Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
I'd be wrong to say Irving made Duke favorites to win the National Championship, but he is a huge reason most think the Blue Devils can repeat.
With a guy like Irving, it's always a huge loss. He certainly isn't ruled out for the rest of the year, but seeing that most signs points to a season-ending injury, Duke might be without the heart of their team.
Irving brought consistent effort every night. He is an athlete that can uplift any team.
Irving has very good speed, which he utilizes in transition. The opposition may score the basketball, but once Irving has the ball in his hands he is looking to run in transition.
Once he is in transition, Irving either takes it all the way to the rim, or dumps it off to a trailing teammate.
Irving is a point guard in every sense of the word, and without him Duke is without a natural leader to lead the offense.
You can look at senior Smith to lead the team, but in the first action without Irving, Smith went 0-of-8 from the field, and came away with just two points, and 10 assist.
Smith has always been the off-guard, and making him take the lead role may not be the smart thing to do if you're Duke.
Then you have Seth Curry, the transfer from Liberty. Curry is one of the best shooters in the nation, and led a Liberty team to a 23-12 record. Curry should be the favorite to take over with Irving sidelined, but that slows down Duke's offense, and possibly hurts them in transition.
Curry cannot match the speed of Irving, scoring, or intensity; same for Smith, and Andre Dawkins.
So, at (9-0) and three tune-up games ahead for the Blue Devils, fans have to hope Irving's injury isn't as scary as it seems.
Irving means a lot to this team, and obviously without him they're not the same. Duke is still my favorite to repeat, but with Irving out, it will be a lot tougher than the cake walks the Blue Devils are accustom too.
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