Wow! Could Duke be more efficient in this game? Probably not. I had a bit of a twitter tif with a kid who claimed Duke only schedule soft opponents. Real basketball fans know that Bob McKillop and Davidson are far from cupcakes. Duke handled a veteran group in Davidson with out much problem. Duke exploded for 111 points, 59 at the half. There was no one guy for Duke in fact there were several.
Starting with Jabari Parker who was sharp and made it look so easy in his first official game as a Blue Devil. Parker scored in a variety of ways inside, outside mid-range. Coach K can put this guy anywhere on the floor and good things are going to happen. If this kid is going to get better I fear for the competition especially the guy that has to check him. As good as advertised and maybe better. Parker ended the game with 22 points on 8-10 shooting and 3-3 from distance. The only issue I had with Parker was on the defensive end but he is a work in progress and part of what he will be learning from the Duke staff this year in preparation for an NBA career.
Rodney Hood also scored 22 and to honest I cannot really nail down a position for him, he’s a guard in a forwards body, but also is a forward with guard skills. He’s just a player and plays well, his game is under control and measured. He, like Parker, can score all over the place but his game is suited in my opinion mid-range to paint. Hood is also a gifted facilitator and passer and this makes this team completely versatile and dynamic. The only issue I had with Hood’s game was free throw shooting, and it’s hard to say how good Hood will be at the line, he went 2-4, he will need to shoot a high percentage because he will be the benefit of many trips to the line this year.
The two more surprising offensive juggernauts for Duke were Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon. Cook after a less than stellar pre-season turned it up and turned it on scoring 21 points and dishing 8 assists. Cook having that kind of balance bodes well for Duke. It means that in his adjusted role, Cook is comfortable and knows when to put the ball in a teammates hands and when to put it on the floor. Its the diffidence between being a college point guard and a possible professional point guard. Rasheed Sulaimon did not play in Duke’s last exhibition game and many thought that perhaps he was in some sort of Coach appointed dog house. While Sheed didn’t start he did finish and had a helluva game, scoring 20 points and going 6 out of 9 from the field. Sheed also grabbed 7 boards which is also a great sign for Duke who will need guards to rebound to make up a lack of size down low.
Some pluses for Duke is depth, everyone played and for the most part played well, Alex Murphy got some shine and hit a three, pulled down a couple of boards and played some good defense. If Duke can get get consistent play from its bench then this will be an amazing year for the Devils, they will be able to play the hurried pace that Coach K is demanding this year and with no discernible drop off. Another in the plus category was the red hot shooting Duke put on display. Duke would shoot 70.4% from the field in the game which is unheard of unless you are playing NBA Jam. Duke was also efficient with the basketball, only turning it over 4 times in the game and forced Davidson into 10 turnovers.
Where Duke will need to improve and I feel funny saying it after a 111-77 but Duke will need to come together on defense. While they seemed to do a little better at getting into the passing lanes I worry about defending down low and plays at the rim.