Right before the basketball team takes the court in Cameron Indoor Stadium, they gather in “The Defense Room.” Plaques, marble pillars, and bronze trophies settle on the wall marking all of Duke’s former National Defensive Player of the Year awards. The team says their words, give their daps, and prepare their minds for competition. Consider this article a metaphorical defense room.
Myself and three other writers for Ball Durham; BJ Weeks, David Levine, and Raul Clement, are holding a simulation competition pitting former Duke stars against each other.
Each writer has 12 spots to fill on their rosters of former Duke greats from 1978 on (limited by the whatifsports database) We are currently drafting with the draft order set randomly and winds in snake fashion.
This is where the strategy will come in. If I were to ask who the best player in Duke history is, undoubtedly you’d say Christian Laettner. After all, have you seen his trophy cabinet? Yet, if I were to give you the option to pick between these two players, who would you choose?
Player A: 18 ppg, 10 rpg, 4 bpg
Player B: 21 ppg, 8 rpg, 1 bpg
You’d probably take A right? Clearly better defensive force, better rebounder, nearly equal scorer? Player A is Shelden Williams and B is Laettner. That’s how this works. You want the best statistical player you can get and Williams has a little more value than Laettner.
Now, I guess that leads this not to be a discovery of the best players but a look at which player’s had the best statistical seasons of all time.
Not only does that play into strategy but as with all fantasy drafts, position scarcity plays a large role. Take your fantasy football league this year. Tony Romo scored 271 points last season and Ray Rice only had 207 but which one are you taking in the first round this year (or first 12 for that matter)? Running back is obviously shallower than quarterback so the runners have a higher value, supply and demand as it were.
Same holds true for Duke basketball players. You can count on one hand how many starring post players Duke has had since 78: Mason Plumlee, Shelden Williams, Carlos Boozer, Elton Brand, Laettner, and Gminski. Next best is Cherokee Parks? Jay Bilas? Wings, however, are in abundance. So while a guy like Grant Hill was obviously a better player than Mason Plumlee, do you want to be the one team starting Demarcus Nelson at the 5? (Completely hysterical how K did this a few times and got away with it)
As the draft unfolds, follow @Ball_Durham on twitter for updates on the #BallDurhamDraft and we prepare for the unique season leading up to the actual basketball season.