Duke basketball: Four features fueling underappreciated Blue Devils

Duke basketball freshman Cassius Stanley (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Duke basketball freshman Cassius Stanley (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

2. Buffet of healthy options

Leading up to the season, Mike Krzyzewski repeatedly spoke of the 2019-20 Duke basketball team as being one of his deepest to date. Yet based on his past tendencies, folks had a tough time believing the all-time wins leader would maintain a 10-man rotation through March.

Through January and halfway into February, though, Coach K has for the most part been a man of his word in terms of minutes distribution. And at the moment — knock on wood — the top 10 Blue Devils are all injury-free.

Nine of the 10 have started at least one game. Each of the 10 is averaging at least 12 minutes per game. None of the 10 are major liabilities — at least not consistently (even junior guard Alex O’Connell has heated up and made beneficial plays as of late).

Granted, only a few of the 10 are hot NBA commodities. On the other hand, roughly half are capable of displaying flashes of greatness in any given outing; meanwhile, the members of the other half are fully capable of fulfilling their specific duties.

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Sure, rarely do they all fire on all cylinders at the same time on offense. But that’s OK, for now. Besides, the success without them all clicking in unison — third among 353 teams in Division 1 in points per game at 82.6 — has been promising. So just imagine what might happen if all 10 pieces do stay healthy and then do indeed stay planted at their peaks a month from now.

They’d be hunting banners with arguably the nation’s deepest arsenal, not to mention what is already admirable cohesion…