Some surprises: Ranking Duke basketball’s 10 key players thru 20 games

Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball forward Joey Baker (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Sophomore. Forward. 8. player. 434. Scouting Report. Joey Baker. Pick Analysis

  • Games played: 19
  • Games started: 2
  • Minutes per game: 13.6
  • Points per game: 6.2
  • Rebounds per game: 0.9
  • Assists per game: 0.8
  • Steals per game: 0.4
  • Blocks per game: 0.3
  • Field goal percentage: 42.9
  • 3-point percentage: 41.4
  • Free throw percentage: 100.0
  • Grade: B- (82)

A handful of sizzling moments from downtown this season, in addition to several passionate displays, have made Duke basketball sophomore wing Joey Baker a favorite among fans. He slaps the floor. He helps coordinate team huddles. He steps in to have his teammate’s back (see: the technical foul in the first half of Duke’s 79-73 home loss to Louisville on Jan. 18).

Baker has put on several scoring shows that have made some fans question why he played only 18 total minutes last season as a freshman.

Two performances that come to mind are his 11 timely points in Duke’s 87-75 win at Michigan State on Dec. 3 and his career-high 22 points — highlighted by a 5-for-7 clip from beyond the arc — in the 86-57 home win over Wofford on Dec. 19.

On the other hand, Baker struggles to create space off the dribble and often either finds himself out of position on defense or picks up an unnecessary foul (averaging 5.7 fouls per 40 minutes). All in all, though, watching the 6-foot-7, 210-pound Fayetteville, N.C., native carve out his role has been a pleasure. He should continue to serve as a key boost off the bench the rest of the way.