Duke will have an embarrassment of riches next season with players such as rising junior Grayson Allen and potential one-and-done freshmen Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles and Marques Bolden. Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones will add a veteran presence, too.
There’s just one position, really, where the Blue Devils aren’t loaded: point guard. Incoming freshman Frank Jackson is technically the best suited for that role, but even he is a score-first type of point guard.
So, like last year, don’t expect Duke to have one “true” point guard. At least not in the traditional Bobby Hurley, Jason Williams, Kyrie Irving and Tyus Jones way.
“The Chris Pauls, there aren’t as many,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said recently. “He’s the old-fashioned point guard, the leader. Now you have a lot of lead guards that score and could run a team, but they may not be the guy that runs the team.”
Listen to Krzyzewski and assistant coach Jon Scheyer talk, and a working blueprint for how Duke will handle the point guard position emerges.
Krzyzewski pointed to Duke’s 2010 national championship team, which Scheyer played on, as an example of a team that lacked a true point guard. Scheyer, who had always been a shooting guard, took on more of a point guard role that year out of necessity. He had Nolan Smith to help him, too.
“I wasn’t necessarily a point guard where I brought it down and set it up every time, but I know what Coach wants,” Scheyer said. “You have to have some connection to Coach on the floor. That’s something I think Grayson can do a great job of this year.”
Krzyzewski is also counting on Jefferson to fill the on-court leadership role that, traditionally, a point guard would handle.
“A huge role for Amile is being a court leader,” Krzyzewski said. “Amile and Matt, and Amile especially has that ability.”
It’s hard to say exactly how Duke will deploy its offensive arsenal, and the answer will likely come as the team practices together over the summer and fall. Just don’t expect Jackson to be anointed the point guard and automatically given that starting spot just like Derryck Thornton wasn’t last year.
“I wouldn’t say we necessarily have a John Stockton on our team,” Scheyer said. “We have guys that are really versatile. I’ll use Grayson and Frank as examples. They can be playing the point, but they’re basketball players. They can bring the ball up, and they hit, and now they have a point guard guarding them. So, how can we use that to the best advantage for us? Can we be a really unselfish team and move the ball?
“Someone needs to be in control of our team. The fact that we have older guys, Grayson, Amile and Matt, they should help really get us organized on the offensive end.”