NBA Draft Preview: Duke Blue Devils


Now that the NBA Finals have been completed and the Golden State Warriors have won it all, the focus in the basketball world shifts to the NBA Draft. The draft will take place on Thursday June 25, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York and there will be four former Duke Blue Devils eligible for the draft.

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We will look at where the former Blue Devils are projected to go in the latest mock drafts, and what kind of fit they would be with those teams.

Jahlil Okafor: Okafor came into his freshman season at Duke as the favorite to be the number one overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, and while he had a great season at Duke he has seemingly been passed up by Karl Anthony-Towns. Many people still consider Okafor a potential future All-Star, but there are thoughts that Towns has greater potential in the long term. The Minnesota Timberwolves are trying to rebuild and have the longview in mind, which is why they are likely to take Towns. This means that Okafor is likely to fall to number two where there is no guarantee the Los Angeles Lakers draft him, but it is the likeliest scenario. Okafor is considered the most NBA ready prospect in the draft and would be able to combine with Kobe Bryant and Julius Randle to possibly make the Lakers a playoff contender immediately. If Okafor were to fall from the top spot, and end up with the Lakers it would actually be a huge win for him as Los Angeles is a much better situation for him in terms of locale and basketball. The majority of mock drafts out there have Okafor going number two to the Lakers, and I tend to agree. Seeing Okafor in the purple and gold is an exciting thought.

Justise Winslow: Winslow is a player who saw his stock rise in a big way during his freshman season at Duke. He came into college as a big time prospect but he was viewed as more of a raw player, rather than someone that was NBA ready. During Duke’s run to the National Championship Winslow was Duke’s jack-of-all-trades doing everything to help the team win. Winslow is likely to come in and be a defensive stopper immediately in the NBA, but he also has the potential to be a dominant two way player. The mock drafts are all over the place with Winslow, as they have him going anywhere from number four to the Knicks, to number nine to the Hornets. Early on in the draft process it seemed as though New York would be the destination for Winslow but with the rise of Kristaps Porzingis, this mock draft has the Knicks passing on Winslow and instead letting him fall to the Magic. If Winslow were to go number five to the Magic he would join a team that already has a few young studs including Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, and Victor Oladipo. Orlando seems like it would be a nice fit for Winslow.

Tyus Jones: Before the NCAA Tournament it was more likely than not that Tyus Jones would come back for his sophomore season at Duke. But after his tremendous performance throughout the entire tournament, and most notably at the Final Four, Jones decided wisely to enter the draft as his stock would have never gotten higher. Jones is still not projected to be taken in the first half of the first round but that could be a good thing for him. The best case scenario for Jones would involve him getting drafted by a team with an established point guard so that he can be the backup for a couple of years and learn the position from a veteran. Bleacher Report projects Jones to go 18th to the Houston Rockets which would be a solid fit. The Rockets made it to the Western Conference Finals this year and although their point guard, Patrick Beverley, isn’t an All-Star he is a defensive ace and he is solid. If Jones were to go to the Rockets he would probably provide scoring punch for the second unit, and would add another ball handler to a team that revolves so heavily around James Harden.

Quinn Cook: Cook will definitely always stay in the memory of all Duke fans as he is one of the most likable players to ever wear the jersey and he will certainly be missed in future years in Durham. As far as his NBA Draft status Cook is on the fringe of whether he will get drafted or not. The majority of mock drafts don’t have Cook being taken with any of the 60 picks, but there are some that do. In this CBS Sports mock draft one of three guys has Cook being taken 57 overall by the Denver Nuggets while the other two have him going undrafted. Either way Cook will likely get a shot with a team in training camp and he will have to earn his way onto a roster. At this point it seems more likely that Cook will not get drafted, but it still is a possibility. Duke fans know what you get with Cook, a hardworking player who is a great teammate and can shoot the lights out. We will see in a week or so whether the majority of these mock drafts were right or if someone takes a chance on Cook in the second round.