NBA Draft: Picking an NBA All-Star Team of Former Duke Players
Duke is one of the best programs in men's college basketball history. The program's glorious history has been filled with many great stars in college, and some in the NBA.
With the NBA Draft upon us, and because Duke has had so many talented players, the time has come to do a mock NBA Draft for former Duke players.
These players are not necessarily the greatest players in Duke's history, but they would make up an All-Star team.
The Team consists of the five starters (based on positions), and five bench players because normal Duke rosters do not typically exceed this number.
With that, I give you Duke's NBA All-Star team from the history of the program.
Starting Point Guard: Chris Duhon
Unfortunately we have to start this slideshow on a bad note. Duke has not had many point guards successfully transfer their game to the NBA-level. Duke's greatest success has come during the Mike Krzyzewski era, and he is not one to coach kids for the NBA.
Krzyzewski coaches his players to become good people, and good college players. His style of defensive pressure being the key is not widely-used in the NBA, an association that focuses more on offense.
Chris Duhon has been the most successful NBA point guard in Duke's history thus far. Duhon has averaged 7.2 points per game, and 4.8 assists.
The 2008-08 season with the New York Knicks was Duhon's best, averaging 11.1 points and 7.2 assists per game.
On this team, Duhon's role is not as a scorer, it is to create for others. Surrounded by the talent on this team, Duhon need only penetrate and pass to rack up the assists.
Starting Shooting Guard: Jeff Mullins
Jeff Mullins was a guard for the St. Louis Hawks, and the San Francisco/Golden State Warriors for 12 seasons.
Mullins was a three-time All-Star, and his final career line was as follows: 16.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.8 APG. Mullins was the best NBA shooting guard the Blue Devils have to offer, and he could have also played small forward.
Mullins averaged at least 20 points and six rebounds in four straight seasons during his All-Star days, and he was a consistently good player.
On this team, Mullins' role would be to knock down open jumpers, on passes from Chris Duhon, and to play his tight defense.
Starting Small Forward: Grant Hill
Grant Hill is arguably the best NBA player from Duke in history. In his 17 seasons, Hill played for the Detroit Pistons, the Orlando Magic and currently the Phoenix Suns.
Hill is a seven-time All-Star, one-time All-NBA and he was co-Rookie of the Year in the 1994-95 season.
Hill averaged 20 points per game in each of his first six seasons with the Pistons, and he was an All-Star five times during those six seasons.
Hill suffered a few injuries with the Magic after his first six seasons, and he was never the same. Hill's numbers have been decreasing due to both injury and age, but he was a great player for six solid years.
Hill is going to be the star of this Duke team, probably playing about 45 minutes per game, and leading the team in scoring. His role is as the LeBron James of the Duke All-Star team, if you will.
Starting Power Forward: Carlos Boozer
Carlos Boozer is one of two powerful forces inside for this All-Star team. Boozer himself was an All-Star during the years when he and Deron Williams were clicking in Utah.
Boozer has been a 20-plus point man several times, and he won a gold medal in the 2008 Olympic Games with the USA team and a bronze in the 2004 games.
Boozer has averaged almost a double-double for his career, and while he is now taking a backseat behind Derrick Rose in Chicago, he is still a great player.
Boozer's role is to grab rebounds, play his solid defense, and essentially be a huge scoring threat. This Duke team will want to work it in down low, and Boozer will be a big part of that.
Starting Center: Elton Brand
Elton Brand's consistently good play has landed him the starting job for the All-Duke NBA All-Star team. Brand is a two-time All-Star, and he has average about 20 points and 10 rebounds per game for his career.
Brand came into the league, scoring over 20 points and hauling in over 10 boards per game in each of his first two seasons, and he was an immediate success.
Brand's numbers are declining now, at about 15 points per game in a good year, due to age, but he is still a good player.
Brand's role will be to dominate the paint with power forward Carlos Boozer, and the two will be an excellent combination down low.
Bench: Corey Maggette
Corey Maggette will be a back-up forward.guard who will split time with a lot of these bigger starters.
Maggette is probably Duke's most underrated player produced, but he gets recognition here.
Maggette averaged more than 20 points per game three times in his career, and he showed a good level of consistency, but it was all with the Los Angeles Clippers, so no one really noticed nor cared.
Maggette's line in his 11-year career is as follows: 16.4 PPG, 5 RPG, 2.1 APG.
Maggette will consistently come off the bench and make an immediate impact, giving players like Mullins, Hill, and maybe even Duhon some rest.
Bench: Luol Deng
Luol "Do All" Deng played just one season at Duke (like Corey Maggette on the previous slide), but it was a good one.
Deng was drafted 7th overall by the Suns in 2004. He may not have been an All-Star, but he has been consistently good, and that is why he is coming off the bench.
Deng's career line in his first seven seasons is as follows: 16.0 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.2 APG.
Deng has a lot of energy, and he can play just about any position on the floor. He will come off the bench for about 20 minutes per game for this team, and he will be used mostly as a forward when the time is right to run.
Bench: Christian Laettner
Christian Laettner is famous for his game-winning, turn-around jumper with Duke, but he was also pretty good in the NBA. Laettner played from 1992-2005, and his 13 season career had this line: 12.1 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.6 APG.
Laettner started his carrer living up to expectations, averaging around 16 points per game. Then, in the 1996-97 season,Laettner made an All-Star game, his first and last.
Laettner has done very poorly since then, but he was still considered one of the better Duke players in the NBA.
Laettner would come off the bench in clutch moment for this team, including the end of quarters/halves/games.
Bench: Johnny Dawkins
Johnny Dawkins, one of the best college players for Duke and now a head coach, will be coming off the bench for this team.
This team is in dire need of good guards, and Dawkins is one of them, with his career line being: 11.1 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 5.5 APG.
Dawkins' best years were his first, posting around 14 or 15 points per game, and about seven assists per game.
Dawkins is only on the team because Duke has not had a lot of guards be very successful in the NBA.
Bench: Kyrie Irving
It's never too early for speculation.
Kyrie Irving has not played a minute in the NBA yet, but we know that he will be good. This Duke team is in dire need of a second point guard, and Irving can be that player.
Irving is bound to be a lottery pick, and is expected to be the number one overall pick in the Draft. Irving has the skill set to surpass Duhon for the starting job on this squad, but he has to prove that he can first.
Irving was a phenom in college, and he is expected to be just as good in the NBA. Irving is a great point guard who can beat you by scoring himself or by passing.
Irving will probably be good, and will therefore split time with Chris Duhon as the point guard.