeing the team go down like that was too much to handle while trying to maintain a public image. Furthermore, while sometimes I miss music, it has served as a means to an end: All Eyez on Me went quintuple-platinum (despite my being incarcerated during its release), and the royalties from that project have allowed me to continue my lavish lifestyle on a newspaper salary, where I write under the pseudonym George Will.
Once again, my garrulous nature has distracted from the ethos of my letter. Without further ado, please allow me to present my rebuttal to the aforementioned article.
ON THE 2011 BLUE DEVILS:
THE GREATEST TEAM OF ALL TIME
By Tupac Shakur
My heart will always have a place for the 2010 team. They had a dogged persistence to continue with a set offense and white point guards even though the evolution of the previous decade would suggest this was no longer a winning strategy. Finally, a win for bluebloods and purebreds instead of freewheeling punks. Nevertheless, the 2011 team will be The Odyssey to 2010’s Iliad.
FIRSTLY: let it be known that the accomplishments of Jon Scheyer, while extraordinary, will not condemn the Devils to a shortage at the lead-guard position. I was shocked that SCSD would publish such a fallacious argument that the production transition from year to year must be one-to-one. Individually, Irving can not match Scheyer next year, but that will not be his role. He will be a catalyst for other players, merely the spearhead on a deadly arrow. With Dawkins, Smith, and Curry, the scoring load at guard will be well compensated; Irving’s role will be to accelerate the tempo and keep opponents aghast with dazzling foot-work and fingertip-roll-attempts. Furthermore, scoring options will be more numerous at the post position as well, as the Brothers Plumlee are an upgrade offensively over the seniors of last year’s team.
SECONDLY: Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler need not improve. Although ridiculous, let’s for a moment accept the premise that Nolan and Kyle are done improving atheletically (even as the Court General K suggests otherwise). Would such a negative outlook even be a problem? Show me a coach that wouldn’t like to have the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player exactly as he was in March. Furthermore, Smith has already proven effective as a lead player on a championship squad. While certainly every college team relies on the improvement of players from year to year, our advantage in having fully-developed players should be an advantage, not a worry.
FOLLOWING: Our rotation in the post. Forget for a moment how heartwarming it is that two seniors finally figured it out after three years. Our rotation is ready now. We bring in a junior stalwart at center whose only weakness seems to be having overzealous attitude on defense. Furthermore, have we forgotten that Mason Plumlee is quite possibly the most highly-regarded player coming out of high school on last year’s team? His upside is tremendous (he’s slated as a lottery pick in 2011), and this year his growth won’t be interrupted with a broken wrist before the season. With so much success last year, we’ve completely neglected Ryan Kelly, another player whose talents haven’t been fully realized yet as he isn’t done growing.
The most important aspect of our frontcourt is presented thusly: all three of these players (and, I should mention, newcomer Josh Hairston) are extremely fast baseline-to-baseline, a suit that will flourish nicely with a higher tempo next year. If anything, our frontcourt with Irving will be more effective than last year, as we won't rely on role players to dictate the offense from primary scorers; rather, all five players will be sufficiently suited to attack and play pressure defense.
CONCLUDINGLY: Certainly, the field will present surprises next year. However, remember that almost every single worthy player bolted for the draft this year due to the impending lockout next year. If anything, the field will be worse next year than they were in the preceding year. While any run in the tournament relies on luck to a degree, no one will be better suited to succeed than the Blue Devils.