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Duke in the NBA: Regular season gets underway

The Nets are expected to contend for an NBA championship, with Kyrie Irving being a major reason why.
The Nets are expected to contend for an NBA championship, with Kyrie Irving being a major reason why.

The first three weeks of the 2020-21 NBA season came at the perfect time, as Duke went through an extended period between contests itself. Outside of the bubble, the NBA has done well to manage COVID-19 thus far, providing games full of excitement and Jayson Tatum game-winners. Former Blue Devils have come out in full force across the league. The Blue Zone has you covered with a new edition of Duke in the NBA:

Kyrie Irving, PG, Brooklyn Nets

Despite missing the last two games for personal reasons, Kyrie Iriving has been incredible so far this season. He is averaging 27.1 points per game, along with 6.1 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals.  In a blowout win against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday, Irving put up 29 points on 12-for-19 shooting in just 30 minutes of play.  Although sitting at just 4-4 this season, Brooklyn is proving to be one of the best teams in the league when Irving and Kevin Durant play together.  Now much healthier than he was last season, Irving should be at his best for the duration of the year. 

Jayson Tatum, SF, Boston Celtics

This season, the former third overall pick is already in MVP talk. At just 22 years old, Tatum is doing things like a seasoned veteran. He has multiple game winners already, and shows no signs of slowing down. He’s averaging over 26 points per game and is a scorching hot 45.1% on three-pointers. In his most recent game against the Wizards, Tatum put up 32 points and 5 rebounds while leading Boston to its seventh win of the season. The Celtics are looking to bounce back from their loss to the Heat in last year's Eastern Conference Finals, and if Tatum keeps playing like this, there’s no reason to believe they don’t have a shot to go one step further in the playoffs. 

Brandon Ingram, SF, New Orleans Pelicans

Ingram followed up his Most Improved Player year by starting out as the Western Conference’s Player of the Week for the first week this season. So far, he’s averaging just under 25 points per game while leading a very young team to a 4-4 record. His field goal percentage and three-point percentage are both below his career averages thus far, showing that he still has room to grow. The Pelicans have slowed down, losing their last three games. If New Orleans hopes to improve on last season, Ingram will have to keep up his strong play, as well as hope for some help from fellow former Blue Devils Zion Williamson and JJ Reddick.  

Seth Curry, SG, Philadelphia 76ers

Seth Curry has been incredible to start this season. He is shooting lights out from behind three-point line, at an astounding 59.5%. This record-high percentage, when considering the volume at which he shoots, has justified the 76ers trading young wingJosh Richardson to acquire Curry in the offseason. Curry is averaging 17 points per game, and the 76ers are first in the East at 7-3. While he is not the first, second or third option for the team, his ability to space the floor and draw defenders out to the arc allows for his star teammates to take over. Curry has proved to be an essential part of a very good Philly team. 

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