Duke Basketball: Will the Blue Devils have enough three point shooting

BLACKSBURG, VA - FEBRUARY 26: Gary Trent, Jr. #2 of the Duke Blue Devils shoots against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the first half at Cassell Coliseum on February 26, 2018 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Lauren Rakes/Getty Images)
BLACKSBURG, VA - FEBRUARY 26: Gary Trent, Jr. #2 of the Duke Blue Devils shoots against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the first half at Cassell Coliseum on February 26, 2018 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Lauren Rakes/Getty Images) /

The three-point shot has always been an important part of the offense Mike Krzyzewski likes to run, and this year will be no different for the Duke Basketball team.

The lowest the Blue Devils have ranked nationally in 3-point shots attempted over the past ten seasons is No. 76 in in the country during the 2012-2013 season.

This years squad will have elite playmakers on it who will be able to drive to the basket and kick out to open shooters but the shooting could be a big concern for Duke this year.

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So, what kind of shooters will Duke have this year?

This year’s squad will once again be led by a group of freshman — Tre Jones, Cam Reddish, R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson.

Reddish is considered to be the best shooter out of that group and he is going to get a ton of open looks from Barrett, Williamson and Jones.

The last time Reddish played with this much talent was on Team U.S.A. at the 2017 U19 FIBA World Cup. In those games, Reddish shot 54 percent (13/24) from three, so expect Reddish to shoot well from beyond the arc in 2018.

Jones, brother of former Duke point guard Tyus Jones, isn’t as good of a shooter as his brother was at this point, but the younger Jones shot 81% from the free throw line his senior season at Apple Valley, so that suggests he will become a good shooter.

Hopefully that happens at Duke. Jones has shown that he is capable of knocking down three’s in the past — making six three’s in the Minnesota State Championship game last season.

R.J. Barrett has always been a streaky three point shooter and that’s probably going to be the case in his only season at Duke.

Barrett shot just 23 percent from three for Team Canada at the 2017 U19 FIBA World Cup and was six of twenty one from three on the Canada Tour this summer.

The Canada native has good form on his shot and will eventually become a good shooter, but unfortunately that’s probably not going to happen during his lone season at Duke.

Duke fans should expect a lot of great things from Barrett this season but his shooting could be a concern. Around 32% is a number that seems realistic for Barrett from deep in 2018.

Zion Williamson shot well from three on the Canada Tour, making three of his first four, but he isn’t known for his three-point shot.

The six-foot-seven-inch, 285 pound monster shot just 20 percent from deep his senior year, according to MaxPreps, and that’s mostly because he didn’t need to settle for jump shots in high school.

If you’re able to get to the rim that easily, why would you ever settle for a jump shot?

I’m expecting a lot of highlight reel dunks and plays from Zion this year but honestly, I have no clue what to expect from him shooting the ball in 2018. If he’s able to eclipse the 30 percent mark from three, that would be huge for this team and we could be in for a special season.

So, those will be the main scorers for Duke this season but what about the role players?

Alex O’Connell had a good year shooting the ball last season and should be one of the better shooters on this year’s team.

O’Connell played in all but one game his freshman year and shot 48% from three on 88 attempts. But, as everyone should know by now, Coach K doesn’t play his bench a whole lot so he played just 10.4 minutes per game.

Hopefully that number increases to about 15-20 MPG, and if it does I wouldn’t expect him to shoot close to 50 percent again with more attempts, but he could be around 40 percent.

O’Connell, like Reddish and others, should get a ton of open looks when Barrett, Williamson and Jones are driving to the basket.

Jack White is another player who should get some minutes in 2018. White shot the ball well on the Canada Tour (3-7 from three) and will get an opportunity to backup Williamson at the power forward position.

White is a perfect stretch four in Coach K’s motion offense and he’s another player that will benefit from the play-making abilities of the freshman.

An intriguing player on this year’s Duke team is freshman forward Joey Baker.

Baker was originally a five-star recruit in the 2019 class but decided to re-classify into the class of ‘18 and enrolled at Duke a year early.

The newest freshman started off slow on the Canada Tour, but impressed with his shooting, shooting 3-6 from three against Toronto and 2-5 in the final game against McGill. If Baker isn’t ready to play this season, he could redshirt to continue to work on his body and game.

Duke will be playing a five out motion offense this year, according to Coach K.

That means that there will be more spacing on the floor and will allow room for Barrett, Williamson, Jones and Reddish to penetrate the middle.

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Because of this Duke will be able to maximize their three point opportunities and hopefully make a good amount of their attempts.