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A Look Ahead at Duke in 2013-2014: Point Guard

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The first installment of a roundtable discussion breaking down next year's Devils one position at a time. First up: point guard.


McCleod : I think the PG position is Quinn's to lose, but I think Tyler is nipping at his heels more than we might think. K loves a fierce defender, and Tyler is most certainly that, although he's a little foul-prone (though that could just as easily be because he knows he's not "needed" to tun the offense and can take risks in being disruptive on defense). Tyler is serviceable running the offense and, as we've pointed out, has gotten sneaky good at hitting the open 3. That said, if Quinn continues to improve, he could end up being really good on the offensive end. He can usually get by his defender (especially with a ball screen from one of our thousand 6'8" guys for a pick-and-roll next season) and if he gets better at finishing both at the rim and with his floater, he can be a real threat. He tends to take some really bad shots, mostly after he's gotten into trouble and just throws it up, so that needs to improve as well.

Scott : Quinn should improve again this upcoming year, but he has to work on defending dribble penetration. In fact, if he simply maintained everywhere else, but became an above average perimeter defender next year, I'd take that as a huge win. I am more optimistic with Quinn than McLeod is, and don't believe Tyler can steal that job. I could envision both starting sometimes on occasion. But I'd write Quinn in for 30-34 minutes a game right now. This should be a pairing not unlike Wojo and Will Avery in 1998, in my view. You have the annoying defender that can hit the open three, but succumbs to the "Wojo Wall" with respect to any meaningful penetration or creation on offense. Then you have the PG that can score and get to the rim, that may be a little suspect on defense. If Quinn can just approach what Will Avery did for us in his 2 years at Duke, I'll be ecstatic.

Also, don't rule out a little PG play by Sulaimon. We shouldn't need it, but K has compared him to Nolan, only more advanced as a freshman. If Sulaimon can take a leap like Quinn did this year, he could build some of those combo guard skills into his game. We won't need it that much since we have 2 true PGs, but Tyler plays pretty well off the ball on offense, so when Quinn's sitting, it would be a nice change of pace.

Alex : At this point not much to add about Quinn and where he needs to build. At the beginning of the year I didn't feel like he was getting abused defensively, but that may been more a function of Duke's overall team D. Aside from defensive consistency, I would like to see Quinn use his driving ability more and take better shots. I feel pretty confident about our overall bump in athleticism next year. I would expect big uptick in assist numbers (which were already great this season).

Tyler will continue to be a backup, but as the year wore on he proved to more than minor role player. He is going to get minutes as a tone setter, but unless he makes some big leap as a true creator at the PG position, I don't see how he takes Quinn's job. I just never think of Tyler as dangerous with the ball in his hands. Now with Sulaimon and Matt Jones logging guard minutes maybe Tyler doesn't need to be a traditional initiator. But offensive skill set is his off season homework.

I think the other name to consider for PG minutes is actually Matt Jones. He was asked to play point for his HS team this year, and he looked dynamite in that role in an early season televised game against Jabari Parker's team. He has a much better handle than I thought watching him last summer and repeatedly was getting to the rim. I don't expect him to need to log a lot of minutes, but he would be next man up.

Bart : This is a very interesting question to me. K loves Tyler and his toughness, his defense and his leadership (he will be a team captain next year) but Quinn is clearly the guy who is going to get the most minutes, and deservedly so. Given the potential backlog at SG (Rasheed, Jones, and , dare I say, Dawkins) and at SF, I don't see too many moments where TT and Quinn are playing together. I like Scott's Avery/Wojo comparison, but he's got to significantly improve his defense in order to keep his 34 minute per game average from this year. I thought he started the year demonstrably better on that end than he was his freshman year, but finished looking like a guy who had a hard time staying in front of anybody.

I see K using Tyler very much "as needed", deploying him as a targeted, defensively-minded weapon. Some games that will look like 8 minutes and some games it will look like 15-20 depending on the matchup and how Quinn is handling himself (also dependending on how quickly he uses his allotted fouls). I would guess that Tyler actually ends up spelling Rasheed and Quinn about equally.

As already noted, Quinn MUST improve his shot selection in the offseason (you are giving him too much credit McCleod. Some of those shots are just heat checks without any heat to check). I would also say he needs to develop a consistent drive and kick game. He was too content being a distributor from the perimeter and when he DID drive he suffered from tunnel vision. Still, we are talking about a guy in Quinn who, going into the year, will be the second-best best point guard in the conference assuming Larkin stays. 11 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds a game with a A/TO of 2.2 (good for second in the conference) is a pretty darn good Sophomore year to build on.

I don't see the potential for as much crossover between the putative SG's and PG's as you guys do. It would surprise me to see either Jones or Sulaimon log any notable minutes. I think Quinn averages 30-34 minutes and TT picks up 10-15.