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Best Duke Blue Devils Currently Playing in the NBA

The Duke University Blue Devils basketball program is one of the most successful in NCAA basketball.

The program has won a total of 5 NCAA Championships and has played in a total of 11 title games while making a total of 16 Final Four appearances. A total of 11 players from Duke have been named as the College Player of the Year and has produced 36 different All-American team members.

Because of its success, the school is one of the NBA’s top player factories. A total of 71 players who suited up for the Blue Devils have been drafted in the NBA. Last summer, a total of three players from Duke were selected in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft. Ey led a total of 24 players who played in the NBA during the 2019-20 season.

Here are the best Duke players who played in the NBA during the 2019-20 season:

1. Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving helped Duke advance to the Sweet Sixteen in 2011 where they fell to Arizona. He turned pro after one season and was taken first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2011 NBA draft. Irving was Cleveland’s main man until LeBron James returned for a second tour of duty with his hometown team. Although he took a backseat, Irving’s three-pointer in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals helped the Cavs clinch their first-ever NBA title.

Irving was traded to the Boston Celtics in 2017 and then he signed with the Brooklyn Nets during the 2019 free agency. The 2012 Rookie of the Year has been named to seven All-Star teams and was the MVP of the 2014 NBA All-Star game. Irving played just 20 games for the Nets during the 2019-20 season after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery.

2. Jayson Tatum

Jayston Tatum was named to the All-ACC Freshman team and All-ACC third team during his only season with the Blue Devils in 2017. He was drafted third overall by the Boston Celtics in 2017 and is now the team’s main player after Kyrie Irving left for Brooklyn Tatum had a breakout season in 2019-20 as he was selected to play in his first All-Star game.

Tatum became the first Celtics rookie to score at least 25 points in a playoff game since Larry Bird in the 80s. At the end of the Celtics playoff run, Tatum joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only rookies to have at least 10 20-point games during a single postseason. He was named to the All-Rookie First team for his efforts. Tatum struggled during his sophomore year but bounced back with an All-Star campaign this season.

3. Zion Williamson

The number 1 pick of the 2019 Draft was one of the most hyped players coming from college. Williamson was a phenom in his only season at Duke where he was named as 2019 ACC Rookie of the Year, 2019 ACC Player of the Year, and 2019 ACC Athlete of the Year. Williamson was also named as AP College Player of the Year and he was the recipient of the Wayman Tisdale Award.

Williamson was drafted first overall in 2019 by the New Orleans Pelicans but after suffering an injury during the preseason, he missed the first three months of the 2019-20 NBA season and made his debut on January 22, 2020. He dazzled right from the get-go scoring 17 consecutive points in the 4th quarter during a three-minute span. Williamson went on to be named as 2020 February Rookie of the Month in the Western Conference. He became the first teenager in NBA history to record 10 consecutive 20-point games.

4. Brandon Ingram

After he was named as North Carolina’s Mr. Basketball in high school, Brandon Ingram took his talents to Duke where he won ACC Freshman of the Year honors in 2016. He would leave after one season and he went on to be selected 2nd overall in the 2016 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite being named to the 2017 All-Rookie Second Team, Ingram struggled to find his mark in Los Angeles.

In 2019, he was part of the trade package for Anthony Davis. Ingram thrived in his new home in New Orleans and he blossomed into a star, setting a career-high in scoring. Ingram was named to the 2020 Western Conference team, his first All-Star selection. Although Zion Williamson arrived in January, Ingram continued his excellent play for the Pelicans and is expected to be one of their main cogs in years to come.

5. J.J. Redick

J.J. Redick is one of the oldest Duke Blue Devils currently playing in the NBA. The 35-year old guard is the ACC’s all-time leader for points during the ACC tournament. He also set several school records at Duke, including most points scored in a single season. Redick is also the Blue Devils’ all-time leading scorer and he was the 2006 Player of the Year in the NCAA.

Redick was drafted 11th overall in 2006 by the Orlando Magic. He played on the Magic squad that advanced to the 2009 NBA Finals and stayed with the team until 2012. He played one season with the Milwaukee Bucks before making his mark as a deadly shooter with the Clippers. Redick also had two excellent seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers before he signed to play for the New Orleans Pelicans this season.

6. Luke Kennard

Luke Kennard played two seasons at Duke and he was ACC Tournament MVP during his sophomore year. He was also named to the All-ACC First team and All-American 2nd team in 2017 before he declared for the NBA draft.

Kennard was drafted 12th overall by the Detroit Pistons in 2017 His first two seasons with Detroit were solid but he broke out during the 2019-20 season by averaging a career-high 15.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game before he was sidelined with tendinitis on both knees.

7. Seth Curry

Stephen Curry’s brother Seth played for Liberty College before transferring to Duke during the 2008-09 season. He played out his eligibility with the Blue Devils and by his senior year, he was a First Team All-ACC and 2nd Team All-American.

Curry was undrafted in 2013 and he spent time with the Santa Cruz Warriors and Erie BayHawks of the D League. After playing for the Memphis Grizzlies, Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns, and Sacramento Kings, Curry had a breakout 2017 season where he averaged 12.8 points per game with the Dallas Mavericks. Curry averaged 12.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game during the 2019-20 season.

8. Jabari Parker

Jabari Parker is the son of former NBA player Sonny Parker. In his only season at Duke, Parker set the Duke record for freshman scoring and he became the first freshman to lead the team in scoring and rebounding. He was named to the All-ACC First team and was a First Team All-American in 2014.

Parker was picked second overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2014 NBA Draft and he quickly made an impact by being named October/November Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month. However, he suffered an ACL injury in December and missed the rest of the season. He reinjured his ACL in 2017 and left for the Chicago Bulls in 2018. Parker last played for the Sacramento Kings.

9. Marvin Bagley III

Marvin Bagley is the ACC’s record holder for most 30 points and 10 rebounds double-doubles in a single season. He played for Duke in 2018 and was named as the ACC Freshman of the Year and was part of the All-ACC First team that season. Bagley joined Trae Young and Deandre Ayton as consensus All-American First Team selections in 2018, the first time in NCAA history that three freshmen received such honor in the same season.

Bagley was picked second overall by the Sacramento Kings during the 2018 NBA Draft and he had a very good rookie season where he made the All-Rookie First Team in 2019. Bagley played only 13 games during the 2019-20 season as he was sidelined with a foot injury.

10. R.J. Barrett

R.J. Barrett was Zion Williamson’s teammate at Duke last season. The Canadian teenager was a consensus All-American First Team selection in 2019 and he was the Jerry West awardee as the best shooting guard in the nation.

Barrett was picked 3rd overall in the 2019 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks. He had an excellent rookie season in New York as he averaged 14.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game during the 2019-20 season.

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