Jones, Stanley, and Carey to the NBA

Duke sent three more players to the NBA on Wednesday night in a draft where abnormal would be an understatement. The 2020 NBA Draft was about 5 months later than previously scheduled due to the hiatus from March to July and was held virtually, with players sitting in their homes as they waited to hear commissioner Adam Silver call their names. While it wasn’t the same, the draft is so special because it’s a literal dream come true for all of the guys selected. The virtual draft was different, but did not lack in emotion and whole-hearted joy. Congratulations to all of the NBA’s brand new rookies. The Blue Devil picks were as follows: Vernon Carey went 32nd to the Charlotte Hornets, Tre Jones 41st to the San Antonio Spurs, and Cassius Stanley 53rd to the Indiana Pacers.

Going into the draft was as strange as the draft itself mostly because none of us really had a clue what would play out. Especially compared to last year, the draft projections were further off. Outside of the top three (who went Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, LaMelo Ball), whose order was highly debated, the rest of the draft was a wild card. Teams didn’t have the same access to player metrics, like a formal combine or easily scheduled workouts, as typically.

All of the Duke picks went in the second round. While there’s an expectation of Duke sending several players in the first round, these guys are absolute steals. It’s completely insane to me that the ACC Player of the Year and defensive Player of the Year in Tre Jones went second round, as well as the ACC Freshman of the Year. The NBA values the “ceiling” for these players a lot; execs look at how high the players can go. That’s pretty obvious in this draft. But it’s important to remember that the “floor” is how high they’re already at, and is also vital to NBA success. We know that Vernon and Tre are big-time players and they’ll show that in the next level. Every rookie is a rookie in the NBA and can make their way to the top. Draymond Green of the Warriors went second round. Quinn Cook, Duke’s 2015 championship team leader, went undrafted altogether and just earned his second NBA ring. Tre Jones, Vernon Carey, and Cassius Stanley have limitless potential and have already shown what incredible players and guys they are.

Tre Jones to the Spurs might just be the steal of the draft. At 41st, he’s headed to San Antonio to play under Gregg Popovich. Popovich is arguably the NBA’s Coach K, and similarly to Coach K he values hardworking players who go hard at the gritty details. Tre is a defensive monster (Cole Anthony would know and he was picked just outside of the lottery) and is rock solid in the clutch (Cole Anthony, and the rest of UNC, would know this one too). As a sophomore he was captain and the hands-down leader of the team last year. He knows how to accentuate the talents of NBA stars. As a point guard and a leader, he was the team operator behind the likes of, oh, I don’t know, Zion Williamson? He set up the fantastic plays of guys like Zion, Cam Reddish, RJ Barrett, Cassius Stanley, and Vernon Carey. He’s experienced and can go even higher from here. Also to note, he’ll join his brother Tyus in the NBA.

Vernon Carey is next up. He was one of the first second-round picks and won’t travel far from Durham. He’s the Hornets’ newest addition. He’ll play with #2 pick, LaMelo Ball (yes, the Ball family is coming to North Carolina). The Hornets are considered one of the biggest winners of this draft and Vernon is part of that. He has a monster frame and is versatile and quick around the rim on either end of the floor. He could see some improvement in FG%, at 57.7%, but that’s still pretty consistent. He can stretch the floor; his 3-point shooting improved over his short college career. The NBA is shifting away from bigger players, but that 3-point shooting will be a huge asset. This is a talented, underrated player.

Finally, we have Cassius Stanley to the Pacers at 54th. If Tre and Vernon are the guys with a high floor, Cassius is the guy whose ceiling is in outer space. As a recruit in high school his athleticism was unparalleled. He’s come even further since then, as his highlight reel from Duke would indicate. He was not the most consistent college player, but that doesn’t discount his potential and he still posted a good 13 points per game average. Cassius could really go places.

These guys will get their first go in the NBA starting around Christmas, at least tentatively. They won’t have the more typical lengthy offseason but they will be as resilient as any class of newcomers we’ve ever seen.

We’ll continue to follow our NBA Blue Devils (Seth Curry is a 76er and Luke Kennard is a Clipper now, by the way) but the new season of college basketball starts in less than one week and we’re beyond thrilled.

Bleed blue.

How in the World?

Think about this: Zion Williamson from last season (Heisman Trophy winner alongside every other award possible in college basketball for his position, eventual No. 1 NBA draft pick, social media rockstar, dunking sensation but way, way, way more than a dunker) in prime physical condition.

Hold up– Zion wasn’t in prime physical condition last year?

Well, obviously, Zion was in incredible shape. Like, he was jumping from the free throw line before the season had even started. However, it appears that even that isn’t prime physical condition for him; this picture is getting a lot of attention:

Good gracious. Many were quick to jump on the “not in good enough shape” bandwagon after his post-college, pre-draft break, but that’s out of the question. I’m pretty sure he’s doing alright and it looks like his knee, which he injured minorly in his first summer league appearance, is healed up pretty well (see below).

We can’t wait for Zion to start tearing up the league. The Pelicans open in Toronto to play the reigning champion Raptors, sans Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. Bleed blue.

Marques Bolden to Remain in NBA Draft; Javin DeLaurier to Return

After a few weeks of consideration, Marques Bolden has announced that he will remain in the NBA Draft, while his fellow rising senior, Javin DeLaurier, will return to Duke for his senior season. Best of luck to Marques Bolden in his future endeavors in the pros, and we’re happy to see Javin’s return. More to come later.

Bleed blue. I promise that I’ll post more often starting in June; exams stink.

Zion Williamson Declares for 2019 NBA Draft

Zion Williamson has officially declared for the 2019 NBA Draft, as he announced via Instagram on Monday. His declaration is the final of the three expected to come from Duke, and like his teammates Zion is likely to be signing with an agent, being the face of basketball and all. Unless the general manager of the NBA Draft lottery winner is suddenly without a brain, Zion will go #1 in the draft, no question about it.

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πŸ”΅Thank you DukeπŸ”΅#thebrotherhood

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Same to you, Zion.

All we can say is that while this wasn’t unexpected, thank you, Zion. Thank you for making this season as unforgettable as it was. Thank you for making fans across America jump and yell with electrifying dunks. Thank you for being the spark for your team like no other player on earth. Thank you for fighting, fighting, fighting every second for this team. But thank you most of all for being yourself: for loving the game, for grinning and laughing and being so happy all the time to make the game so much fun for everyone. Zion Williamson is every reason why we love the game of basketball.

Bleed blue. Look for updates as Matthew Hurt, one of the final recruits on the list for Coach K and Duke this year, makes his decision on Friday. All signs have pointed to his interest in going to Duke, especially after fellow Minnesota native Tre Jones announced his plans to return to Durham. Additionally, Hurt’s father canceled visits from two of the four head coaches that he’s considering playing for, which certainly isn’t a good sign for those programs (neither of which are Duke; the two were John Calipari of Kentucky and Bill Self of Kansas).

RJ Barrett First to Declare for NBA

RJ Barrett, the widely projected high lottery pick in the NBA Draft, has announced that he will leave Duke for the next level. The “Maple Mamba” will sign with an agent, making him ineligible were he to want to come back to school. Krazies’ Korner would like to thank RJ, alongside the rest of the Duke fanbase, for his incredible efforts this season and for what he did to help make this such an amazing season.

Bleed blue.

Kevin Pelton: Carter may be “best big in Las Vegas”

ESPN Staff Writer Kevin Pelton has some cool statistical evidence in this article on how Wendell Carter, Jr, may just be the best big man in the draft. With 5 players in the top 7 being 6’10” or taller (surprising in the “small ball” era of the NBA), a few interesting stats have emerged from summer league play:

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As you can see, Carter leads in points per game, is a close second in field goal percentage, leads players other than #1 pick DeAndre Ayton in rebounds per game, has the only assist-turnover ratio over 1, and the most blocks per game. Carter also comes second in total 3-pointers (unfortunately for him, he’s not very close to Jackson of the Grizzlies). Marvin Bagley’s limited sample size must also be taken into consideration, as he was shut down for a hip bruise a few days ago. But what we’ve seen of Wendell in the past few days just adds to his promise come the start of the NBA season. While I’m no professional NBA analyst, I think the Bulls have a star in the making.

Summer League: Roundup

Sorry for the delay! Our Duke alumni were active this week in the NBA Summer League. Take a look below.

Marvin Bagley III

NBA: Summer League-Phoenix Suns at Sacramento Kings

Marvin Bagley, III, has had a statistical roller coaster of a summer league. He played well in his debut at the California Classic, posting 18 points and 6 assists while avoiding any personal fouls against the Lakers. He slowed a little bit in his second game against the Warriors, with 7 points and 6 rebounds. However, that slow came to a screeching halt against Miami the next day, as he struggled to get around Miami’s defense and managed just 1 point and 3 rebounds. Luckily, Marvin bounced back against Phoenix and his fellow top-2 pick, DeAndre Ayton. However, Marvin will get no statistics in the next few games. While he says it’s simply a “tweak”, the Kings have him slated for an MRI on his hip and groin. I doubt he comes back for much, but limited exposure isn’t a terrible thing.

Harry Giles

Harry Giles had a terrific Vegas debut for the Kings. He scored a team-high 17 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals, and an epic swat. It’s been years in the making, anyway, after 2 knee surgeries and a whole year sitting out. He’s doing great thus far!

Wendell Carter

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Wendell also impressed in his debut in Vegas, saying he’s focused on becoming a defensive force. He left early against the Lakers for what appeared to be leg cramps, but he’s been on a roll.

Trevon Duval

Duval went undrafted last month, but that didn’t stop him from making his name known in H-Town. He debuted for 20 points and 3 assists. Not bad, Tre, not bad! There’s potential for a smart two-way contract. He’s got loads of potential for the future.

Gary Trent, Jr.

Gary, Jr. has had a good couple days in Las Vegas with the Blazers, not to mention signing to a guaranteed 3-year rookie contract in Portland. It looks as though the Blazers’ front office has a lot of faith in the late second-rounder, as the contract is pretty high and rare for a guy who went that late. Not a bad guy to put your faith in!

Grayson Allen

Grayson has been incredible, through thick and thin and Utah is really happy to have him. He has formed a terrific camaraderie with his teammate and star Donovan Mitchell, despite the outside scuffles that have occurred. He got involved with Trae Young, but let’s be honest with ourselves: it’s summer league. Double technicals were issued and it carried on as before. There was no huge fight, but as Harry Giles said, everybody else needed something to talk about. After that, Grayson’s been targeted, and as a rookie, guys are trying to get him to react. He’s got to keep his emotions in check, but he can be a sort of Marcus Smart (but smarter, because he’s not going to punch a mirror) guy for the Jazz, who are on the rise.


Marvin Bagley Cashes In

Marvin Bagley, III, is officially a very, very rich young man. At just 19, he has officially signed a four-year contract with the Sacramento Kings. Combined with endorsements from Puma, he should be set for life with smart money management. Bagley is also headed to play for the Kings’ summer league team, alongside the likes of Frank Mason, De’Aaron Fox, and fellow Blue Devil Harry Giles. Bleed blue, Duke fans.

Trevon Duval Signs with Houston’s Summer League Team

As the only undrafted Duke entree in Thursday night’s NBA Draft, Trevon Duval will attempt to make a roster during undrafted free agency this summer, starting with the Houston Rockets Summer League Team. Duval has plenty to show off, including great size and potential, but will need to work hard after an inconsistent season at Duke. The talent is there: he can make great passes, he’s an elite athlete with room to grow, his shooting could use work but he’s great in the lane; with some hard work, he could gain a permanent spot in the league!

LIVE UPDATES: Duke in the NBA Draft

Marvin Bagley, III, Wendell Carter, Jr, Gary Trent, Jr, Grayson Allen, and Trevon Duval are all ready. Who will pick these talents up? Who will be reunited with teammates? Updates are here. The NBA Draft is live on ESPN.

UPDATE: Marvin Bagley, III, is selected #2 by the Sacramento Kings

Marvin Bagley, III, is going to wear purple and silver next year as a Sacramento King. Marvin is explosive and an elite rebounder whom has an infinite motor and will be a huge asset to any team.

UPDATE: Wendell Carter, Jr, is selected #7 by the Chicago Bulls

Wendell Carter, Jr, is going to be missed in the Bull City, but he is going to be the hardest worker in the Bulls’ organization, no question. Planning to get his degree, Carter’s IQ and basketball IQ are both through the roof, and he is very ready for the NBA.

All further updates happened at 6am on Friday due to timing issues.

UPDATE: Grayson Allen is selected #21 by the Utah Jazz.Β 

Grayson Allen got an early welcome from Donovan Mitchell, the Utah Jazz star who was selected #13 last year and blew up as one of the best rookies in the league. I said Wendell Carter, Jr, was a hard worker. The Jazz may just have one of the hardest workers in the draft, as well, and Donovan Mitchell, who played against Grayson throughout his career, appears to be very happy.

UPDATE: Gary Trent, Jr, selected #37 by the Sacramento Kings, traded to Portland

This is a bookend for Gary Trent, Jr, whose father was also traded to the Blazers on draft night. Despite not playing with his Duke teammate, Marvin Bagley, III, (see above), he will get to play with some of the elite guards in the game, including CJ McCollum and Dame Lillard.

Trevon Duval was not drafted in the 2018 NBA Draft but has all summer league and the future to sign with a team.