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Duke in the NBA: Season tipoff

The NBA season got underway last night with a triad of games featuring the Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers. Here's a look at what former Blue Devils will be playing in the NBA this season.

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    Miles Plumlee, Phoenix Suns
    : Plumlee is without question the biggest winner of the offseason. The eldest Plumlee brother was traded to the Phoenix Suns over the summer where the Suns were expected to develop the young big man. Then Phoenix traded starting center Marcin Gortat, opening the door for Plumlee to start right away. The Suns aren't expected to be very good this season, but Plumlee has been awarded a chance to show his talents on the biggest stage.
  • Elton Brand, Atlanta Hawks: Brand begins his first season with the Atlanta Hawks after spending last season with the Dallas Mavericks. The veteran big man will provide Atlanta with toughness and size in the paint off the bench. The Hawks should compete for a playoff spot this season, and Brand will be a big part of that postseason push.
  • Mason Plumlee, Brooklyn Nets: Plumlee is one of two Duke rookies in the NBA this season. The 6-foot-10 forward had an early return to campus when the Nets held training camp at Duke, but now its all business for Plumlee. The middle Plumlee brother will struggle to see the court at times this season thanks to the depth of the Brooklyn frontcourt. However, with Andrei Kirilenko already banged up and Kevin Garnett potentially sitting the second game of back-to-backs, minutes could open up as the season progresses.
  • Gerald Henderson, Charlotte Bobcats: Henderson rejoined the Bobcats on a two-year, $12 million deal with a player option for a third season after hitting the free agent market this summer. Henderson is one of the players who could take a big step forward for Charlotte this season after averaging 18.9 points after the All-Star break a season ago. Henderson is one of the core members of an improving Bobcat team that added center Al Jefferson and rookie Cody Zeller over the summer.
  • Josh McRoberts, Charlotte Bobcats: McRoberts is another Blue Devil playing his professional ball in North Carolina. The veteran power forward should earn his fair share of starts for the Bobcats this season after averaging 9.3 points and 7.2 rebounds in 26 games with Charlotte last season. McRoberts re-signed with the Bobcats on a one-year, $2.65 million deal with a player option for a second season.
  • Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls: Boozer's Bulls lost their season opener to the Miami Heat last night, but the former Duke big was tremendous, scoring 31 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Boozer will continue to be the starter in Chicago this season and will be a huge part of what should be an extremely talented Bulls team.
  • Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls: Deng did not have his best game against Miami. The Bull's starting small forward scored just four points, but added five rebounds, four assists and two steals. There are some injury questions surrounding Deng, as well as trade rumors, but for now he will continue to play his role as defensive ace and second offensive option in Chicago.
  • Mike Dunleavy, Jr., Chicago Bulls: The third of three Duke alumnus on the Bulls' roster, Dunleavy is a new addition after agreeing to a two-year, $6 million contract in the offseason. His Bulls debut was successful, scoring 10 points off the bench. He will be relied upon for his outside touch off the bench this season.
  • Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers: When not playing Uncle Drew, Irving is one of the best young point guards in the NBA. He will preside over a young Cleveland team that is expected to take the next step this season after adding depth and a potential All-Star center in Andrew Bynum. His 22.5 points and 5.9 assists could improve even further this season.
  • Kyle Singler, Detroit Pistons: Singler started 74 games for the Pistons last season, but competition for minutes is stiffer this year. He will fight for time with fellow wings Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Luigi Datome and Rodney Stuckey. Though his minutes may take a hit, Singler will still be a part of the Detroit rotation this season.
  • J.J. Redick, Los Angeles Clippers: Redick's Clippers did not have the opener they were expecting when facing the much maligned Los Angeles Lakers. Though the Clippers fell 116-103, Redick himself had a fine Los Angeles debut, scoring 13 points and handing out three assists. Redick joined the Clippers in a sign-and-trade this summer that netted him a four-year contract in excess of $27 million.
  • Ryan Kelly, Los Angeles Lakers: Kelly did not see the floor in the Lakers' season-opening win, but had a great accomplishment in making the team. Kelly is buried on the depth chart now, but Los Angeles head coach Mike D'Antoni loves shooters, and at 6-foot-11 Kelly is a unique talent. He may find his way onto the court before the season comes to a close.
  • Shane Battier, Miami Heat: Battier received his second championship ring before his Heat defeated the Chicago Bulls 107-95. Battier had a big game for the Heat off the bench, scoring 14 points on 4-for-4 shooting from behind the arc. He will be one of the first men off of the Miami bench this season.
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    Austin Rivers, New Orleans Pelicans
    : Rivers comes into his sophomore season fully healthy after a hand injury prematurely ended a rough rookie campaign. It has been universally reported that Rivers improved over the summer, but he has competition for minutes off the bench in Tyreke Evans, Anthony Morrow and Brian Roberts. When Rivers plays he'll see time at both guard spots.
  • Lance Thomas, New Orleans Pelicans: Thomas was waived by the Pelicans over the summer, but returned to the team on a non-guaranteed contract and made the team in training camp. Thomas won't play as prominent a role in New Orleans as he has in the past, but he is a favorite of the coaching staff and will get his chance eventually.
There are some Duke alumni who either moved on from the NBA this summer or failed to crack opening day rosters in training camp.
  • Seth Curry: Curry agreed to a contract with the Golden State Warriors—brother Stephen's team—after going undrafted, but was among the final cuts. Curry is expected to report to Golden State's D-League affiliate to be groomed as a point guard.
  • Chris Duhon: The market for Duhon remained quiet all offseason after he struggled with the Los Angeles Lakers last season. His name may pop up if teams find themselves in need of a point guard later on.
  • Grant Hill: Hill announced his retirement from the NBA following the conclusion of the 2012-13 season. He played 18 seasons in the NBA after leaving Duke.
  • Dahntay Jones: Dahntay Jones went to training camp with the Chicago Bulls, but could not crack the final roster. A known defensive quantity, Jones could get a look later this season.
  • Corey Maggette: Maggette got a shot at making the San Antonio Spurs final roster, but the Spurs ultimately decided to move in a different direction. Maggette may now retire from the NBA and pursue front office positions.
  • Shavlik Randolph: Randolph was a surprise for the Boston Celtics last season, but he was not brought back for this season. Randolph agreed to a deal with the Fashon Long Lions in China earlier this month.
  • Nolan Smith: Smith had an invitation to the Boston Celtics' training camp, but instead decided to take his talents to Europe and play for Cedevita Zagreb in Croatia.


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