Jabari Parker tore his left ACL for the second time in his first three NBA seasons Wednesday.


Duke in the NBA: Parker tears ACL for second time in three years

Most former Blue Devils are still having good years, but one rising star had another season cut short due to a devastating injury.

Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks

A week ago, the Bucks were struggling to stay relevant in the playoff race in the East. A starting lineup featuring Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo had the potential to put them in contention, or at least allow the team to jell more and develop chemistry as it tries to rebuild. Now, any hopes of the playoffs are virtually extinguished. Parker went down with an ACL tear for the second time in his career in a blowout loss to the Heat Wednesday. 

Parker was having a career season, averaging 20.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Now, the Bucks will be without their second-leading scorer for about 12 months as Parker undergoes treatment on his left knee, the same one he injured during his rookie season in 2014.

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

Irving’s Cavaliers have now won four of their last five games as they rebound from a difficult January in which they went 7-8. Irving has been hot as of late well, averaging 26.8 points per game during his last 10 contests while dishing out 7.0 assists per game as well, both higher than his season averages. 

The sixth-year point guard has struggled lately from beyond the arc, but has been clutch when it mattered. In what is already being called the game of the year by some NBA observers, Irving knocked down a clutch tie-breaking triple against the Washington Wizards with just more than 30 seconds left in the fourth overtime of a 140-135 win, mimicking his dagger in Game 7 of the NBA Finals over Stephen Curry.

Seth Curry, Dallas Mavericks

Speaking of the Curry family, the younger Curry brother has also been on a bit of a hot streak, averaging 16.1 points per game during his last 10 games with the Mavericks. Now in his third year in the NBA, the Charlotte, N.C., native has firmly established himself as a solid shooting guard in Dallas. After leading the Mavericks to back-to-back victories against the Cavaliers and Spurs two weeks ago, he followed up those strong showings with two more solid performances against three other potential playoff teams—the Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz. 

Curry has broadened his abilities to attack the basket this year, forcing teams to adapt to his newfound strength around the hoop in addition to roaming the perimeter. One major sign of his growing importance to the Mavericks is that they are 9-3 when Curry has more than 15 points. And although his teammates are certainly glad to have his presence on the court, after Thursday night's big win for Duke, there is one who might be less thrilled to have to see Curry at work: Former North Carolina standout and current Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes.

J.J. Redick, Los Angeles Clippers

Redick returned to Cameron Indoor Stadium Thursday night, receiving a raucous standing ovation as he took in another classic Duke-North Carolina battle during a during a two-day stretch of rest for the Clippers, who at 32-21 currently sit in fifth place in the Western Conference. Redick was expected to see an increase in production after star point guard Chris Paul went down with a finger injury several weeks ago, but has not been more aggressive in looking for his shot, instead relying on other teammates to help fill the void caused by Paul’s absence. 

The sharpshooter has continued to be a quality shooting guard thus far in 2017, but has also seen drops in some areas in his 11th season in the league. His scoring efficiency is on pace to be his lowest since the 2012-13 season, and his shooting efficiency is his lowest since his first year in Los Angeles in 2013-14. But despite these small declines, Redick has not lost his dynamic playmaking ability and continues to be one of the top 3-point threats in the game, shooting 42.3 percent from beyond the arc this season.

Brandon Ingram, Los Angeles Lakers

With the Lakers tanking and aiming for a top-three lottery pick at this point in the season, head coach Luke Walton has increased Ingram’s playing time, seeking to give the rookie guard more experience as the franchise continues to rebuild. Ingram has replaced another former Blue Devil, Luol Deng, in the Lakers’ starting lineup, a move that Deng—one of the highest-paid players on the Lakers—has vocally supported. Since replacing Deng in the starting rotation, Ingram has made noticeable improvements and shown flashes of his potential, posting three straight double-digit scoring games and knocking down 7-of-13 3-point attempts during a recent stretch.

Quinn Cook, Canton Charge

Although the senior hero of Duke’s 2015 national championship has still never played in an NBA game, he is currently tearing it up in the NBA Development League. Cook is averaging the second-most points per game in the league and will travel to New Orleans during the NBA All-Star weekend for the D-League All-Star game, the second year in a row he has been invited to the game. Cook, plays for the Cavaliers' D-League affiliate, is also sixth in the D-League in assists and has coaches and fans alike wondering what he is still doing in the lower-tier league. With performances like his recent 34-point outburst, part of a six-game stretch in which he has scored at least 24 points in every game, he may get called up to the NBA sooner rather than later. 

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