By Jack Drapkin
If I were to tell you at the beginning of the season that a returning Duke guard would be leading the team in scoring while shooting at a ridiculously efficient rate, you would have most likely said that’s Grayson Allen. Instead as you’re aware of by now, that player is Luke Kennard who is averaging a cool 18 points a game while shooting (.55/.88/.52), (field goal, free throw, three point percentages). In many ways he looks like a completely different basketball player than he was a season ago. Yes, the shots from deep are now falling but that was always the book on him as a player even if he did struggle from outside as a freshman. Instead however, he is simply a much more confident player, able to attack the rim with better finishing ability this season, and convert from the line when fouled. Kennard has emerged as the go-to scorer the Blue Devils have needed this season with Allen struggling from the field.
And boy is he struggling…The raw stats are actually quite similar between the two of them. 18ppg/6rpg/3.6apg for Kennard while Allen is at 15ppg/6rpg/3.4apg. The difference becomes quite clear when you look at the way Allen has been shooting. He is now 22-64 from the field and 8-35 from deep. Yuck!
Now Coach K has offered up the excuse that he is only playing at 50% right now and therefore should be given some slack. Now, since I am not in that locker room we’ll have to take the GOAT at his word and I’ll just discuss what can be seen on the court. For one, this is easily the most passive Grayson Allen has ever been. He’s passing in transition, never done that before, on drives to the basket he’s looking for kick outs. Now, I’m not saying he never passed before, it’s just clear that the aggression in his drives and the score first, score second mentality is not there like it used to be.
Hopefully Grayson can find his groove in the non-conference slate, because it is scary to imagine how could this team could be with a good Grayson Allen and the return of the walking wounded.