The supreme Duke basketball lineup as Jalen Johnson returns

Duke basketball (Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball’s No. 1 option at the three-spot: DJ Steward

Similar to Jeremy Roach, Duke basketball freshman combo guard DJ Steward has displayed an ability to score in a variety of ways — namely floaters, off-the-glass finishes, and 3-pointers — but while also frequently making mistakes.

The miscues are understandable, though. After all, like Roach, Steward is only seven games into his college career. And as a result of the pandemic, to go along with the injuries to both Jalen Johnson (foot) and Patrick Tape (back), the team as a whole has seen poor conditions for developing chemistry and optimizing synchronization.

Unlike Roach, Steward has demonstrated an ability to drop more than 20 points in a game — twice. Altogether, despite his ice-cold outings against Michigan State and Bellarmine, having the former five-star Chicago recruit in the No. 1 lineup gives these Blue Devils a potentially lethal scoring option on the wing.

Steward is averaging 14.0 points, second only to Matthew Hurt. Also, minus his two worst performances, he’s 12-for-31 from deep (38.7 percent).

Of course, a 6-foot-2, 165-pound frame isn’t exactly ideal to have at the three-spot. On the other hand, a three-guard lineup has been effective for Duke in crunch time as of late. Meanwhile, Steward’s natural nose for the ball, resulting in his forward-like 5.3 rebounds per game, allows the Blue Devils to get away with going small and creating havoc for opponents on the perimeter…