After some really nice moments in the win over Gardner-Webb, Duke fans were excited about seeing what freshman forward AJ Griffin might do against Lafayette Friday and he did not disappoint.
Griffin scored 18 points and showed some scintillating athleticism, some sizzling shooting and a really high basketball IQ. It’s what you would expect from the son of a coach, but still, he’s a really smart player.
And clearly he was excited about his breakout performance. And why wouldn’t he be? Aside from the rest of it, he basically hasn’t played in two years and then had an early injury. Of course he’s ready to play again. He told the Duke Chronicle this: “I just looked at my teammates, I just looked at the baseline, and stuff like that. Just enjoying the moment really, because without them I wouldn’t even have that moment. So I’m just truly grateful for that.”
This leads to an important question: who’s going to start? Because if he’s at this level, then can you keep him out of the starting lineup?
Well that depends on an important question: does it matter who starts?
In a perfect world, no one cares.
Duke has at least seven guys who could start, possibly eight and given what we’ve seen out of Bates Jones so far, probably nine. Jones is not a huge talent but he’s extremely smart. He probably won't ever be a full-time starter but does he belong? Yes he does.
The ideal thing, at least for now, would be for Griffin to come off the bench. He could play at least three positions, conceivably four, and he would allow everyone to rotate around as needed. No one else coming off the bench can provide that kind of flexibility.
Whatever we see, Coach K sees more, so we’re sure he’s been sifting through options and scenarios. And when you think about it, it’s not a bad problem to have.