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Duke within the NBA: Explosive shooting from Tatum, Williamson helps teams to steer conferences


Because the NBA season creeps closer to the vacation season, the Blue Zone takes a have a look at some former Blue Devils who’re making strides at the following level:

Jayson Tatum

At this point, it will mistaken not to incorporate Jayson Tatum in every Duke within the NBA blog. At just 24 years old, Tatum is firmly within the conversation for NBA MVP. Riding a three-game win streak, the Celtics are cruising, and plenty of the team’s 21-5 record has to do with the previous Blue Devil’s play. In those three games, Tatum averaged 28 points, nine rebounds and two assists. Perhaps his most impressive night got here on Monday against Toronto. A 31-point showing, together with all-star guard Jaylen Brown’s 22 points, was enough to beat a frisky Raptors team 116-110. 12 months after 12 months, Tatum’s two-way play elevates, even when it seems not possible to accomplish that. For a Boston team with high expectations of getting back to the NBA Finals, the previous Duke star must proceed to excel. 

Zion Williamson

Coming into the league with all the hype on the planet, the previous No. 1 draft pick has come alive this 12 months, flashing his superstar potential. This week, Williamson has been on a tear—averaging 28 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists in his last three games. Arguably, his best performance was a 30-point, 15-rebound double-double Dec. 2 in a 117-99 win at San Antonio. Nonetheless, Wednesday night against the Detroit Pistons, Williamson put his athleticism on display through multiple highlight-worthy plays, including a spin move, and-one finish on former Blue Devil forward Marvin Bagley. On a Pelicans team seeking to take the jump to title contention, Williamson, alongside former Duke forward Brandon Ingram, will look to step as much as the duty, proceed to enhance his game and reap the benefits of a weaker Western Conference. 

A.J. Griffin

Although he began the season slowly, as most rookies do, former Duke forward A.J. Griffin has come into his own. After having a heavy catch-and-shoot role on last 12 months’s loaded Blue Devil roster, Griffin has expanded his arsenal, and it was on full display this week. In an Atlanta 117-109 win against Denver last Friday, the 19-year-old exploded for twenty-four points on 11-of-16 shooting. Griffin’s minutes are beginning to increase as well, as he averages greater than 31 minutes per game up to now in December in a starting role. Because the Hawks look to push up the ranks in a stacked Eastern Conference, Griffin might want to proceed leveling up because the season progresses. 

Tyus Jones

Although a backup to star point guard Ja Morant, Tyus Jones has had a improbable season in his own right. Averaging 10.1 points, 2.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists, the previous national champion plays a vital role on a Grizzlies team seeking to contend. This week, Jones undoubtedly played his best game of the season in a 101-93 victory against Miami. Jones totaled 28 points, five rebounds and 10 assists in a improbable 36-minute performance. While Jones doesn’t have the star power that many former skilled Blue Devils have, his performances this 12 months have proven that he is ready for an extended NBA profession. 

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