Duke Basketball Player Review: Joey Baker arrives but lacks consistency

Joey Baker has finally emerged for the Duke basketball program, but the sophomore guard lacked consistency in his play throughout the season.

Building off of what was one of the stranger freshman seasons in Duke basketball history, Joey Baker had a lot of expectation and anticipation entering his sophomore campaign.

The Fayetteville, North Carolina native definitely burst on the scene with his tenacious attitude and defense, coupled with 3-point shooting that always gave the Blue Devils a burst of energy.

Baker ended his sophomore season averaging 5.0 points per game on 41.0 percent shooting from the field and 39.4 percent from 3-point territory.

The sophomore also showed a consistent stroke from the free throw line, although in a limited capacity, going 11-of-12 from the charity stripe.

Baker’s best game came in a victory over Wofford, in which he scored 22 points, a season and career high, in a Blue Devils route. However, his most impressive game might have been his 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the victory over Michigan State in East Lansing.

But Baker’s play started to taper off in conference action, as he was almost relegated to a platoon role with Alex O’Connell as one would play one game, and the other would play the next game.

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As O’Connell is set to transfer from Duke, Baker could be in line for a bump in minutes, but a strong recruiting class could leave some doubt in the rising junior’s playing time.

Mike Krzyzewski usually leans on his upperclassmen to be captains each season, and with every 2019-20 captain either graduating or entering the 2020 NBA Draft, Joey Baker could be in line to be named a captain in the preseason for the 2020-21 season.

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Baker could be a vital part of Duke’s success next season as long as he continues to develop and finds that consistency in his game.

GRADE: B-

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