Here’s an interesting list of the best Duke players in the NBA from the Mike Krzyzewski era. We have a sort-of quibble here which we’ll get to in a minute. The list:
- Grant Hill
- Jayson Tatum
- Kyrie Irving
- Zion Williamson
- Elton Brand
- Brandon Ingram
- Luol Deng
- Paolo Banchero
- JJ Redick
- Carlos Boozer
Obviously this list is restricted to the K era, but that leaves off Jeff Mullins, Jack Marin and Mike Gminski, all of whom had long and productive NBA careers. But so be it.
It’s hard to quibble much with this list, but one guy we wish was on here, who is not, is Shane Battier.
And, objectively, it’s hard to make an argument to move him ahead of anyone else on this list. But it’s also hard not to.
It’s not that Battier was statistically overwhelming. Clearly he wasn’t. But he always made his teams better and, in the case of Miami, where he finished his career, he helped the Heat to win two NBA titles.
The problem for Battier was always the subtlety of his play. His colleagues realized the constant effect he had on a game but most people had no clue. They just saw his modest stats and figured he wasn’t much of a factor. That couldn’t be more untrue.
He really belongs on a list like this. Perhaps it should move to 11.