Thursday, December 9, 2010

Losing Kyrie - Blessing in Disguise?

I promise I'm not trying to be a super-contentious sports writer by taking a controversial stand just for the hell of it. That will come in my next post: "Coach K - Deserves to be Jailed?" I'm actually serious about this one. Let's look at the facts, and start with a caveat:

Caveat: I am, of course, assuming that Kyrie misses only a few games. He's one of the best players in the country and already my favorite Dukie in some time. This whole "theory" assumes that he'll be back for the start of ACC play in January or shortly after. I'm being optimistic on this one and trying to ignore the strange warnings that he could be gone for a very long time.

1. The team looked a little out of sorts on offense in yesterday's win. Especially in the first half. They put up 51 points in the second, but they never really looked smooth.

2. It's reasonable to believe the team came to rely on Kyrie, talented as he is, to run the offense and keep things fluid. As Singler put it: ""There was just no continuity. We weren't hitting our posts [inside]. It was different without Kyrie out on the court. So just throughout the game, I think we got more comfortable with the lineup we had out on the court. That's a good thing because we are a different team without Kyrie out on the court. The stuff that we're doing is different, so we need to get more familiar with it."

3. Without him, they'll have to learn those things on their own. If they can accomplish that, they'll be a much better team. This is particularly true for Seth Curry, who now has a little breathing room from which to find his game.

4. When Kyrie returns to a squad that's found its identity and discovered how to be great all on their own, Duke will be unbeatable.

That being said, some of the quotes coming from people in the know are making me absolutely sick. Specifically this:

He said the team hopes to learn more about his status in the next week to 10 days, though he said there was a possibility that Irving might be lost for the season.

"I can't say anything more because we're learning information," Krzyzewski said. "It is serious and whatever final decision is made, it's going to be based on what's in his best interests in his career, not to save him for any period of time or whatever. But he could be out for a long time."


This has been: a doctor.

I'm nervous. I'll be nervous until we hear more. But there's nothing else to do at this point. Needless to say, if the worst case scenario comes true, it would be a hard shot to the gut.

Nothing to do but move on. Yesterday, we started the Duke Hot Potato, a game where readers pick the number of points scored by a specific player each game. We're still ironing out the kinks, but loyal reader Dylan and I have come up with a few rules.

A. Instead of an all-time score, each participant will have a game average. So if you get 3 the first game and 5 the second game, your score will be "4" rather than "8." (Keep in mind, your score is the difference between your pick and the actual points scored.) This will allow new people to join without making it impossible to compare scores. And don't worry, at the end of the year we'll require a minimum # of games participated in to qualify.

B. If anyone nails the player's score on the button, they get a -3 bonus. Dylan was the only guy to get 8 yesterday, but I promise we made this rule beforehand. Still, though, I think Dylan's a cheater.

That's really it. If you have any other suggestions, let me know. We're thinking about a slight penalty if someone joins late in order to keep things fair. Maybe +3 per game that you miss.

Anyway, Seth Curry scored 8 points last night. A lot of people went high, thinking he'd benefit from Kyrie's absence, but it was a modest night for the inspiration behind this blog. Here are the current standings:

Congratulations to Marion (who also had a sweet idea for a Cameron Crazie "Kyrie Eleison" chant), Matlock, and John for getting within 1 point, and of course to Dylan for coming out with guns ablaze. He just made a statement, field. Congrats also to Dick K for being hilariously wrong with the highest guess of 25. Never stop believing, Dick K!

The next game is against St. Louis on Saturday at noon, and I'll name the hot potato at the beginning of tomorrow's post.

Moving on, it's time for:


Tom, my stepfather, is a lucid and intelligent person in most walks of life. However, get him on g-chat and you never know what the hell is going to happen. It's like he's trying to transcribe a Chinese speech with a miniature pen and wet paper. Here's the latest, from yesterday, with lots of asterisks and carrots:


did you get my comment and predictions for you blog a few minutes ago? Don't know if they went thru on the comment thing.*


I'm not sure if i got them
i don't think so
paste it to me


Our namesake scores 15 tonight, "Lord Irving" takes me back to my days in the UK when I was "someone", once. How bout Bill Bradley, kinda apropos, isn't it? Singler is "The Saw" as he cuts and scores both "in and out" from the boards.


i like it
i just posted it for you
what happened to bill bradley?**


don't know what the hell i doing with this***
Bill Bradley became a senator from New Jersey, had a run at the presidency or VP in primaries and I think is dead.****


did he die today??




what the hell are you talking about?^


john lennon did^^
your bradley's of famous names in the blog^^^



*Of course they didn't. Asking him to successfully complete a simple task on the internet is like asking a squirrel to change the oil in your car.

**Rookie mistake. Never ask someone like my stepfather to clarify something on the internet. It's like fighting a land war with Russia. You only end up shivering and hungry, wondering what went wrong.

***Tom typing "dpm" twice and then saying he doesn't know what the hell he's doing was easily the highlight of the chat.

****Thanks for telling me who Bill Bradley is. It's not like I read an entire book about him or anything. Also, he's not dead.

^Another rookie mistake. Just walk away, man! (You'll notice we've had to move away from asterisks. Such is the epic quality of a g-chat with Tom.)

^^John Lennon did not die today. He died many years ago. It was on December 8, though. This made the most sense of anything he said.

^^^Ah, I see. He was talking about the thing on my blog where I said that famous people with the first name Bradley were rare.

Summary: I am a disrespectful young person, and g-chats with Tom are always a baffling adventure.

Okay, let's do some Duke grades and head on out of here.

Young Threezy: A+. YES. YES. YES. Well done, Baby Dawk. 8-14 from three? We. Will. TakeIt. Wonderful game from Dawkins, and further proof that he's developed into a huge threat. This young fellow is a pure scorer. He made me want to rap on twitter last night. Behold: Eyes like the hawk, cock of the walk, king of the chalk, head of the flock, never been on lock from the three or the block, it's BABY DAWK. He's easy, he's breezy, ain't never been sleezy or cheesy but D him up and you be queasy, will he light you up? si si, he's Young Threezy. That'll do.

Nolan Smith: B-. Should we start being worried about Nolan's shot, guys? It looks flat as hell, and he's not making it. 0-8 from the field last night. 2 points from someone with Nolan's skill just ain't gonna cut it. He did have 10 assists and a strong passing game, though, keeping him from C territory. The constant redeeming quality is that he's a leader despite his own play.

Kyle Singler: B+. He had one of those quietly decent Singler-esque games. At the end, you never would have guessed he scored 17 points or shot 44% from 3.

Seth Curry: B-. This analysis from a friend of Swetha (of Swetha & Sabreena fame) made me cringe: "Seth Curry is like when you see a toy that looks really cool but then it breaks as soon as you open the box." He's still not scoring, but at least he managed the game semi-decently when he was running the point.

Plumdog Billionaire: B-. Bradley almost out-rebounded us. Not acceptable. Only 2 points for Mason, along with 7 boards and a block. Kind of an "eh" night, although I will say that Bradley focused on him, opening up other options down low. Such as:

Miles Plumblebum: B. He can make dunks.

Ryan Kelly: B-. Kinda seems like a non-entity on this year's team. Big-man filler, and he fouls a bit too much.

Josh Hairston B. Hey, he had a really nice move down low! Hopefully it's a harbinger of the future. Also, can we nickname him "Hair Club"?

Team Defense: A-. This is the best part of our team right now. 11 offensive boards for Bradley is too many, but otherwise the swarm is still active, even without Kyrie.


That's a wrap. Tomorrow, the final week of Pick 6 and the continuation of HOT POTATO.


  1. dpm
    I don't know what I'm doing.
    Ahh, a Tar Heel is in 2nd place...I feel like I cheated by taking advantage of overly optimistic Dukies! Wait...maybe it was a trick...the plan all along was to get me to watch a Duke game and follow #30 closely (I didn't know his number until last night) and root for him on a late runner (hoping for a foul). I think I've been outsmarted by the collective private school education of the Dark Side! That's not fair. -John

  2. You're now in the web, John. Welcome to being a Duke fan.

    Seriously, though, today sucks. I'm writing a paper I have no passion for and it looks like Kyrie will be out for the year. Disasters all around.


  3. Yes...I'm really and truly hoping for the best with Kyrie.
    Maybe writing the intriguingly titled entry: "Coach K - Deserves to be Jailed?" would take your main off of things? Just throwing that out there...

  4. Ugh. If Mr. Irving is out for the season then all Duke fans will have sadface for the month of December. Right now there just seems to be a lot of speculation. I guess we'll have to wait for a formal diagnosis in the next week or so.

    If he is out for the season, then Seth Curry will definitely have to save Duke a second time.

  5. For some reason I have a feeling the Kyrie Irving is out for the season. If he is fine, they would say so. Remember when Lance looked like he broke his knee against UNC last year? They said he was fine after the game and all went back to normal.

  6. I'm with you anon, plus there was this twitter message from him today:

    "Situation not looking good and I'm not feeling good...smh worst thing ever"

    But maybe some good news. Some 16-year-old kid who calls himself "The Recruit Scoop" says this:

    "According to a close source, Duke freshman Kyrie Irving is likely out 3-4 weeks and will not miss the rest of the season, as rumored"

    No idea who this guy is, but he has like 4,000 twitter followers so maybe he's legit. This is what it's come to: praying for the legitimacy of teenagers.

    Mr. Intrigue, Seth Curry is still real tired from saving Duke last year. I don't know if he can manage. Baby Dawk might have to take over.


  7. Imagine if the hot potato had been Dawkins yesterday! I'd have gone with 13, tops.

  8. I know, that would've been a classic hot potato start. However, I don't mean to give things away, but he may have just played himself onto...THE POTATO OVEN.

    (lights dim)


  9. No toe has gotten so much attention since Bunny Lebowski's little toe was purportedly cut off as proof for the Nihilists' ransom demand in the Big Lebowski. Literally every major sports news outlet has a report on this "situation". It's fascinating. Just endless speculating about speculations. Though if i was a Duke fan I don't think I would be so fascinated.


  10. "You want a toe? I can get you a toe, believe me. There are ways dude. You don't want to know about it, believe me. Hell, I can get you a toe by 3 o'clock this afternoon."

    -Coach K


  11. Maybe when there's finally confirmation of what's going on, ESPN will air an hour-long special airing live from Kyrie's kindergarten classroom: "The Toe".