The Potential Impact of LG Gill

The Dukes have but one major lineup transition heading into the 2015-16 season as LG Gill will  replace Dominique McKoy at the power forward position. Neither player is or was a perfect fit for the role the way Ovie Soko was the year before last and both have the look of positional tweeners. McKoy wasn't quite a four but wasn't quite a five either while Gill is somewhere between a three and four.

Having watched Ferry's offensive system in action the last few years, I think a player leaning small forward could be a slightly better fit overall. McKoy struggled to adjust from his more preferred center position for the first two-thirds of the season and found his minutes dramatically cut early. Outside of summer league warmups, he lacked three point range to force opponents to defend him 20 feet from the basket.

Gill has experience backing up the position and could make for a smoother transition. The extra 4 - 5 feet on his jump shot could result in a more open offense. He'd give the Dukes three reliable three point shooters and four players with mid range jump shots off the dribble in the starting lineup. His perimeter shooting should force opponents to spread out on defense and create space inside for cutters and post players. Darius Lewis and Jordan Robinson willl see more one on one matchups giving them more time to find decent shots. Ty'sean Powell could be deadly, but ideally, he'll be transitioning to the four in a key reserve role. 

Gill also gives the Dukes more options off the screen and in sets where the four is in the high post. Pick and pops for three join the pick and roll as off the ball movement from the double high screen. When McKoy stayed high, it was more of a dummy run to put it in soccer terms. They'll have to respect Gill. Shooting also becomes an option for plays run with the four starting the action at the top of the key. If the defender is playing off him, he could elect to turn and hoist one rather than execute the play. With the defender tight in the same set, the Dukes could force more switches on the hand off. The Dukes won't need to reinvent the wheel to plug Gill in, but what they do run could be more efficient.

McKoy and Gill are a virtual push defensively. Both came a long way by the end of the season to the point where opponents were going after Jeremiah Jones' wing in the 2-3. Gill looked comfortable and showed the ability to read when to help and when to close on a potential shooter after looking lost early. The biggest difference between the two is in the defensive rebounding department. Gill is still not as strong, physical or explosive on the glass as McKoy. In the end, rebounding could derail the Dukes chances of taking steps unless a couple guys really improve.

For the first time under Ferry, the Dukes have a veteran squad where they can tweak the offense rather than try to reinvent it. There won't be any point guard experiments, position changes, or philosophy shifts. As a result, I hope to see the Dukes ready to play in November with their slightly modified offense featuring LG Gill at the four.