Thursday, April 2, 2009

Are current Heels better than 2005 version?

In a recent column, the Raleigh News & Observer’s Caulton Tudor compared the current North Carolina team to the 2005 Tar Heels, who won the NCAA title with a defeat of Illinois in the final in St. Louis.

Indeed, the teams are similar in many ways as veteran groups led by bruising post players and speedy point guards. Here’s one opinion on which version of the Tar Heels would have the edge, position by position:

Point guard, Ty Lawson (2009) vs. Raymond Felton (2005). It has been generally accepted that both were the fastest point guard in the nation in their day, but their personalities are quite different. Felton was a gritty, determined, no-nonsense leader. Lawson is a happy-go-lucky free spirit who has driven coach Roy Williams crazy on occasion. Although Felton made a huge 3-pointer and some clinching free throws in the championship game, Lawson has taken more of the responsibility for the offense on himself than Lawson did. Edge: Lawson and 2009.

Shooting guard, Wayne Ellington (2009) vs. Rashad McCants (2005). Again, we’re talking two widely divergent personalities. Ellington is mild mannered and almost shy; McCants was the closest thing to Terrell Owens that ACC basketball has ever had. Ellington probably has a sweeter shooting stroke, but McCants’ shot was just as effective. Despite his toxic personality, McCants was physically stronger, a better defender rebounder and defender, and a better overall player. Edge: McCants and 2005.

Small forward, Danny Green (2009) vs. Jackie Manuel (2005). Manuel played the role that Marcus Ginyard would have played for the current team. A superb defensive stopper, Manuel used his long arms and quick feet to frustrate opposing shooters such as Duke’s J.J. Redick. Green isn’t nearly as accomplished defensively, but stuffs the stat sheet with his versatility as a rebounder, shot blocker, scorer and steal artist. Edge: Green and 2009.

Power forward, Deon Thompson (2009) vs. Jawad Williams (2005). Williams had a wider shooting range, as he could score from beyond the 3-point arc and open things up in the middle for center Sean May. Thompson is a bit tougher on the low block but lacks the versatility and isn’t a strong leader the way Williams was. Edge: Williams and 2005.

Center, Tyler Hansbrough (2009) vs. Sean May (2005). Hansbrough, who’s a senior, was national player of the year as a junior. May was the most outstanding player at the Final Four and played his best basketball when the Tar Heels needed him most. Hansbrough plays harder, of that there is no doubt. But May was more skilled and a better rebounder with better hands. He was the player the Tar Heels looked to for big baskets in their title run. The current North Carolina team looks more to Lawson. Edge: May and 2005.

Bench. The 2005 team had freshman forward Marvin Williams, who was about to become the No. 2 selection in the NBA draft, coming off the bench as a reserve in deference to Jawad Williams. The current team also has a freshman power forward on the bench in Ed Davis who’s playing better than starter Deon Thompson. Davis is a future pro, but he’s not as freakishly talented as Marvin Williams. Edge: 2005.

Overall, the 2005 team was slightly more talented and effective. Both teams scored about 18 points per game more than their opponents, but the 2005 team’s field goal percentage (.499 to .483) and defensive field goal percentage (.401 to .413) were a bit better.

None of that means the current team should be dumped as the favorite for the Final Four. But if you had to choose one team over the other, you’d have to choose the 2005 group that had four players chosen with the first 14 picks in the NBA draft. The current team might match the 2005 team as a national champion, but it won’t come close to duplicating those draft results. – Ken Tysiac


JAT said...

"McCants was the closest thing to Terrell Owens that ACC basketball has ever had"

WTF Ken? Taking lessons from the Gregg Doyle school of talk-radio ready hyperbole?

Which teammates did McCants say were gay? Which teammies did McCants have ANY problem with? Sure, Shad butted heads with Roy, complained about the UNC petri dish, and THAT makes him a team-killing TO?

Besides -- Chris Paul groin punched Julius Hodge, got suspended.

John Gilchrist did much more of a TO-like pout and team-kill number on Gary Williams' last good squad.

And Brandon Costner just got done whining and under-performing at State.

Those are three more TO-like examples just in recent years and just off the top of my head.

Yet you come "ever" in ACC history. I give up Ken. You evidently enjoy this junk.

BTW, you gotta mistake in the Lawson-Felton thing.

Anonymous said...

Can we get a break down of what kind of cookies each liked?


Tudor once again proves his bias against Hansbrough. Get over it Hansbrough is the best player to ever come out of the ACC. Just check the record books. Sorry Tudor, no matter how much you wish this team would fail, they will not. CHAMPS AGAIN IN 2009.

Anonymous said...

Excellent commentary/opinion piece and I agree on every point...

Anonymous said...

"Hansbrough is the best player to come out of the ACC"

In what category exactly??? Free throw attempts? Ralph Sampson, David Thompson, Christian Laettner, Phil Ford & co. might have a bone to pick about that. Ha, what a joke.

jrguyiii said...

"Lawson has taken more of the responsibility for the offense on himself than Lawson did. Edge: Lawson and 2009."

Really? Does someone not read over his own article before posting to make sure everything is correct? I'm sure Felton will be insulted when he reads this!

Anonymous said...

Calling McCants "the TO of the ACC" shows how current perception clouds the memory.

TO, the loud-mouth lockerroom cancer, could not be farther from McCants. Never did McCants split the lockerroom into taking sides, never did McCants try to disparage a teammate. McCants can be called many things; quiet, brooding, moody, firey, an enigma, but "the TO of the ACC" is far from the truth and utterly laughable to anyone who followed the conference during his stay at UNC.

With this type of "reporting" and the stats that Chris Duhon is putting up in New York I can't wait for the "Duhon was the John Elway of the ACC" comparisons which I can only imagine are a few weeks away.

Anonymous said...

This is not a commentary, this is a biased opinion aricle of two UNC haters: Ken Tysiac and his buddy Tudor. Both idiots who will be even sicker when the Heels win again in 2009. " Lawson is not as involved with the offense this year as Felton." A terrible quote from Tysiac's big mouth! Felton was a great point guard for UNC, BUT THE "IDIOTS EVIDENTLY DID NOT LOOK AT Ty Lawson's assist turn over ratio, his field goal percentge and 3 point shooting percentage, the fact Ty was ACC Player of the Year and in most of his losses he dealt with an injured foot. How much more d_ _ _ _ involved could a point guard be? Tysiac you are not even a good sports writer and the cardinal sin of a bad sports writer is " keep your yapper shut if you don't know what the - - - - you are talking about!" May won that 2005 championship, not Felton, and Ty is winning this one!

jrguyiii said...

T.O. rips his team to shreds dissapears in the clutch, and has never won anything, while McCants was a go-to scorer who won a national championship. Hmmmm, sounds about even to me!? Are you kidding with that comparison? You should be T'd up for that!!!

Anonymous said...

And if the Charlotte Observer needs a good sports writer to replace Tysiac then write me at : cblusky
po box 1601
Monroe, N.C 28111

Anonymous said...

SEE 10:01 am and 10:07 am comments and my address at the 10:07 comment for a job-cblusky

Anonymous said...

cblusky says "Ken Tysiac you are such a fake." In your comments to others about the final four that was live you suddenly pick the Heels to win it all and admit Lawson carries this team like May carried the 2005 team. You are so double-minded it is pathetic. When someone asks what your final four picks were at the end of regular season- you did not pick even one correct final four participant, but suddenly now you pick UNC! Get off the friggin' bandwagon- you are too late- go back to ClemSuck where you belong!

Anonymous said...

The myth is that May won the 2005 championship by himself. He should be the face of that championship, but 2005 fell apart when Felton left the floor in a way different than ANY player on either of these teams.

Lawson is a more fluid offensive player, but Felton was a better defender and rebounder. And he certainly took over when needed (2nd half against MSU and in the clutch against Illinois). He hit a 3 when Illinois tied it, got a game clinching rebound, steal, and fts in the Illinois game as May ran out of gas around the 7 minute mark (when many folks obviously turned their TVs off).

I would put Ty and Felton as a push based on Felton's defense and intangibles despite Ty being a more fluid offensive player. It's not like Felton was Jimmy Black.

In the Final 4, Felton averaged:

16.5 pts
7 assists
5.5 rebounds
1.5 steals
fg% 48
3 fg% 55
ft% 88

And he outdueled the 1B best pg in the NBA in Deron Williams in the championship game.