Monday, March 26, 2007

Reader Questions

I'm a tad bored with the Final Four right now although I was very impressed with UCLA and their defense. No team of the four left in the tournament plays defense at a level comparable to the Bruins. To me they are the team playing the best basketball on both ends of the floor. They may not be pretty but I think they are a purist's dream team.

Was the collapse of North Carolina Roy Williams' fault? I'd say largely it was. His constant tinkering with the rotations prevented the Tarheels from finding any rhythm on offense but more importantly it was especially damaging on defense. North Carolina wasn't a great defensive team this season beyond defensive rebounding and ranked 54th in the nation in effective field goal percentage defense. Not terrible but very low among tournament teams. Out of the top four seeds in each bracket UNC ranked 11th out of 16 teams in effective field goal percent defense. In a sense it isn't surprising that the high percentage Princeton offense that Georgetown uses would be difficult for the Tarheels to defend. The Hoyas scorched the nets shooting 57% in the game while Carolina shot 35% and only 25% from 3-point range. Roy Williams is the Marty Schottenheimer of college basketball for both good and bad. Roy is an excellent recruiter and can build a program into a Cadillac within a few seasons. In big games Williams has never distinguished himself and seems to lose games even when he has superior talent. Roy Williams certainly is one of the better coaches in college basketball but losing games like this deep in the NCAA tournament seems to be a disturbing pattern.

Now onto a question from a reader:

I know it's not Maryland related, but what are your thoughts on McRoberts leaving early? Surprised me a bit, and I think he may wind up regretting it. I think he could use some more time in college to shore up his post game, and maybe find an outside shot in the 15-footer range. I find it hard to believe he will be successful in posting up in the NBA. Also, any thoughts on DJ's chances in the NBA draft?

Josh McRoberts seems to have been a tad overrated coming out of high school but he is a very skilled 6-10 player. He may have been the second or third best ball handler on his team this past year and during the times when Paulus was struggling McRoberts was a primary ball handler. There have been rumors that he isn't well liked on his own team and tends to blame teammates for his own mistakes. If that is true it would explain him throwing his name into the NBA draft. I don't pretend to know a great deal about what NBA teams look for in the draft, and if recent drafts are any indication then the NBA scouts themselves don't seem to have a much better idea than me. Having said that I think the experts who are saying this was a huge mistake for McRoberts are probably off the mark. He has excellent ball handling skills and passing ability for his size. He isn't a great shooter or defender but that hasn't stopped 6-10 players with potential from getting drafted in the past. I'd be surprised if McRoberts wasn't selected towards the end of the lottery. He hasn't shown the ability at Duke to be the kind of featured player you would like him to be and there are some questions about his maturity so he certainly has his negatives but I see some team taking a shot at him.

As for DJ Strawberry I think he has a shot at being drafted late in the 2nd round if he does well at the pre-draft camps. His shooting deficiencies are going to hurt his chances to a degree. His defense and quickness are going to get him some looks but unless his shooting improves he is a defensive specialist. Those kinds of players rarely get taken in the first or early second round. Still his size and quickness give him an outside shot at making a roster. He is a better professional prospect than Chris McCray or Nik Caner-Medley and they both made the roster of NBA teams, at least for a while.

1 comment:

umdalum06 said...

I will have to disagree with your Roy Williams assessment. Firstly, he's obviously a tremendous recruiter, and has brought a ton of talent to his team. The team had a great year, despite being frighteningly young (if he still had Marvin Williams, and his players don't leave for the NBA, could you imagine the talent?), and outplayed Georgetown for most of the game, until they started missing shots and making bad decisions expected of a young team in a pivotal game. I think Roy did a good job with Matt Doherty's recruiting class as well, taking a team that did not make the tournament in 2003, coming to the team right after, and winning the championship with them in 2005. It's hard to say he comes up short in the big games when he has won the championship just 2 years ago.