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Duke’s Best NBA Players

This one wasn’t easy at all.

2022 NBA Finals - Game Six
 BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JUNE 16: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics dunks against Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Golden State Warriors in Game Six of the 2022 NBA Finals at TD Garden on June 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. 
Photo by Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports - Pool/Getty Images

You might think picking Duke’s best players in the NBA would be easy, but it’s not. Not at all.

For instance, Kyrie Irving should be an easy pick, but his personal issues make it less than a sure thing.

Grant Hill is a logical pick but his injury history marred his production.

Shane Battier has low stats but wasn’t called the No-Stat All-Star for nothing.

Zion Williamson is a dazzling talent but injuries have limited his growth.

So what to do? Well, give it your best shot. Here’s ours. Your mileage may vary.

  • Jeff Mullins - Duke’s first great NBA player, Mullins was a three-time All-Star and helped Golden State to the title in 1975. He was a really, really good pro in the pre-ESPN era.
  • Jayson Tatum - He’s still young but does anyone doubt he belongs on this list?
  • Kyrie Irving - Irving has been erratic and confounding, but to doubt his basketball brilliance is to doubt that, well, the earth is round.
  • Grant Hill - Before the injuries, Hill was ready to challenge Michael Jordan as the NBA’s standard for greatness. That he couldn't sustain that level does not change the fact that he got there.
  • Zion Williamson - Like Hill, injuries have slowed him down, but there is no denying his spectacular talent. Basketball has never seen a player remotely like him. He has a chance of redefining what a basketball player can be.