17 Former Blue Devils Ready For NBA Season

Duke will have 17 players scatted amongst the various NBA rosters when the season begins next month.

Former players include:

Austin Rivers, Jabari Parker, Josh McRoberts,Rodney Hood, JJ Redick, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Shavlik Randolph, Miles Plumlee, Kyle Singler, Gerald Henderson, Mike Dunleavy, Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry,and Kyrie Irving.

Not pictured, Elton Brand and Ryan Kelly.


NUMBERS IN THE NBA

The Blue Devils' NBA alumni base lost Shane Battier to retirement after the Miami Heat were summarily dismissed from the NBA Finals by San Antonio. However, the Blue Devils added three players back to the league roster with the signing of Shavlik Randolph by the Phoenix Suns and the drafting of Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood by the Bucks and Jazz respectively. Recently the Magic signed Curry.

The number of former Blue Devils currently playing in the league stands at 17.

Irving, Boozer, McRoberts, Deng, Miles Plumlee, and Parker are all expected to start for their respective clubs in 2014-2015.


NOTABLE MOVES

- Elton Brand was signed last week by the Hawks after the former Duke National Player of the Year averaged 5.7 points and 4.9 rebounds last season, when he started 15 of his 73 games.

- Parker was drafted second overall by Milwaukee while Hood was picked 23rd overall by Utah.

- McRoberts played in Charlotte last year, but when LeBron James moved back to Cleveland, the Heat offered the former Duke big man a multiyear deal. During the 2014 NBA Playoffs, McRoberts averaged 11.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists while shooting 45.5 percent from the field, 47.1 percent from three-point range and 80 percent from the foul line.

- Similarly, the Heat also lured Luol Deng from free agency. What's interesting about Deng is he was the No. 2 overall prospect in the class of 2003 behind James, who was the unanimous top player. Deng will now replace James at the small forward spot in the Miami starting lineup.

- Boozer's moved from Chicago to Los Angeles courtesy of the amnesty provision which allowed the Bulls to waive the 6-foot-9 center and not have his salary count towards the cap. Under the new rules, once a player is waived, there is a formal process involving a blind bid by interested teams, with the player being awarded to the team with the highest bid. The Lakers put in a claim for the 6-foot-9 forward, which ultimately turned out to be the highest, and thus they landed the two-time All-Star.

- Seth Curry signed a deal with Orlando that brings him into training camp after he averaged 19.7 points, 5.8 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game last year for Golden State's D-League affiliate, making him one of the top prospects in the NBADL.


WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS SEASON

- Rivers' tenure in New Orleans could be over before the end of the year. Multiple reports had the Pelicans openly shopping the former Blue Devil after the backcourt continued to be crowded with elite guards. For his part, Rivers is focused on making it work with the team that drafted him, but if not he's also spent the summer making himself more attractive for other teams:

''I was constantly working the entire summer,'' Rivers told the Times-Picayunne. ''I gained 10 pounds and I've got stronger in my upper body. This is my year.

''But I think at the end of the day, I think we all now understand we can only control what we can control. At the end of the day, we let all of the guys in the front office do their jobs. We just stick to what we do. We play.''

- Much has been made of the new "Big Three" in Cleveland with Kyrie Irving joining up with LeBron James and Kevin Love. It gives the Cavaliers three All-Star level players at the point guard, small forward, and power forward positions and rivals what won two titles and make four Finals appearances in Miami. How will the Cavaliers gel? And how will Irving adjust? How about the other stars? Well, James is pretty confident in his new teammate.

"I'll probably handle the ball a little bit, but this is Kyrie [Irving]'s show," James said Saturday after the team's first practice of training camp. "He's our point guard. He's our floor general, and we need him to put us in position to succeed offensively. He has to demand that and command that from us with him handling the ball."

- Can the Plumlee brothers continue to raise their stock in the league? Miles Plumlee was a starter in Phoenix last season and Mason Plumlee made some contributions to the Nets before spending the summer surprising many and making Team USA's senior team (originally going to camp as a member of the select team). For Mason, there's a bigger window on this year's Brooklyn team as the Nets deal with age and injury.

Plumlee, as ever, seems up for it, as he told Mitch Abramson of the Daily News Saturday after practice.

"There’s a big role to be filled," Plumlee told Abramson "With Kevin and Brook from night to night- you don’t know how many minutes they’re going to play. So I’m ready for 40 minutes. I’m ready for four minutes. Whatever they need I’m going to give the best while I’m out there."

- How good will Jabari Parker be as a rookie? Most analysts are projecting him as the runaway winner of the Rookie of the Year award citing top overall pick Andrew Wiggins' need of time to mature. It seems like Parker will end up at the power forward spot, which is where he's more comfortable.

"As of right now I'm more comfortable with the 4 position," he told interviewer Nancy Lieberman. "That's where I played previously, before getting drafted, at Duke. I played a lot of 4. Even in high school. I know this is a different level.

"But in coach's style of play, it's more a stretch 4. That's where I like to play my game, even though I like to post up a little. Just being on the perimeter, setting screens and popping, that's what we've been doing so far. That's what coach Kidd has been anticipating me playing that role."



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