Jayson Tatum has come on strong in his rookie season for Boston. Duke in the NBA: Jayson Tatum and Kyrie Irving starring for Boston A month into the 2017-18 NBA season, the Blue Zone takes a look at which former Blue Devils are making an impact in the league. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics: Tatum was thrust into Boston’s permanent starting lineup on opening night after All-Star forward Gordon Hayward suffered a potentially season-ending injury. He has since exceeded all expectations, playing like an seasoned NBA veteran on both ends of the court. Tatum is currently averaging 14.0 points per game while shooting 50.0 percent from the field and 48.9 percent from 3-point range. He scored 19 points Tuesday night against the Nets, highlighted by a thunderous dunk off a Jaylen Brown alley-oop pass that put an exclamation point on Boston’s 13th straight win. The teenage small forward also ranks fifth in the NBA in defensive win shares, and he has been a key contributor to the Celtics first-ranked defense. Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics: Irving was ridiculed in the offseason when he decided to part ways with four-time NBA MVP LeBron James in order to try to lead a team to a title on his own. So far, he has proved his doubters wrong by propelling the Celtics to their longest winning streak since the 2008-09 season. Irving has been a reliable facilitator and crunch-time scorer throughout their winning streak. The 25-year old point guard has also greatly elevated his game on the defensive end and is one of five Celtics to place in the top 10 in defensive win shares. Though his 20.6 points per game and 32.6 3-point percentage are down from last year, his play appears to be trending upward in recent weeks, highlighted by his November 6 performance against the Atlanta Hawks in which he scored a season-high 35 points on 14-of-22 shooting. Irving’s season encountered a minor hiccup Friday night when he suffered a facial fracture, but a masked Kyrie returned to action Tuesday night against the Nets after missing just one game and scored 25 points. Irving has now scored 79 points in his last three games, excluding the game he exited due to injury after just two minutes. The surging Celtics possess the best record in the NBA, having won 13 games in a row following an 0-2 start, with much of the credit due to the contributions of Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum. They will face their toughest challenge yet Thursday night when they host the Golden State Warriors, winners of their last seven. Luke Kennard, Detroit Pistons: Detroit has been one of the biggest surprises in the NBA this season. Winners of five in a row and eight of their last 10, the 10-3 Pistons are currently in sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference. Kennard has seen limited playing time in a strong Detroit backcourt bolstered by the offseason addition of Avery Bradley, having played in just eight games this season. But the 21-year-old shooting guard had a breakout game Sunday evening against the Heat, scoring 14 points on 6-11 shooting with two 3-pointers. This was his only double-digit performance since scoring 11 against the Wizards in his first appearance of the season. Austin Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers: Rivers’ Clippers have lost six games in a row after starting the season 5-2, but he is averaging a new career high of 13.3 points per game, up from 12.0 last season. The Duke product has shot the ball well recently, scoring 24 with four 3-pointers last Tuesday against the Spurs and knocking down another five threes Saturday night against the Pelicans. Brandon Ingram, Los Angeles Lakers: Critics last year were quick to label Brandon Ingram a bust. Though his rookie numbers were lackluster for a second overall pick, through 14 games this season Ingram has improved his game in almost every aspect. The forward is now averaging a respectable 13.9 points per game and was a key player in the Lakers’ valiant comeback effort against the Boston Celtics last Wednesday, a game in which he scored 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Justise Winslow, Miami Heat: Justise Winslow has struggled this season, averaging just 6.5 points per game and failing to score double digits in 10 of Miami’s 13 games. Winslow was forced to miss most of last season with a torn labrum, so it appears that the Heat are still figuring out how to properly reintegrate him into their offense. Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia 76ers: Former No. 3 overall pick Jahlil Okafor’s career has run into a bit of a roadblock. The 6-foot-11 Duke star has appeared in just two games for the Sixers and has made it clear that he wants out. Philadelphia is actively shopping Okafor but has been unable to find a trading partner thus far. J.J. Redick, Philadelphia 76ers: Redick has provided a much-needed veteran presence on a young Philadelphia squad and is a major reason that the 76ers may have a chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011-12. Duke’s all-time leading scorer has been doing what he does best: knocking down 3-pointers. Redick hit seven 3-pointers Saturday against Golden State and six in the previous game against the Kings. Earlier this month, he played his best game of the season, leading the Sixers over the Pacers with a scorching 31 points on 8-of-12 shooting from deep. His shooting percentages have dipped slightly since last season, but his 15.1 points per game are actually a minor increase.