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A Look At How Duke Players Did In The 2017 NBA Draft

Jayson Tatum, Luke Kennard and Harry Giles all are pretty happy today.

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NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament Final-Notre Dame vs Duke
Mar 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Jayson Tatum (0) and guard Luke Kennard (5) celebrate a call during the first half against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the ACC Conference Tournament Final at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports 
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The draft worked out pretty well for three of four Duke players who were selected.

Jayson Tatum is with 53-29 Boston where he could be a key to the team’s future. Boston may not be done refining its roster. GM Danny Ainge is sitting on a ton of draft picks and could still pull off a trade and very few players are immune from a trade. But for now, he’s joining the league’s greatest franchise when it’s nearly back to a championship level. That’s pretty cool for a #3 pick.

Luke Kennard is now a Piston and he seems pretty pleased to be with a Midwest team. For their part, Detroit seemed happy to add a solid offensive player although Free Press columnist Shawn Windsor isn’t.

He thinks Kennard isn’t athletic enough, a common criticism.

We know he didn’t watch him as much as we did so we don’t expect him to understand how good Kennard is. We watched him dominate supposedly more athletic players all season. He was not just good, he was sensationally good.

More recently, the entire NBA saw him put on a spectacular pro day.

The Pistons know more than Windsor. He’ll be fine.

Harry Giles was taken by Portland, a team that has a really bad history of drafting big men who have career-ending health problems.

Think Bill Walton, Sam Bowie, Greg Oden.

That was our first thought when Portland picked Giles and so there was some relief when he was traded, even if it was to Sacramento. Portland has bad mojo for big men.

As for Sacramento, that’s a franchise with a proud history but lately it’s been a mess.

Still, if Giles is truly healthy, the Kings can use him with Willie Cauley-Stein and defend like few teams in the league. De’Aaron Fox is also there and that’s a good start on an overhaul.

Giles still has to prove he can do it but the things we saw about his health are encouraging and he has three years to show what he can do.

That’s probably not going to be the case for Frank Jackson who missed a guaranteed first-round contract by one spot as he was the first pick of the second round.

We weren't sure if he was unhappy or relieved to hear his name called, or maybe just realized that he narrowly missed a much better situation that he fully expected to realize.

Whatever it was he didn't look very pleased.

And as soon as he sat down for his ESPN interview with his Hornets hat on he learned that he’d been traded to New Orleans.

It could have been worse. The Bulls traded Jimmy Butler during the draft and he found out in the wee hours in Paris.

The Pelicans have two big pieces in Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.

In New Orleans, Jackson will be competing for minutes with Jordan Crawford, Jrue Holiday, E’Twaun Moore and a name you may recognize, former Blue Devil Quinn Cook.

Crawford has a relatively cheap contract - he was paid just $173,00 last season - but Holiday and Moore are well compensated.

So odds are if he’s going to bump someone off the roster it’ll be either Crawford or Cook, both of whom are older and have worked hard to get where they are.

That doesn’t guarantee that they’ll beat Jackson out but they have a much better idea of how much work it takes to get there, let alone stay.

It’s also possible that Jackson could be sent down to the D-League to get some experience.

And of course it’s also possible that he’ll make an immediate and positive impression and that he’ll make the teams that passed on him look like idiots.

It’s just going to be harder now than it should have been and he has much less room for error. You have to wonder if he went to bed second-guessing his decision.

Aside from Tatum, Boston also drafted former Blue Devil Semi Ojeleye. He fits Danny Ainge’s profile but so do Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder, James Young, Marcus Smart and fellow draftee Jabari Bird.

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