Duke basketball: 3 most concerning stats thru 3 games

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Concerning Duke basketball stat: 3-point percentage

The Duke basketball program has been second-tier or even bottom-tier in the nation when it comes to outside shooting in the three campaigns leading up to this one, never knocking down better than 35.2 percent of 3-point attempts for a season during that span.

Of those three years, the 2019-20 team did the best at limiting attempts (19.9 per game) in light of unfavorable clips from three. Nevertheless, what has been lacking in Durham every year as of late is the presence of multiple bonafide sharpshooters. Instead, aside from one or two guys, most of the Duke Blue Devils these days hover around mediocrity — at best  — from 3-point land.

Although the sample size remains somewhat tiny at this early juncture in 2021-22, it’s not a great sign that these Blue Devils are shooting a subpar 29.7 percent from downtown while attempting a relatively high 21.3 per game. Also, keep in mind that the team will face far more challenging 3-point defenses in a few weeks and then across ACC play.

Neither of the two players who sit above 38 percent — Joey Baker at 5-for-11 and Bates Jones at 1-for-1 — are starters. And neither has proven able to create open looks off the dribble, at least not routinely.

As for the team’s top two 3-point attempters, Trevor Keels and Wendell Moore are the only Blue Devils who regularly heave contested long-range shots and are shooting under 30 percent from deep at 4-for-15 and 4-for-14, respectively. Meanwhile, freshmen Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin, Duke basketball’s highest-ranked newcomers, are a combined 2-for-11 beyond the arc.

Yes, give it time. But without eventually developing a loaded, trustworthy 3-point arsenal, there’s little chance that the Blue Devils can contend for a national title when also factoring in these next two concerning early stats.