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Draft Day Approaches And Duke’s Lively And Whitehead May Be Heading In Different Directions

But it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.

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NCAA Basketball: Virginia Tech at Duke
 Feb 25, 2023; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies center Lynn Kidd (15) shoots between Duke Blue Devils forward Dariq Whitehead (0) and center Dereck Lively (1) during the first half at Cameron Indoor Stadium. 
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The draft is coming up fast and Thursday night we’ll know what the immediate future holds for Blue Devils Dereck Lively and Dariq Whitehead. Lively seems like a near lock for the lottery now while Whitehead, still dealing with a second foot surgery, has an uncertain draft night ahead. We think he’ll be fine once he’s healthy but our opinion doesn't really matter.

Worth noting: Whitehead is apparently the second youngest guy in the draft.

Everyone knows that Victor Wembanyama will go first and you’d be a fool not to take him. That doesn’t mean it is without risk, though.

When we look at him, we see first a very thin guy who, like Ralph Sampson, might or might not put on weight.

But what is also hard to miss are his fingers and toes. Obviously he has long limbs and, naturally, long fingers and toes. The guy is 7-4 at a minimum. He’s going to have big hands and feet.

What really concerns us though are his very long, and probably as a result somewhat vulnerable, metatarsals.

Yao Ming’s career ended because of metatarsal problems, but in his case, he carried vastly more weight (his listed playing weight was 311).

We may have gotten a bit of a preview of this sort of thing with the also painfully thin Chet Holmgren, who missed all of last year with a Lisfranc injury.

We hope that Wembanyama is what people think he will be. It’s been awhile since a truly great big man came along and in the meantime, the NBA has trended away from the very idea of a center.

Wembanyama won’t be a classic center except on defense, where he’ll be asked to stay closer to the basket.

Offense though?

That’s wide open for him - assuming he’s healthy.