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There will be a lot of guys to share the scoring load for the Blue Devils. Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood are potent scorers. So while the entire burden of the offense won’t be on Sulaimon’s shoulders, he’ll be counted on to keep the points piling up.
Last season Sulaimon averaged 11.6 points, but his scoring consistency really picked up toward the end of the season. With the exception of the Louisville game, when he shot 1-of-10, Sulaimon stepped up for Duke when it mattered most.
Against Michigan State Sulaimon had 16 points, which were in large part earned by hitting 12 of his 14 free throws. What Sulaimon demonstrated in that game and others is an ability to drive the lane and draw contact. If the refs don’t make the calls, Sulaimon can still finish at the rim.
The only complaint from Sulaimon’s freshman campaign was that his shot lacked some consistency.
Thanks to the occasional horrid shooting night, like against Louisville, Sulaimon shot 42.4 percent from the field and just 37.1 percent from three. Sulaimon is certainly capable of knocking down long-range shots.
In the first game against Maryland, he was 6-of-8 on three-pointers. The result was that Sulaimon finished with 25 points and Duke won by 20.
That could be a familiar recipe in the upcoming season. If Sulaimon steps up his game from last year by improving on his outside shot and scoring with consistency, then Duke will have a star scorer on its hands.
And there’s reason to believe that Sulaimon is taking that next step. His play during the Under-19 FIBA Championships distinguished him among some of the country’s best young prospects. He started all but one game in the competition and played a crucial role en route to the championship.
Sulaimon has NBA potential and could certainly show off his skills this season. If he becomes a top-notch scorer capable of putting up 20 points per game, then Duke will truly be one of the nation’s premier teams.