RealGM's Terrible Gator Synopsis

Discussion in 'Nuttin' but Net' started by rserina, Aug 6, 2014.

  1. rserina
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    rserina VIP Member

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    http://basketball.realgm.com/article/234524/College-Basketball-Preview-14-15-SEC

    Predicting that we will fall off defensively isn't a crime. It is smart, and I agree with it. But arguing that Donovan isn't a good coach defensively from some circumspect statistical conjecture is mind-numbing. I suspect if the author actually followed Florida, he would know how Donovan has changed his strategy appreciably in recent years at the defensive end of the court (more help in the lane, less switching on ball screens) and how that has resulted in a substantial increase in defensive efficiency and consistency. Nor does that simply correlate with the contributions of Young and Yeguete. We were fairly solid going back to 2010-11, then terrible in 2011-12 (when, coincidentally, Young and Yeguete emerged as regular contributors), before spiking upwards meteorically the last two years.
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  2. ArtVandelay
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    ArtVandelay Well-Known Member

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    Not to mention the fact that Donovan is one of the best at adjusting his strategy to go with the personnel...
  3. Bullis33
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    Bullis33 VIP Member VIP Member

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    In BD I trust
  4. GatorPlanet
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    GatorPlanet Well-Known Member

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    I expect we'll be a little suspect on defense early in the season, but I fully expect to be a solid defensive squad by midseason. Chris Walker still has a lot to learn, but will be a swatter and a glass-cleaner for us. Once he gets the rotations down, watch out.
  5. ThePlayer
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    ThePlayer VIP Member

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    What a tool.
    We played better D than Kentucky last year and will again this year with DFS & C Walk.
    Sure, we need to recruit more bigs, but the D has been Billy's calling card for many years!!
    If anything...our offense has had some issues scoring points when we really needed it.
  6. RD_gator
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    RD_gator Well-Known Member

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    Against all of their opponents, Florida will be deadly on the fast break! Speed & quickness kills size!
    This writer hardly talks about the versatility & length of Florida's starting line-up: 6'8 Robinson, 6'2 Hill, 6'8 DFS, 6'10 Walker & 6'4 Frazier. Judging by the 2012 & 2013 results, Florida should field yet another terrific defense. Kasey Hill has proven to be a pretty good on the ball defender. I'm sure his future back-up Chris Chiozza will equally give opponents fits with his defense as well. Frazier is a solid rebounder and has experience playing inside in a pinch. Finney-Smith often gets the tough rebounds at the PF position (see FSU & KU last season) and has also shown to be a tenacious defender inside with his quick hands. We are all hoping that with Chris Walker's size & incredible athleticism that he will be a great rim protector & rebounder in the middle. Imagine playing zone defense with DFS, Robinson, & C.Walker protecting the perimeter and with Horford inside and having either Frazier or Hill run the point! You would think even a team like Kentucky would have trouble executing their offense against that type of zone! Coach Donovan has proven that he can get a group of dedicated athletes to play great efficient defense (i.e, utilizing the press, zone & man defenses) as well as efficient offense.

    Florida will definitely miss Devin Walker's length & tenacity on the perimeter next season. Hopefully, Dillon Graham & Eli Carter can come back strong from their injuries and become a factor for the team. It will be Chris Walker, Jon Horford, Alex Murphy & DFS manning the paint. If both C. Walker & Horford get in foul trouble, Florida could be in big trouble with a smaller line-up and may get pushed around against bigger lineups. With Brandon Francis and excluding D.Walker, Florida should have an 11-man roster. With two more versatile SF's (Murphy & Robinson) along with DFS, it will be interesting to see what & how these three will contribute together at UF next season. I could see Murphy & DFS hitting mid-range jumpers around the free-throw line or driving to the rim to finish plays. Robinson able to sink 3-pointers from the wing, be a potential outlet during a fast break and quietly being a stat sheet stuffer having numerous points, rebounds, steals/blocks without always being the focal point of the offense.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    But, what is this author trying to say? That Kentucky will have three centers on the floor at one time? Good luck in all 3 of those guys running back on defense after every play. That Trey Lyles will play SF? Perhaps it should have been better if Towns does because he is supposed to be a good perimeter shooter. If either Lyles or Townes play SF, UK might sacrifice quickness for size on defense. Why mention Marcus Lee when it doesn't look like that there will be much playing time for him with five other inside players to worry about. With only 4 perimeter players available (Harrison twins, 5'9 150 Tyler Ulis, 6'5 185 Devin Booker) for UK, their backcourt looks like a potential weakness for the cats if anyone has foul trouble/injury. Even the SF position could be a weakness if Poythress fails to deliver there; Calipari could be forced to play a 3-guard offense with untested Booker - that would play right into UF's hands in that potential matchup.

    Against UK, Florida may have the edge on the perimeter with its depth & length (Hill, Frazier, Chiozza, Francis; Graham & Carter) while the 'cats easily have the advantage inside. However, there is no way that I am conceeding the 2014-15 SEC title to these wildcats. Last season, Florida did defeat Kentucky an unprecedented three straight times. Many of the UF players that contributed to those wins (Frazier, Hill, DFS; C.Walker with experience in those games) will return while at least 6 UK players return as well. I think UF won all of those games by playing tenacious defense, pressing and the perimeter guys (like Prather, Wilbekin, Hill, DFS, & Frazier) taking it to the wildcats. Florida will miss Patric Young/Yeguete controlling the interior vs Julius Randle/Poythress/Dakari Johnson/WCS while Kentucky will miss the sharp shooting SF James Young the most.

    If you look at the box score of all three games played between UF-UK, it really is interesting that the bulk of UK's scoring was done by UK's wing trio of J.Young, Harrison, & Harrison while many of the UK interior players were shutout. Randle had solid production but UF's own Patric Young outscored him in two of the three matchups. Like I said before, UF's perimeter players took it to the wildcats and outplayed them in two of three games; although, game 3 was very close - PY was the major difference.

    G1 (UF @ UK: 69-59)
    Prather, Wilbekin, Frazier, Hill: 24, 23, 3, 0 ---------- J.Young, Andrew H., Aaron H.: 19, 20, 3
    DFS, P.Young, Yeguette: 8, 10, 1 ------------------------ D.Johnson, Randle, WCS, Poythress: 2, 13, 2, 0
    C. Walker: 0

    G2 (UK @ UF: 65-84)
    Prather, Wilbekin, Frazier, Hill: 15, 13, 9, 8 ---------- J.Young, Andrew H., Aaron H.: 14, 8, 10
    DFS, P.Young, Yeguette: 11, 18, 5 ------------------------ D.Johnson, Randle, WCS, Poythress: 9, 16, 4, 4
    C.Walker: 2

    G3 (UF vs. UK: 61-60)
    Prather, Wilbekin, Frazier, Hill: 11, 11, 14, 2 ---------- J.Young, Andrew H., Aaron H.: 13, 10, 16
    DFS, P.Young, Yeguette: 3, 14, 1 ------------------------ D.Johnson, Randle, WCS, Poythress: 0, 4, 10, 7
    C. Walker: 5 ------------------------------------------------- M.Lee: 0

    So, the real question is which team improved the most, Florida or Kentucky?
    Florida added more wing players (both versatile SF's & guards) to their team while Kentucky added more post players. Do the Gators have enough quality post players to compete? Does UK have enough quality wing players to compete? It remains to be seen which program will come out ahead!
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
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  7. themistocles
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    themistocles Well-Known Member

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    I think, as usual, your analysis is quite accurate rserina.

    As RD noted, losing Devon Walker HURTS, and, I think more than he expects.

    Regarding Robinson, although he is a terrific prospect, to expect him to start, or even to contribute a notable amount, appears pretty optimistic to me (Where Notable means more than 15 minutes per game).

    Regarding Graham and Carter and Francis, at this point, those are Unknowns and I certainly wouldn't count those Chickens until they appear on the court and function effectively.

    Also, the critique is accurate in that you simply can't replace 4 outstanding defensive players, all of whom where STOPPERS, and who, having played together for 4 consecutive years, thereby brought an intuitive cohesiveness that you simply can't develop in 6 months to 1 year. Although as others noted, there are some very likely players on the team, and Billy D has substantially improved his defensive coaching (thanks in a large part to Shayat's influence), and I certainly hope that they perform in a comparable way to the past two years, I think that there almost has to be something of a drop off.

    The big question is whether that can be offset with an offensive improvement, which also appears unlikely, because last year, the Gators were about as efficient offensively as it is possible to be.

    Only time can tell. Hopefully, Walker is the last of the injured for this year, I mean, injuries have had a noticeable detrimental effect over the past two years.
  8. manigordo
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    manigordo Well-Known Member

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    Have to agree that it was a pretty ignorant statement from the author of the article. Every coaches' defense is better when they have elite defenders.....


    That said, as difficult as it will be to reach the communication and rotations of last year's group, important cogs of this year's team knows what it takes to win.
  9. the_alphagator1906
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    I'm sorry but I think we WILL be better offensively because we are more talented on that side of the ball than last year. Billy will mold that talent into what he wants it to look like. Ironically, preseason of last year, the only thing we heard about was how we were going to take a step back because we lost E. Murhpy, Rosario and Boynton. Those players provided a lot of offense that season. However, Billy overcame that with the group that followed with better defense and cohesiveness. Not to mention the players actually got better.

    I don't see why that couldn't happen again this time around. I mean, people like to point out how the four seniors played together for four years. That is true but all of them didn't start for four years. Hell, two of them didn't start until their senior year. With that said, we have more pieces with experience than most teams in the NCAA. I think we will be very good next year because of the experienced players and Billy's coaching.
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  10. GatorRade
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    GatorRade Well-Known Member

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    I actually agree with the article. He never said Donovan wasn't a good defensive coach. He said that he hasn't always been elite. Anyone who argues that he was an elite defensive coach every single season of his career is showing some serious Gator bias. He's basically just saying that Florida's offense has been more consistent throughout the years, which is demonstrably true. Here are the national KenPom ranks through the years:

    Year...O.....D
    2014.....18......2
    2013.....12......4
    2012......3......90
    2011......17....41
    2010.....28.....91
    2009.....20....113
    2008.....17....123
    2007......1......17
    2006......3......6
    2005.....19.....14
    2004.....12.....97
    2003......8......50
    2002.....22.....11

    Average ranks and standard deviations:
    Offense: 14 +/- 8
    Defense: 50 +/- 45

    You can add in all the qualifiers you want to explain why the numbers are what they are, but the objective fact is that under Donovan Florida has been a consistently elite offensive team. Of all the big program teams (Kansas, Michigan, Kentucky, UNC, etc.), only Duke seems to surpass Florida's offensive potency (Average: 10), and even they had a bad year (2007: 51), so their standard deviation is higher (13 points).

    Meanwhile, our defensive past is nothing to brag about. Duke, Wisconsin, Mich St., Syracuse all have much better ratings over that time, rarely even falling to our average.

    Basically, if you know nothing else about a Gator team (i.e. one with few returning major contributors), it makes sense to expect an offense that ranks in the top 20 and a defense that ranks somewhere between 5 and 95.

    Team falls off defensively (as pointed out the in article, last year's D was special), but has some good players and a good offense. The team therefore competes for top 10 ranking. Makes a lot of sense to me.
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  11. rserina
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    rserina VIP Member

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    No, that is not what he is saying. He is inferring that Donovan's defenses are only high quality when they have high quality defensive players.

    What such an analysis doesn't account for is that, while it may have been true earlier in his career, Donovan's adjustments in the last few years have come as an attempt to reduce dependence upon individual defenders and emphasize a team concept. We do far less switching that will force bigs to defend guards, far less squeezing on the perimeter to force handlers into the paint, and give far more help in the lane to protect the paint. All of those were very calculated moves by Donovan precisely because our immediate post title teams had little talent in the paint to protect the rim and little quickness on the perimeter to defend penetration and close out in rotations.

    The changes bore out almost immediately in 2010-11, as your statistics indicated, despite having no collegiate defensive standouts in the lineup (with the possible exception of Boynton). The most notable indicator was the lack of fouls we committed, a direct result form not forcing bigs to defend guards on the perimeter in switches or needing them to be aggressive going after shots in the paint. That uptick receded the following year when we had a young, very inexperienced frontline replacing Macklin, Tyus, and Parsons (and had little depth and size on the front court to boot). With added experienced, depth, and size the last couple of years, we have maximized the new strategy to its greatest effect.

    Have we plateaued defensively? Probably. We don't have the experience, size, and athleticism the 2010 class brought us the last four years. Plus, it is hard to sustain that level of play defensively statistically anyway.

    Is that plateau, as your buddy at RealGM infers, because Donovan has proven he can't be successful defensively without star defenders? No, not since he has changed his entire defensive strategy in recent years to compensate for that. It may have been true prior to 2010-11, but not the way we are doing things now, no matter what a blind Ken Pom report says.
  12. GatorRade
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    GatorRade Well-Known Member

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    I don't disagree with your analysis either, rserina, so I am not sure your divide with "my buddy" is as large as you are making it out to be. I think Donovan's definitely become a better coach in probably all facets over the years, but his offensive prowess is just freakishly high.

    Honestly, I expected our defense to drop last year after the loss of Boynton, but we kept at an elite level. But losing Young and Wilbekin?? That's tough. If we have an adj. defensive efficiency below 0.9 ppp, I'll not only grant that Donovan had become an elite defensive coach, I'll argue that you are underselling him. No matter what a sighted rserina gut opinion devoid of any objective analysis says.
  13. rserina
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    rserina VIP Member

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    How exactly is breaking down what we have done in the last four years strategically "devoid of any objective analysis"? That is where you and the analytics posse have made debate nearly impossible. The only admissible "facts" are advanced stats, not very basic basketball realities that the coaches talk about in their pressers, commentators note in telecasts, and even the most modestly knowledgeable viewers can identify. So I can explain in detail what we have done with our personnel going back the last ten years, but you cite Ken Pom and that is supposed to qualify as "objective data," if only because it doesn't tell you anything at all really other than how we measure up in relation to other teams, not what has actually happened on the basketball court that might be reflected by those stats.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2014
  14. GatorRade
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    GatorRade Well-Known Member

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    Sorry about that objective thing. I was just trying to match your calling my analysis "blind".

    Basically, we have a simple claim, "Florida's defense is dependent upon the quality of its players", and two pieces of data: (1) past statistical performance and (2) how you felt about past performance. In either case, we aren't yet ready to make any strong claims, because we haven't yet seen this next year, right?

    The author of the article is saying that "When Florida didn't have good defensive players in the past, they didn't have great defensive performances, so they should dip after losing Young/Yeguete/Wilbekin". Meanwhile, you are saying, "Our recent changes in philosophy show that we will have a high defensive performance even if we lose Youngetekin".

    Both claims are using past data to make an assumption regarding the future, no? We haven't lost Youngetekin yet, so the author's claim is just an assumption. But we haven't lost Youngetekin yet, so your claim is just an assumption too. This is the first time since your demarcation of 2011 that we are in the position of losing great players from a great defense. I think both views are reasonable predictions, and I even think that they aren't all that different, since the author says Florida will be a top 10 team. Sounds like he doesn't think that the defense will fall all that far.
  15. regurgigator
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    So, the writer thinks Carter is healthy? That would be nice.

    I was a bit surprised he mentioned Robinson as a starter. I don't disagree that may be the case (especially after watching the highlight video of him :eek: :cool: that I believe Bullis posted recently (that thread may have been on Full Court)), but I didn't realize Robinson was enough of a nationally known freshman to be mentioned as a starter on what should be a very good team. Maybe Robinson has more national notoriety than I thought; or this writer at least does some homework whether you agree with him or not.
  16. Osiris_DPM
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    Yeah, the only reason Robinson wasn't a McDonald's All American is because he technically played a 5th year of HS in prep school, which disqualified him (limit is 4). He's a stud.
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  17. ufgator4ever
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    Back to your corners gentlemen
  18. InstiGATOR1
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    Very interesting comments by all. I am in the camp that believes Donovan's teams have been better and more consistently good on offense than on defense. I am also in the camp that believes that what the author was saying.

    Like the author I will not be surprised to see UF take a step back defensively this year. I view Wilbekin as the on court leader of UF's team the last couple of years and he was a defense first player. As others have said, the real possibility of UF improving on defense this year is that UF may have a rim protector in C.Walker. So we can hope for that.

    I do agree that UF could be better offensively this particularly due to playing faster. I do expect UF to be a higher risk offense.
  19. MadduxFanII
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    My big takeaway from this thread is that we should have been calling the Young/Yeguete/Wilbekin core "Youngtekin" from the beginning.
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  20. themistocles
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    themistocles Well-Known Member

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    Very, very interesting points, as usual on this Awesome Board.

    Each year is a new experience for a wide variety of reasons, even in 2006 and 2007. Take, for example, the fact that in 2006, Noah broke Bill Russel's total blocks record, whereas in 2007, due to injury, he was not nearly as effective. Or, the fact that the refs absolutely gave Odun the lane in the 2007 final. Or the fact that playing with both the SEC and National tournament winner in 2006, the Gators finished behind Tennesse in the SEC standings.

    Every team and every team's experiences are different, and, in fact, of course, unique.

    We can obviously expect to see a quality team this year, even if none of Devon Walker, Carter, Graham or Francis are able to play effectively. Having so many new contributors will reduce the overall defensive efficacy, without a doubt, but that may possibly be offset by an offensive improvement, as alpha suggested.

    This complexity is, in fact, what makes basketball such a wonderful sport for me.
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