Duke is probably going to be pretty good by the end of the season. It just may take the Blue Devils a while to get there.
It’s important to remember that this Duke team, while talented, is going to be very different from the one that won the national title in March – and even that team took a few months to really hit its stride.
Other than Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones, there’s not a single player on the roster who has performed the role he’s being asked to perform this season.
Grayson Allen should be an explosive scorer, but he hasn’t done it at this level yet, not night-in, night-out. Brandon Ingram is supremely talented but still very raw. Derryck Thornton is a freshman point guard, volatile by nature. Marshall Plumlee has spent most of his career on the bench, not in the post.
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All of which indicates whatever the Blue Devils may end up being in February and March will be a long way from what they look like coming out of the gate. It could be a rough few months getting there, as a young and inexperienced team grows up.
Duke may be a top-10 team and ACC title contender by this spring, but this fall it’s a better idea to pump the brakes a bit on the hype surrounding the Blue Devils to start.