Duke basketball: Areas Kyle Filipowski must improve entering sophomore year

Duke basketball forward Kyle Filipowski and head coach Jon Scheyer (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Duke basketball forward Kyle Filipowski and head coach Jon Scheyer (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Duke basketball star Kyle Filipowski has areas to improve his game entering next season. 

Kyle Filipowski entered his freshman year on the Duke basketball team with somewhat modest expectations for a consensus 5-star recruit and Top-10 player in the class.

There were legitimate questions about how Filipowski’s strength, size, and skillset  would translate to the physicality of the ACC, but the eventual leading scorer for the Blue Devils shunned many of these doubts, winning ACC Freshman of the Year and nearly averaging a double-double.

Kyle Filipowski, along with Jeremy Roach, Tyrese Proctor, and Mark Mitchell, opted to forego the NBA this offseason and returned to Duke for another season in hope of winning a National Championship under the leadership of head coach Jon Scheyer.

However, as the 7-foot forward likely hopes to become a lottery pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, he must demonstrate growth in the following areas of his game to appeal to NBA scouts like his 3-point shooting, turnovers, strength, and finishing.

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Filipowski left high school with the reputation of being a reliable stretch big man.

While the shot looks smooth and the form looks sound, ‘Flip’ shot only 28-percent from behind the arc this season.

The percentage needs to improve, and there is good reason to believe that it will after Tre Jones, Matthew Hurt, Wendell Moore, and others proved to be good examples of highly-touted freshmen that improved their shooting in their sophomore seasons.

Since Kyle Filipowski is expected to play more time at center this upcoming season, he should get better looks from 3-point range with the improved spacing of the half court offense.

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Taking care of the basketball was a problem for Kyle Filipowski for vast majority of the season.

While Filipowski is mobile and has good ball-handling skills for his size, he averaged 2.5 turnovers per game and many times these turnovers would result from spin moves and behind-the-back dribbles in traffic leading to fastbreak points at the other end.

It is very important that Filipowski makes better decisions in the paint this year, and limiting charges will be crucial to stay out of foul trouble. With the speed and physicality of the game under his belt,  it is reasonable to expect the reigning ACC Freshman of the Year to clean this up entering his sophomore year in Durham.

Kyle Filipowski also played better perimeter defense than many people expected coming into his freshman season.

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However, his ability to stay in front of guards will be even more pivotal this year without Dereck Lively II behind him to clean up mistakes.

Filipowski will be targeted in the pick-and-roll much more this upcoming season, and if he demonstrates that he is capable of keeping up with the quicker guards in the country, his lack of rim protection will be mitigated.

Make no mistake, Kyle Filipowski was very productive on the interior, however, he shot only 54-percent on shots at the rim, according to Synergy Sports.

This number has to improve if Filipowski is to become one of the best players in the country.

It is also unclear to what extent Kyle Filipowski has been able to train so far this summer due undergoing double hip surgery in April, but hopefully Filipowski is able to work on his explosiveness heading into next season.

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