It’s an age-old question in sports, really. Who do you need to stop in order to win? Who controls the team? Golden State has the Splash Brothers (Kevin Durant fits in that duo questionably… and Draymond tries to force his way in). The Heat had Dwayne Wade, Lebron James, and Chris Bosh. The Thunder had Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant (shots fired). And Cleveland has Lebron James and Kyrie Irving (don’t even try to tell me Kevin Love belongs in this list… that’s just disgraceful). Side noting from the main point- what’s up with Kevins though? Kevin Durant and Kevin Love both stirred up controversy in a short list, not to mention in the NBA every day. Must be in the name-. So who’s Duke’s perfect pair?
The obvious one that comes to mind is Luke Kennard and Grayson Allen. The classic pairing of assists and passing ability with shooting and spirit. She writes, he rocks. Both are lethal when they’re on. Both are incredible three point shoots. Both show leadership ability. Combining their stats, they probably outperform any other pairing in most categories. So what could be wrong?
Grayson and Luke never have good games together. If Grayson’s shooting is on, than Luke’s shooting is off. If Luke is making baskets right off the bat, than Grayson doesn’t get any worthwhile looks. The universe will not let us see what happens when both players are in beast mode at the same time. Like dividing by zero, the world would probably end if it was ever achieved. So sorry, Luke and Grayson will never be the dynamic duo of Duke. But hey, they’ll always have Plane Rides and Phone Pool.
Grayson Allen and Amile Jefferson are both strong players, veterans, and National Champions. They even started off the season as captains together. Amile rebounds like no one’s business, and Grayson can always spot him down low for an easy 2. If either of them weren’t around this season, than the team would not be as prosperous and hungry as it is now. Not to mention, off the court Amile has shown to have a real soft spot for the mischievous-yet-lovable Grayson.
However, Grayson and Amile have not shown the dominance required in order to be Duke’s Dynamic Duo. With Amile’s injury last year, he went off the radar. The public, press, and even fans seem to forget about him every other game. His impact is always downplayed, which ruins his shot at being named MVP. Grayson has also taken a hiatus; a forced one, that is. With all of his controversy, overexposer, and hate no one will ever have the audacity to give Grayson his deserved recognition. He will always be downplayed. So together, with underexposer and overexposer, Amile and Grayson will never be accepted by the public. No one would grant them that right. But don’t worry, Amile and Grayson, we see you!
Luke Kennard and Jason Tatum have both made it clear that they are playing to win. No mercy. No holding back. On the perimeter, no one rolls their eyes or hold their breath if Luke or Jason take a shot, regardless of how open they are. Their teammates don’t even crash the boards when they shoot! Tatum has an undeniable dominance with his playing. He doesn’t have the “Freshman Fear” seen in Frank Jackson, Harry Giles, or Marques Bolden. He can dribble, drive, pass, and shoot with ease. In fact, and I hope I can say this without jinxing it, I think he’s playing like the glorious freshman from two years ago. They were leaders and commanded the team like seasoned pros. He’s more dominant than Brandon Ingram was last year. And Luke, well Luke’s really taken off. Instead of having a few remarkable games like last year, Luke is having MOSTLY remarkable games with a few rocky ones. He’s come out of his shell and now has some confidence. Luke isn’t scared to shoot anymore, and is now the best left-handed threat in the NCAA.
Let’s not forget their age, though. Jason Tatum is a freshman. Sure, he’s having a better adjustment than most newcomers in college ball, however, that does not make up for inexperience. A couple of games ago he went like 0-12 behind the three point line. He was too naive and new to the game to know what to do when his magic touch wasn’t working. Jason has trouble adjusting and shaking things off. Luke is a sophomore. Despite what every sophomore will tell you, the youngsters do not know everything. Luke still has to learn a lot about the game and himself. He also needs even more confidence than he has now. Sure, Luke has grown a ton since last season, but he still has much more to discover. They may be amazing players, but Luke and Jason do not have what it takes to take a team on their back.
Aahhh, the timeless duo of Grayson Allen and Matt Jones. If those two together don’t put a smile on your face, than clearly you’re no OG Duke fan. The two have an undeniably adorable friendship that warms all the Cameron Crazies hearts. Any video on Duke Basketball’s YouTube channel starring them gets hella views. Grayson is a superstar. His dunks are insane, his shooting range is phenomenal, his athleticism is unobtainable, and his heart is admirable. How could Grayson not be considered a leader? And Matt, he’s a special player. Matt probably should have struggled more than he did in his years at Duke. He doesn’t really shoot outside of the three point line (I’m not even kidding), he’s not dynamic, he lacks the speed and vertical all the youngsters have, he’s fragile, and there’s always younger talent coming in and taking his position. Remember, he was originally a SHOOTING GUARD. When’s the last time you actually saw Matt play shooting guard? Like never. In fact, I’d argue Matt’s the only player in college basketball that goes out their for extended periods of time and plays absolutely no position. He’s a guard, that’s as specific as you can go. Coach K’s literally like: okay we’ll put out a point guard, a shooting guard, a small forward, a power forward, and a Matt. But Matt’s survived his four years at Duke as a starter, a player, and a favorite. His defense is timeless. Matt’s the only person that can earn a steal, no one else has the defensive talent to knock the ball away without fouling or the ball basically being passed straight to them. He can also make big threes. His footwork and form is efficient, he only misses when he doesn’t have enough time to properly align or when he rushes. Matt started when Duke won the 2015 National Championship. He’s a special, special kid that impacts the team. I’d say Matt and Grayson shape the team more than anyone. And what the heck, throw Amile in there too. No one can deny they’ll ball their eyes out when Amile isn’t there to peace out to Bull City.
So there you have it. The captains (well i guess G isn’t a captain anymore but we don’t need to strike that nerve right now) take it.
There is no amount of drugs, alcohol, or overall stupidity that can explain why UNC would make up the word “Tarheel” to permanently label themselves and their team, never forget that.