Three Duke basketball champs for Joey Baker to study this summer

Duke basketball wing Joey Baker (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Duke basketball wing Joey Baker (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball forward Joey Baker (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

The tapes of three Duke basketball alums could help Joey Baker as a junior.

It’s not the shooting stroke of Joey Baker that requires tweaking. Averaging 5.0 points across 12.1 minutes per game for a 25-6 Duke basketball team last season, the 6-foot-7, 210-pound small forward knocked down 28 of 71 attempts from downtown (39.4 percent) and 11 of 12 from the foul line (91.7 percent).

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Triggering an 86-57 blowout over visiting Wofford in mid-December, the Fayetteville native’s precise trigger accounted for a career-high 22 points, largely a result of his 5-for-7 clip from deep and 5-for-5 perfection from the charity stripe:

So if his shot is a proven weapon, then why did “Joey Buckets” see his playing time wane to the point of single-digit minutes in each of Duke’s last six games, including zero in the season finale at home against North Carolina?

To best answer that question, we’ll need to examine the areas of the rising junior’s game that need the most improvement. And to do that, we’ll look at three past Blue Devils who shared some of his characteristics but rarely rode the pine during their Duke basketball heydays because of various strengths that just so happen to now be among Baker’s primary weaknesses.

All three cut down April nets; two did so together. All three appeared on rosters as small forwards. All three differed in their lengths of stay in Durham. Enough with the hints, though. Let’s get to it…