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Duke men's basketball 2019-20 player preview: Jordan Goldwire

<p>Goldwire sparked the Blue Devils in multiple games last year with his defensive prowess.</p>

Goldwire sparked the Blue Devils in multiple games last year with his defensive prowess.

Jordan Goldwire

Year: Junior

Height: 6-foot-2

Last year's statline: 0.9 PPG, 0.7 APG,  8.6 MPG

Game Breakdown: For much of the the 2018-2019 season, Jordan Goldwire's role on the team was incredibly limited. Despite his athleticism and knack for defense, his underwhelming offensive game made finding him a role on the team next to Tre Jones, another defensive-minded point guard, difficult.

Still, there were moments when Goldwire heard his number called. In the waning minutes of games where Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski wanted to give Jones some rest, the then-sophomore got some burn. When the Blue Devils' starting point guard went out with an shoulder injury against Syracuse, Goldwire saw his usage increase as he split time running the point with R.J. Barrett.

However, the real breakout for Goldwire came when Duke was staring down the barrel of a staggering loss to Louisville on the road. Down 23 points with just over nine minutes left, Krzyzewski seemingly made a Hail Mary adjustment in subbing the Norcross, Ga., native in the game with Jones to try and force the stops needed to give the Blue Devils a fighting chance.

And lo and behold, Krzyzewski's gamble worked.

Goldwire hounded their ball-handlers relentlessly, completely grounding the Cardinals' offensive gameplan and giving Duke enough extra possessions to surge back for the unlikely victory. Following his Louisville performance, Goldwire became a constant face off the bench when Duke needed to shut down a particularly crafty backcourt, and played double-digit minutes in four of the Blue Devils' seven postseason games. 

Despite having a nearly nonexistent offensive presence last season—Goldwire shot 12.0 percent from three with just 30 points total for the year—the junior point guard's defense is one of the best for this year's crop of Blue Devils, and that skill will earn him minutes if Duke desperately needs a stop.

Role on the team: Goldwire is a defensive specialist first and foremost, with the athleticism to defend both guards and wings easily off of switches. Expect Krzyzewski to sub Goldwire in when he needs to either give Jones a break, or Duke is having trouble with an opponent's backcourt.

However, despite his defensive acumen, Goldwire's nonexistent offense makes it difficult to see consistent floor time on this year's team.

Last year, the Blue Devils were able to hide Goldwire's weaknesses on offense with the talent and explosiveness of Barrett and Zion Williamson. Although freshmen Vernon Carey Jr. and Matthew Hurt project to be Duke's primary offensive drivers, the jury is still out as to whether they would be able to take over a game enough to let Duke sacrifice offensive production and put Goldwire on the floor.

The one silver lining for the Blue Devil junior is that his offense may have improved over the last offseason. In Duke's Blue and White scrimmage, Goldwire posted eight points and four assists while playing behind Carey and Cassius Stanley. Although those numbers don't necessarily jump off the page, they could indicate much-needed improvement.

NBA Comparison: Although this comparison definitely projects high, Goldwire's ability to shut down top talent without providing much scoring himself is reminiscent of Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo. Although Rondo's passing and playmaking represent areas where Goldwire can definitely stand to improve, the Duke junior is still of the same breed of defensive-minded guards Rondo embodies.

 Projected Stats: 2.4 PPG, 2.0 APG, 9.4 MPG 

Stay tuned to the Blue Zone for our continuing player previews. Previous players previewed include Michael Savarino, Keenan Worthington, Mike Buckmire and Justin Robinson.

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