Players…they come and then they go. Starting lineups feature new stars. The roles players play are always in flux. Welcome to the world of college basketball.
It’s time to look at the 2013-14 Duke Blue Devils and see who starts, who sits and who will barely sniff the court. Below you will find a variety of categories from “Projected Starting Lineup” down to “Limited Role.” These categories are not a prediction of production (points, rebounds, assists, etc.), but rather the minutes each will be expected to play.
GONE: Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly all graduated.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP:
G- Quinn Cook (JR), 6-1/175
G- Rasheed Sulaimon (SO), 6-4/185
F- Rodney Hood (SO), 6-8/210
F- Jabari Parker (FR), 6-8/220
F – Amile Jefferson (SO), 6-8/195 (Editor's Note: I think its more likely to be Hairston)
Coach Kzyzewski has always been known for adjusting his offense based on the talent he has on his roster. He’s not one to try to force square pegs into circle holes. Next year’s squad is going to have a completely different look from the previous year. Not only will the starting lineup feature three new faces, it will feature three completely different styles.
In reality, Duke’s starting lineup consist of one point guard and four wings. The top four; Cook, Sulaimon, Hook and Parker are arguable one of the best foursomes in the nation. Each are athletic, capable of creating their own shot and each is capable of stepping back and nailing threes. Parker will be the focal point. The freshman is a treat to watch with the ball in his hands, but on any given night, Parker, Hood and Sulaimon could each be the team’s leading scorer. Cook of course is no slouch either. With three other players capable of handling the rock, look for Cook to enjoy more freedom to play off the ball and find good looks from deep.
Inside is where you’ll find the only hole in Duke’s starting roster. Jefferson has a nice feel for the game, but is completely undersized for the 5-spot. Even if he owns the gym this off-season, he’s still going to be one the lightest big men trolling the paint. Don’t be surprised if Josh Hairston begins the season as the starter, I just think Jefferson can do more than Hairston, thus will eventually be the starter. Jefferson runs the floor well, takes pleasure in rebounding and knows how to slip into holes for easy shots. Overall, he’ll fit the more fast-paced Blue Devils.
G – Tyler Thornton (SR), 6-1/190
F – Josh Hairston (SR), 6-7/240
G – Andre Dawkins (SR), 6-4/200
You know what Duke fans are thinking, we’re so deep, we’d put her butt to sleep. Yes, but unless you haven’t been paying attention, Coach K likes his rotation tight and I just don’t see him changing.
Both Thornton and Hairston are locked in for plenty of minutes. You can’t beat having senior leadership coming off the bench. Thornton is a glue guy, capable of draining an open three. Hairston’s game is extremely limited, but he’s a high energy guy who will give up his body for high screens and defensive charges. The key for both is, they need to limit the fouling. Each produces too many fouls for the amount of time they spend on the court.
Dawkins is sort of a mystery. Prior to taking a year off, he was putting in about 22 minutes per game. However, he was a streaky shooter, who couldn’t drive to the basket and struggled to defend. Still, he’s a senior and the coaching staff will find him 20+ minutes backing up both the 2/3 spots. If he struggles though (remember he wasn’t with the team at all during his break), his roll could be very limited.
G – Matt Jones (FR), 6-4/180
F – Marshall Plumlee (SO), 6-11/235
If healthy, I felt like Plumlee would be a starter, but his development continues to be hampered by injuries and now surgery. He has a bright future if he can stay healthy, but unless he suddenly develops a back to the basket game, he’s not going to be able to keep up in this year’s Blue Devils attack. Jones reminds me a lot of Sulaimon. The difference is, when Rasheed came in last year, the Blue Devils were thin at the two-guard spot, thus he got the opportunity to start. This year, the Blue Devils are stacked at the guard spot, so Jones will be battling Dawkins for the right to hit some jumpers off the bench.
F – Alex Murphy (SO), 6-8/220
F – Semi Ojeleye (FR), 6-6/220
While not ready to be a starter, on most other teams, Alex Murphy would be a significant contributor. He’s a great athlete with good energy and he’s not afraid to take the outside shot. Another off-season in the gym, I could see Murphy making great strides. However, his game is not built to handle the center spot, so at best he’s backing up both Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood, two guys I see playing 35+ minutes per game. Even when those two get a breather (and trust me, it will never be at the same time), I would look for Duke to go smaller with Dawkins/Jones, or shift Sulaimon over and start both Cook/Thornton.
Ojeleye comes in as a scoring demon, but the competition in the state of Kansas is not worth bragging about. He’s always been a four-year guy, the kind of guy who could be a star by his junior year. For now, he’ll get some playing time early against the cupcakes, but by ACC play, I suspect Ojeleye will be nothing but a cheerleader.
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