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Duke’s Grayson Allen and Luke Kennard are annoyingly good

Duke's Luke Kennard (5) passes as Grand Canyon's Keonta Vernon (24) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Duke’s Luke Kennard (5) passes as Grand Canyon’s Keonta Vernon (24) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Like many of the students who go there, Duke is wealthy.

The Blue Devils have six–count ’em, six– potential NBA draft picks according to NBADraft.net, and the top rated among them (Harry Giles) hasn’t even suited up yet. If you’re a Duke hater, this year sucks.

This team is emo Drake deep, with five players averaging 15-plus points per game and 6-9 senior Amile Jefferson averaging a double-double (15.1 ppg, 10.5 rpg).

But most troubling for Duke haters is the fact that 6-6 sophomore Luke Kennard has all of a sudden emerged as the team’s top offensive threat. He’s the Devils’ leading scorer at 20 ppg, and he’s shooting 52% from the field and 40% from three, numbers that are especially frustrating for teams trying to stop Jefferson or Jayson Tatum (15 ppg, 7 rpg) from going off inside.

Kennard has the look of an NBA player, with his sweet-shooting stroke, requisite length, and somewhat sneaky athleticism. He’s not a great catch-and-shoot guy at this point, but utilizes his dribble well, is quick enough to fake and keep defenders off balance, and has good court vision.

He was downright opportunistic in Duke’s 84-74 triumph over Florida at Madison Square Garden last week, racking up 29 points on 11-of-16 shooting.

As you can see in the video above, you can’t afford to lose Kennard on defense, because the dude makes you pay. And that’s exactly what he did against the Gators.

He was even more of a weapon against Kansas, initiating his own offense and making plays off the dribble:

He’s going to have to get better with catching and shooting, but if Kennard can get that down, he’s got a shot to be a Kyle Korver-type player in the NBA. At 6-6, he’s got the length, and although he’s not great defensively, has enough athleticism to get by.

Duke guard Grayson Allen shoots against UNLV during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Grayson Allen is annoyingly athletic. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Grayson Allen, like a lot of Duke stars, doesn’t look like he should be good at basketball. (Instead, he looks like Mike Krzyzewski’s entitled son). But there he is, throwing down dunks like this against UNLV, going for 34 points on 12-of-16 shooting (including 6-of-9 from three), and pissing everybody off with his Bruce Bowen, Draymond Green-like approach to defense.

Allen is deceptively tall at 6-5, and clearly has the athleticism to survive in the league. He’s projected as a late first-round pick, although he’s going to have to shoot the ball better than he has so far this season (40% FG, 36.5% from 3).

These two are a Duke hater’s worst nightmare–extremely effective guards who aren’t even the best players on this team.

And just wait until stud freshman Harry Giles suits up.

The rich get richer, and man, is it annoying.

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  1. Pingback: Who’s leading the race for college basketball’s National Player of the Year? | SportzEdge

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