Most-Talented Duke Team Countdown: Outside the Top 40
In our second installment in the countdown of most talented Duke teams ever, we look at the teams outside the top 40.
Most of the recent Duke teams find themselves in this group, mainly because they haven’t had much time to build up NBA success (our “most talented” ranking criteria). But they’re rising quickly in the rankings.
The 2018-19 Zion Williamson/RJ Barrett Blue Devils, for instance, are already at No. 52 in the rankings. They’ve played 95 fewer NBA games than the 1996-97 Blue Devils that featured Roshown McLeod and Trajan Langdon, but they have already scored 397 more points than that team. 2019 Duke is just two spots behind 2018 Duke (Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr.). The 2019 team should get a boost when Tre Jones joins the NBA next season as well.
The 2016-17 Blue Devils are a team to watch. In three seasons, they’ve already jumped to No. 41 on the list. Obviously, rising star Jayson Tatum is a big reason behind that early success, but the 2017 team was also deep in NBA talent. That year’s Duke squad has sent seven players to the NBA: Tatum, Harry Giles, Luke Kennard, Grayson Allen, Frank Jackson, Amile Jefferson and Marques Bolden.
Then-freshmen Jack White and Javin DeLaurier and then sophomore Chase Jeter, who transferred to Arizona, all just completed their college careers last month. If any of them make the NBA, it will move 2017 into a tie for most NBA players on a team in Duke history.
We’ll see the other three teams that produced eight NBA players as our countdown continues over the next few days. For now, here’s a look at the teams outside the top 40.