Carey is crazy productive on the block.
Duke basketball will look very different this year, as it saw Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish selected as lottery picks in the 2019 NBA Draft. But this is nothing new.

The Blue Devils have become accustomed to working around their high turnover rate to field competitive teams every year, as they always recruit elite blue chip talent.
Nevertheless, every college team has problems to solve before it can contend for a national championship, and Duke has plenty of its own.

Here are three questions the Blue Devils need to answer in 2019 20
Where do they get their shooting?
It s no secret Duke was horrendous from beyond the arc last season. It shot just 30.8 from range, which is the worst mark in the school s history. At least since the NCAA introduced the stat in 1987.

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On the bright side, the Blue Devils had one of college basketball s most efficient players in Zion Williamson, who made 68 of his attempts from the field. Vernon Carey is an elite prospect, but it s unlikely he can replicate Williamson s 22.6 points per game while shooting at such a high clip. If he could, that would certainly help floor spacing.

Duke s most notable returner is Tre Jones, who shot 26.2 from deep in 2018 19. He is one the nation s best on ball defenders, but teams clearly keyed in on his inability to knock down shots from the outside.

The Blue Devils added two uber athletic wings in freshmen Cassius Stanley and Wendell Moore, but neither is known for shooting prowess. However their other top flight first year recruit Matthew Hurt is heralded as an elite shooter at 6 8. Junior guard Alex O Connell can also give Duke hope though.

Players often improve over the offseason, but this seems like a glaring weakness right now.

Who should pair with Jones in the backcourt?
There are really three possible answers to this question. The options are Stanley, Moore and O Connell.

Stanley is probably lowest on the totem pole at this point. He s mostly labeled as a ridiculously explosive wing with a high ceiling. He could blow by expectations like Williamson did, but that would be very surprising. It really might come down to him developing a reliable midrange jumper at the least, or maybe improving as an aggressive slasher.

Moore is long at 6 6 and is a huge plus on defense with his 6 11 wingspan. He s also been known to initiate offenses as a ball handler. Alongside Jones, the two could form one of the better defensive backcourts in basketball. But again, lack of shooting will be huge for this team.

Then there s O Connell, a career 41.6 career shooter from deep who can defend multiple positions and score from all three levels. He wasn t a highly touted recruit like the other choices and might not have as high of a ceiling, but he s played meaningful basketball with a great team and has experience partnering with Jones.

It ll be interesting to see what the final decision is here.

What s the focal point of the offense?
Last year s team capitalized on Barrett s 6 7 frame and utilized him as a playmaker and aggressive driver. When that didn t work Sean Obi Jersey, they could throw it in to Williamson and play bully ball. Will either of those work this time around?

The latter might be a possibility, if 6 10, 275 pound Carey is crazy productive on the block. But he d have to be historically good to live up to the production from 2018 19.

Jones isn t aggressive often and certainly isn t much of a risk taker. His strength lies in that he makes use of his basketball IQ to make the most sensible play often by finding shooters in ideal matchups.

Duke s most versatile offensive threat seems to me Hurt, if his skillset and confidence transfers, so it s not outlandish to think he could be the top scorer on the team.
But how do the Blue Devils want to get their guys in the right spot?

Getting out and running in transition is a given with the Blue Devils personnel, and coach Mike Krzyzewski is the perfect guy to figure out how the pieces fit together.

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