In light of his sub-par play on the team's recent trip to China, some fans are already writing this year's team off in terms of national championship hopes. Well, don't do that just yet Blue Devil followers. Coach K is working with different lineups, rotations and trying a few players out at a number of different positions in preparation for this upcoming season. He faces the daunting task of not only being overshadowed by bitter rival North Carolina, but in doing so with a lineup that must replace three starters. Austin Rivers was chosen as the savior when he committed to Durham, but even with him, the team has questions.
Is Austin Rivers a point guard? A shooting guard? If Coach K deems him more of a 2, who will play the 1? Can Seth Curry handle that role or will Duke need to go small and start freshman Quinn Cook or give second-year point Tyler Thornton a larger role? The answers to these questions will come in the coming months as Duke strains to find out what combination of players is the best at scoring and stopping the ball, running the offense and making his teammates better and so on. There's no reason to fret over a few exhibition games overseas.
Prodigious guard Austin Rivers will still start alongside Seth Curry and we know Mason Plumlee will be the centerpiece in the frontcourt. The remaining two spots are up in the air- they can be filled by Mason's older brother Miles or versatile junior forward Ryan Kelly (who, just as a note, had a strong showing in the team's exhibitions). Cook is more talented than Thornton and fans should expect him to get every chance to start. Andre Dawkins, a part-time starter last season, is in the mix, but is more likely to come off the bench.