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Jeremy Roach, Dereck Lively & Gary Trent Updates

Some interesting links on all three

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NCAA Basketball: ACC Championship Duke vs Virginia
Mar 11, 2023; Greensboro, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils center Dereck Lively II (1) scores in the second half of the Championship of the ACC Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Aside from the JJ Redick/Toronto story, there are some NBA notes for Duke fans to keep up with.

First is this article from the Athletic’s Brendan Marks about Jeremy Roach’s decision. As you probably heard, he was not invited to the NBA Combine, which sort to stakes out his draft prospects: he’s not going to be a prime target, unless a particular team is already high on him. So clearly, he has a decision to make and while Duke is a solid option for one more year, he could also play overseas. As Marks points out, you can make a very nice living overseas and as nice as the NBA life is, playing in, say, Barcelona has perks the league can’t match.

It’s an interesting situation for Duke. Roach would give senior leadership, which is a big deal, and also tremendous depth: Jon Scheyer would have Roach, Tyrese Proctor, Jaylen Blakes, Jaden Schutt, Jared McCain and Caleb Foster. That would be an astoundingly deep backcourt.

But if he doesn’t return, Duke still has tremendous options. Scheyer’s quest to seriously upgrade shooting appears to be on track. Proctor will be much better, but that’s not his major strength. It is for Schutt and McCain and Blakes has shown he can shoot too (his nose injury knocked him out of the rotation late in the year, but keep an eye on him: the defense with Proctor and Blakes on the court at the same time could be crazy good).

As far as the current draft goes, here’s an article suggesting Dereck Lively could be a great fit for Houston. People focus on his offense as if he is a liability, but he’s really not.

At Duke, he primarily scored on lobs, but a couple of points to keep in mind about young Lively.

First, he started from behind due to an early injury. We never really saw his full offensive game. And secondly, at Duke and probably at least at the beginning of his NBA career, the focus was and will be on how he changes the defense because you have to respect him. Not only can he block shots, he can really move his feet.

But he has offensive potential too. We saw him start to take a few threes at Duke and that wasn’t some random big man revolt about being restricted to the post. He took them because he hit them in practice and Scheyer was fine with him taking them in games.

People are focusing on the wrong thing with Lively. His offense will develop just fine. The bigger concern right now is he’s still so thin. That will improve too and when he’s filled out and can push back more, that Dereck Lively will be very hard to deal with.

Gary Trent may be looking for a new gig too: according to this report, Toronto may let him walk in free agency. A solid to occasionally spectacular scorer, he’ll have no trouble finding a new job.

By the way, we’ve said this before, but should probably repeat it from time to time: generally speaking, we don’t link to subscription articles unless we can read them. So if it’s here, it’s because there’s a way to read it. We’re not going to advertise that, but you can probably figure it out.