Duke basketball needs to make changes for more dynamic offense

Duke basketball head coach Jon Scheyer (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Jon Scheyer (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball team needs a new look on offense. 

We are only a month into the college basketball season and the Duke basketball team has already lost three games, which is a rarity for the Blue Devils.

While there have been a few questions about their recent struggles, and with plenty of blame to go around, the Blue Devils are stuck looking for answers.

Kyle Filipowski, the pre-season All-American, is averaging 18.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game while being the key focus on the opponents’ scouting report.

On Saturday against Georgia Tech, he had one of his lowest scoring outputs with 12 points on just nine field goal attempts, three of which were from beyond the arc.

This is entirely unacceptable for a player of his caliber. He’s getting the touches, so what’s the problem?

Duke’s ball screen offense has a significant flaw in it. Players are coming off the ball screens, and handoffs must be more aggressive. They are looking to pass on every possession, making them predictable and easy to guard.

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The offense is usually initiated with a pass to Filipowski, who goes into a dribble handoff or a pitch followed by a screen where he rolls or pops out. The offense also needs ball and player movement; players not involved in the action are doing a lot of spectating and need more of the other things that make an offense successful.

The spacing and lack of shooting from power forward or center paired with Filipowski, whether it’s Mark Mitchell or Ryan Young, has led to the defenses packing the lane and negating a lot of areas that Duke has an advantage in.

The counter to this has been inserting TJ Power into the lineup, where he’s seen some success in a small sample size. He played a season-high 16 minutes versus Georgia Tech on Saturday, going 1–2 from the 3-point stripe.

There will need to be an acceleration of Power’s development if teams plan on defending Duke like this.

Duke basketball needs other players to step up

As the primary ball-handler, Tyrese Proctor is averaging 8.3 field goal attempts per game and that number needs to increase.

Granted, he’s a pass-first point guard, but he must also find ways to get into the lane and create opportunities for himself and others. Too often in basketball, aggression is confused with scoring the ball. Aggressive play is just presenting yourself as a scoring threat to the defense, allowing other parts of the offense to open up.

Freshman Jared McCain must also get his offensive game rolling; he came to Duke with a big-time reputation for shooting the ball and making high-IQ plays. The bottom line is that he has to play better, which I believe he will.

Jeremy Roach and Caleb Foster have been the most significant threats for Duke off the bounce and getting to the rim. They are scoring the ball in clutch moments; Duke needs more of this type of play.

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Too often, Duke is stuck in late-clock situations where the talent takes over; they seem to need help to get a clean look on the offensive end. The spacing hasn’t been the best, which is mind-boggling, considering the amount of shooting they have on this team. Kyle Filipowski needs more room to operate, which has proven difficult because Duke’s perimeter players need more consistency from the arc.

Filipowski’s strength is his skill. He spends much time on the perimeter setting screens and passing this season. He needs to find other ways to be a threat. Some of this also falls on Filipowski; he can do a better job of getting a deeper post position and holding that position, pinning his man under the rim. Similar to what North Carolina’s Armando Bacot and Purdue’s Zach Edey do.

He’s shooting 27-percent from the 3-point line and 53-percent from the field. Filipowski is doing what he can; the other adjustments must come schematically from the coaching staff to ensure team success. He’s still trying to regain his explosion after off-season surgery on both hips.

We can expect some changes in the Duke basketball offense, as Jon Scheyer hinted in his post-game presser.

While Scheyer tries to find the right combination, we wait patiently for the team to get it together.

Duke needs continued aggressive play from Tyrese Proctor. dark. Next