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Impact of The Elliot Williams Decision

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J.P. Giglio has a great rundown on what this means for Duke. In short, the Blue Devils are in a world of hurt now. Without Gerald Henderson Duke could at least turn to a triumvirate of Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Elliott Williams to get the job done. Without Williams the perimeter in Durham is woefully thin and the frontcourt still is not going to scare anyone.

ACC Now:

Starters
G Smith
G Scheyer
G/F Singler
F Thomas
F Zoubek

Bench
G/F Kelly
F Miles Plumlee
F Mason Plumlee

Ouch. Still good but where are the guards? Without Williams, both Singler and Kelly will have to play the perimeter, which is fine for 3-point shooting purposes, but what about defense? You might actually see Coach K use a lot of 2-3 zone because there are no traditional perimeter reserves.

The one silver lining is Duke should be able to find enough three point shooting. The problem is guarding quicker offensive players as well as pulling someone like Singler away from the basket where he could be grabbing defensive boards.

However, looking at this roster that may not be Duke's biggest problem. Depth is going to be a major factor. Duke will only have nine scholarship players on the roster out of a possible 13. Only two of those players are listed as guards, Nolan Smith and Jon Scheyer. Giglio is listing Singler and Ryan Kelly has G/F but Singler is 6-8 and Kelly is 6-10 which means at best those two are small forwards. Everyone else is 6-7 or taller and will be playing in the paint. No one can say for sure if Oleg Czyz or either of the Plumlee brothers will be effective enough for quality minutes. The same is also true of Kelly which is to say that Duke could be looking at five quality players and four other guys who are simply not ready to contribute. Needless to say, if you can run on Duke, you should and you can safely bet by mid-February we will likely hear plenty about how tired the Blue Devils are.

What does this mean for UNC? Well it means the Tar Heels are certainly not much worse off on the perimeter. UNC still has a three point shooting question to answer but assuming they can locate at least two guys who can hit 35-40% of their threes, I honestly think it becomes an even match with Duke out there. The frontcourt is not even a contest. Ed Davis and Deon Thompson are going to do what they do best backed up by Tyler Zeller and Wear Squared. UNC will also be plenty deep and while they will not run as much as they did with Ty Lawson, I expect they will still get after it on a regular basis.

In short, if there was a debate of whether UNC or Duke would win the ACC, there is not one now. Krzyzewski is a good enough coach to make chicken salad out of you know what and Duke will still be a tough out. However, the long grind of the season will likely do serious damage to any hopes of an NCAA run.

And if Phil Jackson retires from the Lakers, I imagine the "K leaving for L.A." rumors will be as hot as the surface of the sun within 15 minutes.