So last night as Duke lost to Kansas I didn’t really know how to feel. I mean do you judge the team as it is for what’s on the floor or do you dwell on what could have been and what could possibly be. I asked myself if I thought Duke would win with Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden in the lineup. I want to say yes but there are some issues that are occurring regardless of whether the so-called “BIG 3” are there or not.
Giles, Tatum & Bolden will help when it comes to rebounding numbers for sure. A healthy Harry Giles and Marques Bolden very well could have helped an out-rebounded Duke team last night. Chase Jeter and Amile Jefferson could only muster 8 between them. Jayson Tatum in this line-up gives Duke another scoring option because as we’ve seen this offense can definitely find itself in a rut where guy are content to pass the ball around the perimeter until the shot clock forces someone into action. Tatum also may have been a better match-up to guard Josh Jackson, his length may have come in handy and he may have presented a match-up in Duke’s favor on the offensive end as well. Kansas realized that Duke had no low-post presence so they made sure to take away the 3 point line. Tatum is mid-range, old school player who can get shots in the seams of a defense. That could have proved valuable against Kansas
The one area where the big 3 will not help is at the point guard spot, it’s been a constant question coming into this season because there really isn’t a guard on this roster who is an instinctual point guard. You could really feel that in the game last night when Duke’s offense not only went cold, it went stagnant. There was a lack of movement, a lack of good communication and no sets really run. Some of that was Kansas realizing that they could play the perimeter tight, but Duke had to have gone into this game knowing that is exactly what Kansas was going to do. Duke had more turnovers than assists and so far this season the ratio has not been great.
Duke got zero fast break points, some of that was the woeful rebounding numbers but some of that, I believe was because this isn’t a lineup conducive to running. Duke is a team full of 2 guards that have to adjust and the quicker they can do that the better off this team will be. Clearly Frank Jackson is the closest thing to a point guard on the roster but he is a freshman and there is a learning curve but games against players of the caliber of Frank Mason will aid in his development.
Duke does have other issues aside from health, but a healthy line-up certainly does help.