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Duke’s Draft Night Was Pretty Good

But it underscores the importance of being able to discern your moment.

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NBA: NBA Draft
Jun 21, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Wendell Carter, Jr. (Duke) is interviewed after being selected as the number seven overall pick to the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 NBA draft was entertaining as usual and had some particular highlights for Duke fans.

Marvin Bagley pointed to the heavens when he was taken at #2 and soon flashed his jacket liner - this is becoming traditional now - to show the iconic screaming Bagley we briefly saw on Cameron t-shirts this winter.

They’ll be back soon and probably with a Puma logo, so get ready to buy!

After Bagley, Wendell Carter was taken by the Chicago Bulls at #7 and wore a Black Panther-inspired scarf to open up an entirely new fashion trend for later draftees.

Grayson Allen went basic Nice Church Suit although he did allow himself a bit of flair with his hanky. The conservative look will go over well in Salt Lake City.

Thus concludes the fashion portion of our presentation.

All three guys are in favorable situations.

The Kings have De’Aaron Fox to run the team and run he will - and with Bagley, Willie Cauley-Stein and a healthy Harry Giles, that team is going to run a lot.

Carter will be with the Bulls and they’ll pair him with Lauri Markkanen to have a superb young front court foundation.

And Allen, who was of course booed when he was selected, is off to the Jazz, where Quin Snyder will welcome a member of the Brotherhood, but not as effusively as did Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell enthusiastically invaded Allen’s post-draft interview to endorse/welcome him. That’s going to help a lot with his image issue we expect.

Apparently the Lt. Gov. in Utah tweeted this before Allen’s pick:

Please don’t take Grayson Allen. Please don’t take Grayson Allen. Please don’t take Grayson Allen. Please don’t take Grayson Allen. Please don’t take Grayson Allen. Please don’t take Grayson Allen. Please don’t take Grayson Allen. Please don’t take Grayson Allen.

But then after tweeted this:


This man is a political genius. Clearly he’s going places. Remember the name: Spencer Cox. If you have trouble, just remember the Lt. Gov. with a name that sounds like a soap opera lead.

Seriously though, SLC folks are going to fall in love with Allen in a big hurry. He’ll be like the Good Laimbeer in a week and a half with just a naughty streak to maybe chuckle about over dinner.

The first time he slides halfway down the court after a ball he can’t possibly catch the fans will swoon. After a few solid dunks and a chasedown block or two, they’ll be putty in his hands.

Actually, if they want to find a comparison it’s pretty easy and they don’t have to look too far: former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan.

Like Allen, he put his body on the line and was a hardnosed guard.

And if it takes a bit more than what we think, well, he’s pals with Donovan now and Donovan carries some weight in Salt Lake these days.

Gary Trent was taken by Sacto in the second round and quickly sent off to Portland, where his dad played for several years. It’s an interesting trivia question: how many NBA players played for the same team as their dad? Larry Nance and Larry Jr., off the top of our heads. It’s a great trivia question. Anyone else?

Trevon Duval was not drafted and that’s too bad for him. He’s a really good talent in the open court who just needs more time to show what he can do. He’s immensely talented. Someone will put him on a two-way and in a year or two everyone will say weren’t those teams stupid not to have drafted this guy?

The truth is that one-and-done is a gamble for even the best players. They might get a contract but there’s no guarantee that they’ll stick. Maturity is an open question. With the NBA now thinking about killing the one-and-done rule, it’s a good time to remember guys like Leon Smith and Kwame Brown, both talented players but both totally unready for the world they stepped in.

In Smith’s case it ended with a suicide attempt and in Brown’s he was just simply not prepared in any way to be an NBA player. Then there’s Robert Swift, who completely fell apart before pulling his life back together. It’s a nice redemption story and you really want him to go all the way.

Obviously plenty of guys have thrived but not everyone can make it even if, like Allen, they spend four years in college.

It’s a much tougher life than anyone outside it can imagine and the margin of success - and failure - is wafer thin.

So anyway, here’s hoping all of Duke’s guys thrive and stick. Watching this year’s team was enormously fun and watching four years of Grayson Allen, even though his dark days, was special. Folks in Utah will soon realize what’s real and what’s crap about Allen and, like Duke fans, they’ll first appreciate him and then grow to love him.

Watch and see.

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