Most 2019 NBA mock drafts you’ll see have *three* Duke players in the top four picks. Those players are all freshmen, and sometimes it can take teams depending on so many freshmen a few months to really come together. That’s why Duke entered the season ranked as the No. 4 team in the nation, despite the insane talent.
Well, on opening night, Duke showed that these are not your usual freshmen and this team is already ready to massacre their competition.
The Blue Devils straight-up embarrassed the No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats on Tuesday night at the State Farm Champions Classic 118-84. Yes, 118-84, in a game Kentucky entered as 2.5-point favorites on the neutral court at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
And the three freshmen projected to be top four picks didn’t take long to show why they’re projected to be top four picks.
RJ Barrett (the consensus top pick in mock drafts right now) led the way with 33 points on 13-of-26 shooting from the field, six assists, and four rebounds. The left-hander’s offensive game looked as advertised, showcasing versatility and craftiness with his 6’7″ frame.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 7, 2018
Zion Williamson has gotten the most hype after his jawdropping dunks and athleticism from a 280+ pound body in high school, and he continued to do all that in his first college game. Williamson had an extremely efficient 28 points on 11-of-13 shooting from the field and added seven boards. He had a few LeBron-esque plays in the game, like this one:
Then there’s Cameron Reddish, who’s likely the third-best player on this team… and likely the third-most talented player in college basketball. Reddish pitched in 22 points.
So, Duke’s big three freshmen combined to score 83 points in their debut, while the entire Kentucky team combined for 84.
There will surely be games where Duke doesn’t look as sharp or one of these players has a very off night. But the roster talent is so, so strong and so much better than their competition. It’s going to take an incredible effort to beat this team.
And it’s scary to think they could just get better as they learn to play together in the coming months.