Tre Jones has been one of the best players for the Duke basketball team this season, but Mike Krzyzewski has to buy him some minutes of rest on the bench.
There are not many players in the country who are asked to do more for their team than Tre Jones for the Duke Blue Devils.
As the point guard, Jones must orchestrate and run the Duke offense in addition to being the lead on-ball defender for the Blue Devils as one of the best defensive guards in the country.
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Mike Krzyzewski has made it known that he is going to ride his sophomore this season, but Coach K needs to find some time to give Tre Jones a breather every now and then.
In ACC play, Jones has played less than 33 minutes just three times, 24 minutes in a win over Boston College on December 31, 22 minutes in a win over Miami on January 4, and 27 minutes in a win over Wake Forest on January 11.
The Duke point guard has played 40 minutes or more in three ACC games, all coming after January 28, with Jones’ high in minutes coming in the overtime victory over North Carolina in which he played 42 minutes.
Tre Jones and Vernon Carey Jr. are the two best players for the Blue Devils, but the big man seems much fresher than the guard, and that’s due to Mike Krzyzewski managing his minutes much better.
Compared to Jones’ workload, Carey Jr. has only played over 30 minutes three times in ACC play, exactly hitting that mark in Wednesday’s blowout loss against NC State, 35 minutes in a win over Pittsburgh, and 31 minutes in a loss to Clemson.
One of the eye-opening storylines during this season has been the evolution of Jordan Goldwire and his ability to not just be a defensive-minded guard but also to help out on the offensive end, and Coach K needs to use his junior guard to spell some rest for the sophomore.
While Goldwire might not be as advanced as Jones in scoring off the dribble, he is certainly capable of running the Duke offense and being its best perimeter defender if Jones is on the bench.
This doesn’t mean that Tre Jones’ minutes should drop to 25 per game, but Krzyzewski should make it a priority to pull the guard in advance of media timeouts to give his star an extra break, which would prove to be worth it in the late stages of games.
We have reached the point in the season where every possession is critical, and there is so much riding on every shot, but in order to have its most success, Duke cannot be dependent on its point guard to do everything for this team.
Tre Jones and the Duke Blue Devils will look to start another winning streak on Saturday night in Cameron Indoor Stadium against the Virginia Tech Hokies at 8:00pm EST on ESPN2.