The Duke basketball team is off to a woeful start, and the Devils’ game against Clemson is a prime example of Duke struggling on the defensive side of the ball. They couldn’t stop a team that struggles offensively, and the biggest reason for that is the Blue Devils’ lack of size. They couldn’t stop the Tigers, and they looked small at every position on the court. This wasn’t even one of their biggest problems; lately it’s been that they have relied too much on the three point shot.
The first half of the Clemson game the three point shot was falling, but they ran into trouble when it that stopped in the second half. If they are going to compete with some of these bigger teams they will need to hit the three point shots, or be able to drive to the rim. This will be an issue going forward because of the lack of rebounding, and the lack of defense for this team. They had a few good games right before ACC play, but they are back to playing subpar defense.
In the game against Clemson they made twice as many three pointers, but shot a lower percentage from there. They don’t have a post player who can give them offense, and with Jabari Parker not playing at the same high level he did before ACC play started, this could be a big problem. He was the one player they had who could go inside, and also could be a threat on the perimeter. If he can’t be a factor down low this team will relay why too much on jump shots.
The same thing happened in the Notre Dame game they made twice as many three point shots, but they shot a lower percentage from three. They lost this game because of the problem with no low post players stepping up for the Blue Devils. They didn’t get much offense from their low post players, and they didn’t get anyone who could protect the basket.
This is going to be one of the key stats going forward, because if they keep shooting jumpers this way they are going to have to start making them. This is a key part of their games going forward, but the other thing that they need to focus on is not letting a bad shooting game affect their defense. In the Notre Dame and Clemson games, their defense suffered against two teams that are not known for scoring.
The Blue Devils will have to bounce back if they are going to compete for an ACC title. They don’t have many more games that they are going to be able to give away with Syracuse playing like they are. This team has a long ways to go, and will only get harder going forward. They will need Parker to play better, and since they are so small they will need to make their shots. There are a number of players who can step up, but they are going to need more than one player to play well every game.