By: Justin Girshon
May 8, 2020
A couple of days ago, I had my followers ask me some questions about the 2020-2021 Duke Men’s Basketball Team! Below, I will answer each question with a full analysis on why I feel that way.
How many points will Jordan Goldwire average per game?
Jordan Goldwire will average around 6.0 points per game. From his Sophmore season to his Junior season, Goldwire averaged 3.8 more points per game (0.9 –> 4.7), 15.5 more minutes per game, his field goal percentage increased by 21.4%, his three point percentage increased by 23.4% while taking 2.5 more shots per game. While I do expect Goldwire to get about the same amount of playing time as he had last season (24.1 MPG), he will (most likely) be a Senior captain next season which means he will be relied on more than ever. Because of the leadership Goldwire will bring to the team next season, I believe his points per game will slightly increase from 4.7 to about 6.0
What is your projected starting lineup?
My projected starting five is Jeremy Roach, Wendell Moore Jr, Jalen Johnson, Matthew Hurt, and Patrick Tapé. Although I believe there will be many different starting units throughout the season (similar to 2019-2020), I think this is the best starting 5 in terms of a mesh with experience/skill. The obvious first question many will have is: why are you starting Tapé over Mark Williams? I would start Tapé because he would bring experience to the starting unit. Although I would start Tapé, I would have Williams play starter minutes off the bench with Tapé playing about 10-15 minutes. Another question I could see many people having is: what about D.J. Steward? Similar to how I would give Williams starter minutes, I would give Steward similar minutes. I believe Steward could have a similar impact off the bench that Devin Booker brought Kentucky in the 2014-2015 season. Although I don’t have Mark Williams, D.J. Steward, Jordan Goldwire, or Joey Baker in my starting 5, I fully expect that they will all at least start one game. The only player that I would call a starter lock for every game is Jalen Johnson.
What are your stat predictions for the Freshman?
Jalen Johnson: 16.0 PPG, 3.5 APG, 6.0 RPG, 46% FG, 30% 3PT
Jalen Johnson will be the Blue Devils go to scorer next season. Although he isn’t a great perimeter shooter, Johnson is an excellent slasher and is magnificent finishing through contact. Johnson is also a sneakily good passer. I expect him to play some point forward throughout the season and pick up additional assists by grabbing defensive rebounds and immediately taking the ball coast to coast. Additionally, Johnson has excellent length and is extremely athletic which will help him be a key rebounder for the Blue Devils.
Mark Williams: 7.0 PPG, 0.5 APG, 7.5 RPG, 60% FG, 15% 3PT
Mark Williams is one of two players that is capable of playing center so he’s due to get a lot of playing time. While Williams is extremely talented, he most likely won’t have the type of interior scoring that Vernon Carey Jr brought to Duke last year. Williams will most likely get most of his points on lobs and a few interior touches but I doubt that he’s going to be a first, second, or third option on the court due to the talent of the returning players and that Johnson, Steward, Roach will likely see the ball in their hands more than Williams. Although I don’t expect Williams to have a huge role on offense, I expect him to still rack up about 7 points per game. Williams isn’t much of a playmaker but he should still pick up a few assists here and there. Where Williams should be phenomenal, is on the boards. Williams will be by far the best rebounder on the team next year due to his elite size, strength, and athleticism. Williams should be a force on the glass gaining the Blue Devils additional offensive possessions and keeping the opposing team’s best rebounders off the glass.
D.J. Steward: 12.0 PPG, 3.0 APG, 1.5 RPG, 47% FG, 40% 3PT
DJ Steward will be one of the Blue Devils’ most important offensive players next season. Steward’s unique combination of athleticism, finishing through contact, perimeter shooting and playmaking will be a vital piece of Duke’s success next season. Due to the depth that Duke posses for the 2020-2021 season, I expect Steward to be a reliable shooter from the perimeter and get buckets around the rim. Although Steward is a combo guard, I see him mainly playing shooting guard but still being a capable ball handler/facilitator when on the court. Steward most likely won’t be much of a factor on the boards but due to his athleticism, he might be able to snag a few rebounds every game.
Jeremy Roach: 11.0 PPG, 5.5 APG, 2.0 RPG, 49% FG, 42% 3PT
Jeremy Roach will be the Blue Devils lead guard next year. Roach is a phenomenal three point shooter, has a high offensive IQ, and most importantly is durable. Durability is exactly what the Blue Devils will need next season due to Tre Jones’ departure to the NBA. Last season, Jones averaged the most minutes per game (35.4) and Roach is certainly capable of filling in for Jones. Roach will be one of Duke’s most dangerous three point shooters which will help him drive to the rim as well as dishing to open teammates to pick up assists. As well as being a good three point shooter, Roach is an underrated finisher and is very capable of finishing through contact. Roach will most likely be the primary ball handler and by constantly putting the ball in his hands, he will definitely rack up assists. Because he’s a point guard and isn’t overwhelmingly athletic, I don’t think Roach will be a huge factor on the board but could see him getting a couple of boards per game.
Henry Coleman: 2.0 PPG, 0.5 APG, 2.5 RPG, 55% FG, 15% 3PT
Jaemyn Brakefield: 3.5 PPG, 1.0 APG, 2.0 RPG, 45% FG, 37% 3PT
At the moment, it seems as if Coleman and Brakefield will either be fighting for minutes or sharing a limited amount of time which is why I don’t have them posting any crazy stats. Coleman’s strengths are slashing/rim running, while Brakefield’s main strengths are perimeter shooting/slashing. I feel Coleman will get slightly more playing time because he’s a better rebounder and defender. Duke has many players that are threats from beyond the three point arc which doesn’t help Brakefield’s case because he might just be buried on the depth chart. Once the season starts and we know about how many minutes Coleman and Brakefield are each playing, I will be able to make a better projected stat line for them; but at the moment, I’m just taking an educated guess.
What are your expectations for Duke next year?
My expectations for the 2020-2021 team is at the very least, an Elite 8 appearance. Instead of relying on mainly Freshman the past couple of seasons, Duke has a great mix of returning players and incoming recruits. I’m expecting Matthew Hurt and Wendell Moore Jr to take major strides in their second years; Jordan Goldwire, Joey Baker, and Patrick Tapé to provide great leadership and production; and that the incoming Freshman are going to be successful players. Although it has been fun to watch extraordinary one and done prospects come through Duke, it has been very rare to see Freshman carry a team to a National Championship. Due to the overall talent of the roster and the leadership/experience that the returning players will bring, I fully expect Duke to be one of the best teams in the country and definitely make a run for a National Championship.
Who will be Duke’s x-factor next season?
Next season, Duke’s x-factor will be Matthew Hurt. In his Freshman year, Hurt averaged 9.7 PPG, 0.9 APG, 3.8 RPG on 48.7% FG, and 39.3% 3PT. Although Hurt put up solid numbers, you could argue it was a disappointing season for him and there was no doubt that he was extremely inconsistent. Hurt will be Duke’s x-factor because if he is able to take the next step in his game by becoming confident, taking smart shots, and adding muscle; he will be one of the best players in all of college basketball. As his three point percentage from last year indicates, Hurt is an excellent stretch four who has the ability to create excellent floor spacing which results in better shots for himself and the team. If Hurt is able to improve his game over the offseason and become consistent, it will propel next season’s Duke team from good to great.
Who was the most underrated signee?
The most underrated signee was Jeremy Roach. Although Roach isn’t underrated as a player, what he’s bringing with him to Duke is exactly what the team needs. Roach is a durable, smart, good all around player which is a great addition to any team but an especially great addition to a team that just lost their starting point guard. If you’ve watched a Duke game the past two years, you would know that Tre Jones played virtually the whole game (unless it was a blowout) and Roach is the perfect point guard to fill Jones’ shoes. When talking about Roach, nbadraftnet.com states, “Roach is a true lead guard with advanced play-making skills. He plays with his head up, has great penetration ability and excels at finding his teammates.” From this description and watching his highlights, Roach’s playstyle reminds me of Jones’ playstyle which is exactly what Duke needs in their point guard for the 2020-2021 season.
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Featured image via starnewsonline.com
I am a freshman studying magazine, news and digital journalism at the Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications