This past week the Duke Blue Devils didn’t play a game, but will this help or hurt them going forward? Their next game is not until December 16th. That will be thirteen days apart from their last game. This is a long break for any team, but this could benefit them in the long run.
Duke was just starting to play better. Their last game was against a good Michigan team, and they showed us what kind of team they can be. The layoff from games might hurt them, and set them back a step. It took them awhile to learn how to play together this season. They lost three really good players, and had to replace them with players who didn’t get major minutes for them last season. Their best player is a freshman who hasn’t looked like a freshman. Jabari Parker has been a bright spot this entire season, but it took everyone else a few games to learn how to play with him.
The players being able to play with him after this long break will be a challenge for this Blue Devils team, but the extra time off and practices can also help them. They have thirteen days off between games which will help them get some rest, and also help them want to play again.
The extra practices could help this team immensely; they have started to play better but still are not up to their potential. They are still looking to bring Rasheed Sulaimon back to playing his game. These practices could be the best for Sulaimon, hopefully getting him back to the basics, and finding new ways from him to contribute in the games. It can also make him miss the games, and help him miss the game situations. This will hopefully help him be that third scoring threat the team could really use.
The other bad thing that could come from this is hurting Marshall Plumlee’s and Andre Dawkins confidence. They both played really well against Michigan, and this time off won’t help either of them. They probably wanted to get back to a game situation as soon as possible to show that they have improved, and it wasn’t just that one game.
The break should be a beneficial one for the Blue Devils, and get some of their struggling players some time to regroup and find their game again. It will get them wanting to play, and playing Gardner Webb in their first game back should only help. It should be an easy win, and getting Sulaimon some minutes can only help going forward. The only thing they will have to be worried about is making sure Plumlee can continue to play at a high level.