Let it be said that I think Roy know what he is doing. I also am not privy to goes on in practice but based on what I am seeing in the games I think Marcus Ginyard should be starting at the two-guard instead of Wayne Ellington. This is not a slight on Ellington, I think he will eventually be one of the great shooting guards in UNC basketball history. However at this point his shot is not falling, his shot selection is suspect and his defense is a liability. Ginyard on the other hand is obviously not the shooter Ellington is but he is the team’s best on-the-ball defender. He is also more experienced albeit only by one year. I am also wondering if perhaps such a lineup change might be the thing to getting Ellington going. If he comes into the game off the bench and steps into the flow of the game it could be a catalyst to getting his jump shot on track and motivating him to play better defense.
There is also precedent for this kind of lineup. In 2005 UNC employed a starting lineup of Raymond Felton, Jawad Williams, Jackie Manuel, Rashad McCants, and Sean May. Manuel was well know as being a defensive specialist with limited offensive skill so the other four players on the court were relied on heavily for their offense while Manuel was basically tasked with guarding the other’s teams best guard/small forward. In this case I also think Ginyard might actually be a better offensive player than Manuel was in 2005. Off the bench UNC brought Melvin Scott, Marvin Williams, and David Noel to augment the starting five which would be a similar trio to Deon Thompson, Wayne Ellington, and Bobby Frasor. In 2005, Williams might have been the most talented player on the team but Roy decided it was best for him to come off the bench and he was extremely effective in that role. From this blogger’s point of view, I think this could work again. I think Ellington would be a better player off the bench since he will be coming in with less pressure and relieving that stress could be the key to unlocking his shooting potential by allowing him to find a rhythmn.
And just quick aside on the issue of lineups, I think the depth UNC has is great and has been extremely effective in many games but I also think UNC could do well to start running certain lineup combination for significant stretches in a game to build some offensive consistency. That is not to say you will not still see all 12 players but I would imagine that shifting most of the minutes to the top eight would help all of the players find a role in the offensive system and develop some consistency.
I think it is a matter of players finding their roles and once that happens everything seems to click. Regardless of whatever lineup takes the floor tonight we can only hope that meshing of talent happens.