With the NBA Finals beginning Thursday, many former Blue Devils have wrapped up their seasons. The Blue Zone takes a look at some impact players this postseason:
It is worth noting that former Duke forward Jack White is on the Denver Nuggets team advancing to the NBA Finals. White averaged 1.2 points and 1.0 rebounds per game in 17 games this season, but has yet to see the floor in the postseason. Here are how some key Blue Devils fared during their respective playoff runs.
The Duke product was one of the standouts of this NBA postseason, leading his Boston Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals. Throughout the playoffs, Tatum averaged 27.2 points per game on 45.8% shooting in 20 games. The superstar also contributed on other aspects, hauling in 10.5 rebounds per game along with dishing out 5.3 assists per game. Tatum’s dominance was fully on display during Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, where he torched the Sixers to the tune of 51 points, the most ever by a player in a Game 7. Unfortunately, Tatum’s sixth year in the Association had a sour ending, as the All-NBA first-teamer sustained an ankle injury on the opening possession of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat, severely limiting his impact and sending Boston home. The St. Louis native has established himself as one of the best players in the league once again, and now resides in the history books after putting up the best Game 7 performance ever recorded. Boston will likely be a title contender annually as long as the former Blue Devil continues to shine.
In his fourth year with the New York Knicks, Barrett was a key cog in helping the Knicks advance past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in a decade. During 11 games in the playoffs, the former Duke standout averaged 19.3 points per game on 43.3% shooting, a large improvement from his 2020-21 playoff run where he averaged 14.4 points and shot 38.8% from the field. Barrett’s scoring prowess was especially on display during the Knicks’ second-round matchup with the Miami Heat, where he scored at least 24 points in four of the six games of the series. Although New York was bounced by Miami, who is now in the NBA Finals, Barrett will be a key piece for a rapidly improving Knicks team moving forward.
In his one series in this year’s playoffs, Memphis guard Tyus Jones once again proved his value as one of the premier backup point guards in the NBA. During six games against the Lakers, Jones was a steady veteran presence in the backcourt, dishing out 3.7 assists per game while only surrendering 1.3 turnovers per game. The former Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four especially had to step up when starting point guard Ja Morant was out for Game 2 due to a hand injury. Thrust into a starting role, Jones delivered, tallying ten points, dishing out eight assists and only turning the ball over once. Despite a disappointing run in the playoffs, the Grizzlies will likely be big players in the Western Conference next season, and Jones will be an important contributor to his Memphis squad, especially with a possible suspension to Morant.
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