The Duke Blue Devils will enter the 2012-13 college basketball season as one of the best teams in the ACC. Duke clearly will have some great players on its team, but what are the best- and worst-case scenarios for each player?
For the purposes of this article, we will look at the projected starting five for the Duke Blue Devils. Although the season has not started yet, here are the five players that we will look at for this article.
Point Guard: Quinn Cook
Shooting Guard: Seth Curry
Forward: Alex Murphy
Forward: Ryan Kelly
Center: Mason Plumlee
Read on to see the best- and worst-case scenarios for each player on Duke's starting five.
Quinn Cook takes over as the starting point guard for Duke and never looks back. He becomes one of the elite guards in the ACC by putting up a lot of assists per game and a good amount of points. That is at least what Cook is capable of and really is his best-case scenario. He is not going to lead the Blue Devils in points, but that does not mean he isn't important to the team.
However, if Cook can't get the offense going and doesn't score a whole lot of points, he will easily be replaced. Duke has plenty of depth at the point guard position and Cook must perform if he plans on being the team's field general.
Seth Curry has the potential to be the leading scorer in the ACC. He did average 20.2 points per game as a freshman for Liberty. Curry is a lethal shooter from anywhere on the court. Being the go-to guy and playing at his natural position this year, Curry can really be one of the best players in the country.
However, if Curry can't find his rhythm he will average no more than 13.2 points per game, which is what he averaged last season. Duke has some scorers on the team this year, so while Curry may be the man going into the season, there are plenty of players on the team that can outshine him if necessary.
Alex Murphy is not going to lead Duke in scoring, but he can find himself a starting position for one of the best teams in the country. Murphy has the ability to be a solid scorer for the Blue Devils. He will do most of his work from inside the perimeter and on the defensive side of the ball. Murphy has a chance to be something special at Duke.
Amile Jefferson and Josh Hairston (pictured above) will both be getting plenty of playing time this year. If Murphy can't step up to the plate, he could very easily lose his starting position. Murphy may get the nod to start the season, but he needs to be a contributor for this team. If worse comes to worst, Murphy will see the bench more than he will see playing time.
Ryan Kelly has the chance to be the best three-point shooter in the ACC. Kelly is money from behind the arc. He can also drive to the hoop and knock down shots from the perimeter. If Kelly plays like everyone knows he can, he could come close to leading this team in scoring. Keep in mind that Kelly did average 11.8 points per game last season.
If Kelly can't produce much on the inside, he will be nothing more than a three-point shooter. Sure, he is decent on the defensive side of the ball, but Duke needs Kelly to be more than a three-point assassin if they plan on going far this year. Regardless, Kelly should be a starter all season long.
Mason Plumlee returned for his senior year to be a serious threat for Duke. Plumlee will be a monster on the boards all season long, since he did average 9.2 rebounds per game last season. He is very capable of averaging a double-double and being the best big man in the ACC.
However, if Plumlee is not a huge scoring threat this season, he will be nothing more than a rebounder and defensive player. Although that is not necessarily a bad thing, Plumlee can seriously increase his draft stock with a great outing in his senior year.
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