The Duke Blue Devils have lost the team’s best two players after Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood both declared for the NBA Draft over the last few days, but that will not take anything away from the 2014-15 team.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski knew all along he would not have the services of Parker and Hood for next year and recruited to make up for it. Duke may have the best incoming class with Jahlil Okafor, Grayson Allen and Tyus Jones leading the way. As crazy as it may sound because none of these players are coming in with the hype of Parker, the Blue Devils will be the most exciting and intriguing group in the ACC.
Duke’s recruiting will fill all the gaps that were clearly gashed wide open during the Blue Devils’ early exit to Mercer in the 2014 NCAA tournament. Okafor will be an absolute force inside and can run the court on the break. Allen is not only a great 3-point shooter, but has the skills to create off the dribble and finish above the rim. Jones will lead the offense with clever ball handling and a nice touch from the outside. These three players cover every area on the court on offense.
The only foreseeable problem with this trio is a deficiency on defense. None of these players is considered elite on that side of the court, but it may not be a huge concern if only a slight improvement occurs. Defense still wins championships as was the case with the UConn Huskies‘ run, but Duke’s offense next season has all the components to make up for a below-average defense.
If Duke can adjust to a completely new team, upgrade its defense a tick and find chemistry on offense, anything will be possible next season.