Duke basketball: NBA Draft streaks in serious jeopardy for Blue Devils

Duke basketball guards Tre Jones and Cassius Stanley (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Duke basketball guards Tre Jones and Cassius Stanley (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Three Duke basketball underclassmen will have a tough time coming anywhere close to all the draft-night highlights of their recent Blue Devil predecessors.

Vernon Carey Jr., Cassius Stanley, and Tre Jones wore No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3, respectively, as Duke basketball players. That, of course, will neither affect nor reflect where they go in the 2020 NBA Draft.

At least one Blue Devil has been among the top three picks in the past six drafts. That, of course, won’t continue this year. Also, in each of the past three years, at least two guys out of Durham have been lottery picks; at the moment, none of the major mock drafts or big boards list Carey Jr., Stanley, or Jones that high.

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Moving on, at least one Dukie has been a first-rounder nine years running; at the moment, several respected sites list Stanley outside the first round, a few do the same for Jones, and most have Carey Jr. landing in the 20-30 range (we’ll get to the average for each of the three in a moment). Naturally, this means that the Duke basketball streak of putting three players in the first round in each of the past three drafts is also in serious jeopardy.

Jones, a sophomore point guard who won ACC Defender of the Year and Player of the Year, and Stanley, a freshman shooting guard who delighted spectators with regular flights on his way to receiving ACC All-Freshman Team honors, have both already announced their decisions to turn pro. The expectation is Carey Jr., a center who took home ACC Rookie of the Year and NABC Freshman of the Year awards, will soon follow suit.

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Meanwhile, needless to say, no one expects Javin DeLaurier, Jack White, and Justin Robinson — Duke’s three graduating senior forwards — to hear their names at all on draft night.

The scheduled date for the 2020 NBA Draft is June 25, but that seems unlikely to stick due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems more likely that the postponed NBA season will resume at some point this summer with the draft then not taking place until August or September.

Unfortunately for Carey Jr., NBA eyes seem to view him as a traditional center, which is a de-emphasized position in recent years as a result of an emerging perimeter-centric game. Unfortunately for Jones, he had no opportunity to boost his stock and popularity via postseason play this past season.  Unfortunately for Stanley, he may have no shot to test the limits of vertical-leap measuring devices via either an NBA Combine or individual workouts.

And all this appears to be taking a gradual toll on the trio’s projected draft positions. So to wrap this up, let’s take a combined look at seven sites that list predictions for both first and second rounds: NBC Sports, ESPN, NBA Draft Room, Tankathon, Rookie Wire, SI, and Draft Site. Here are the average and high/low for each of three Blue Devils:

  • By average, Vernon Carey Jr. looks to go No. 25 overall. His high is No. 18, and his low is No. 28.
  • By average, Tre Jones looks to go No. 31 overall. His high is No. 20, and his low is No. 56.
  • By average, Cassius Stanley looks to go No. 35 overall. His high is No. 29, and his low is No. 52.

Yup, those numbers say a couple of Duke basketball streaks are sure to end — no matter when the 2020 NBA Draft happens — and a couple of others are, at the very least, in peril.

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