Luke Winn on Opening Night


I enjoy reading Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn. He’s a good writer and seems pretty unbiased in his opinions, which is why I hate to read in his opening night observations that he’s taking Ohio State to roll the Tar Heels in MSG next Thursday. He has some heavy praise for OSU’s 6’7” guard Evan Turner; we’ll see how he fares getting inside against our bigs next week.

can't see the basket for the trees

Three of Winn’s other points focused on the Tar Heels’ apparant weaknesses. He cites the lack of a consistent outside threat and the obvious problem with turnovers. The three point shooting was definitely suspect last night, but Marcus and LD both impressed with improved shots. Hopefully Will Graves can live up to his reputation as a dangerous distance shooter. Of LD’s performance as the floor leader, Winn had this to say:

“While Larry Drew II didn’t put up a triple-double in his debut as North Carolina’s point guard, he acquitted himself quite well with seven points and six assists against just two turnovers. I don’t think many Carolina fans knew what to expect — they just knew their sophomore starter wasn’t going be as good as Ty Lawson (an impossibility), and they hoped Drew wouldn’t be the second coming of Quentin Thomas. Drew showed the Lawson-eque ability to push the ball at a high speed while staying under control on the primary and secondary break, and appeared quicker than I remember him being in brief stints as a reserve last season. He seems to understand that his primary duty is to feed Thompson and Ed Davis, and not force shots; as long as Drew keeps doing that, he’ll be a serviceable point.”

I agree that LD put in a solid performance last night, looking faster than I remember him being. Though I hate to see the words “acquitted” and “serviceable,” and the evocation of the rhymin’ Quentin Thomas may seem like a low blow, Winn’s summation simply reflects the harsh expectations for LD having to bear the torch passed by the incomparable Ty Lawson. He did have some nifty dishes inside, and will only get better running the break. While Dexter Strickland struggled with 5 turnovers, Justin Watts put in some quality supporting minutes at the point and had one satisfying dunk. The backcourt story will continue to be the most intriguing moving forward in the next few weeks.