Duke Basketball: Brotherhood set to seize rule over NBA from UK by 2020

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Duke Basketball
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Brotherhood experiencing a youth movement

Barring injury, current Duke basketball freshmen Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett — projected by most to be the top two picks in the 2019 NBA Draft — will be great straight out the gate as rookies next season.

It would be no surprise if each averages more than 20 points right away. Anyone who doesn’t believe that is possible needs to go back and review tape of the Blue Devils’ first 12 games.

Fellow freshman Cam Reddish’s smooth stroke, 7-foot-1 wingspan, and silky moves point to his promising professional future. And freshman point guard Tre Jones — although Duke basketball fans yearn to see him stay in Durham another year — is likely to find himself as part of a regular rotation for a lucky NBA squad next season.

ALSO READ: NBA’s 2019 resolutions don’t include ignoring Tre Jones

As for Duke’s 25 former players who have appeared in at least one NBA game thus far this season, only four are over the age of 30 (J.J. Redick, Luol Deng, Miles Plumlee, and Lance Thomas). And the oldest of the bunch, Redick, seems to have taken a sip of some sort of reverse-aging juice.

ALSO READ: J.J. Redick setting NBA record for aging like whiskey

As for the guys in their 20s, almost all of their stocks are on the rise.

The Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving, 26, is about to reach his prime. His 20-year-old teammate, Jayson Tatum, appears primed to be an MVP candidate in the near future.

ALSO READ: Brotherhood goes for 80 in one Christmas Day clash

Then there’s 22-year-old Justise Winslow. After three ho-hum injury-riddled seasons, the former national champ has shined as of late in his new role as the starting point guard of the Miami Heat.

Speaking of point guards, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Tyus Jones, 22, is making a strong case for more minutes by leading the league — by a longshot — in the following three ratios: assist-to-turnover, steal-to-turnover, and steal-to-foul.

ALSO READ: Tyus Jones puts rest of NBA to shame in key metrics

Meanwhile, out in Los Angeles, 21-year-old Brandon Ingram is averaging 16.0 points while learning from the best: LeBron James.

Also out in the Golden State, Quinn Cook, 25, is a beloved member of the Warriors whose scoring average almost reached 10 last season and sits at 7.6 this season.

If this was an article about former UNC players in the NBA, it would be finished by now. But it’s not. And there are so many more former Duke basketball players in the NBA — click “NEXT” below — that won’t fit on this slide…