With experience playing as a major ballhandler for the Providence offense, David Duke should thrive off the extra space and lesser attention in the NBA to get the ball into the paint off closeouts and quick ball screens.
Despite losing 5 seniors from the 2019-20 Providence rotation, the Providence offense for the 2020-21 season has actually improved due to its ability to put the ball in David’s hands more and let him create. So far in 2020-21, David has had to create 68% of his field goal makes on his own, compared to only 46% of his FG makes on his own the previous season.
Even if the NBA led to a reduction in on ball load, the ability to put the ball on the floor and make a play is always a value add. For example, teams like the Utah Jazz have spent the past few years relying on having multiple players on the floor capable of running a quick pick and roll or Horns set to allow for offensive versatility and unpredictability.
If there is a worry for David as a ballhandler, it is potentially his struggles finishing around the rim. However, many of those finishing struggles can be attributed to needing the time to gain strength. The willingness to absorb contact has already shined with a very solid free throw rate of .366 and added strength will only help it shine more. Plus, the added space and lightened responsibilities of a NBA role have a very good chance of leading to improved finishing as well, as this graph done by Joseph Nation shows below:
With a love for throwing touch passes whether as post entries, fastbreak outlets, or crosscourt skips, David Duke’s court vision, awareness, and unselfishness will allow him to thrive in the faster pace and more complex schemes of the NBA. David currently is in the top 10 in the Big East for assist rate and the most prolific assister in the conference for any player his height or taller. The extra height, compared to most good passers, allows for David to have more angles to better lead his passing targets into open spaces for scoring.
The ability to not only keep the ball moving crisply and harmoniously but also find the incisive passing read at the right moment will let David find almost no offense he won’t be able to fit in and aid. If David found himself on a team with a dominant low post presence such as the Philadelphia Sixers, he can make the post entries comfortably. If he found himself on a team with athletes that love to race down the floor in transition like the Toronto Raptors, David can launch outlets with ease. If David finds himself on a team that wants implement heavy amounts of dribble handoffs, pitch passes, and weaving in a 5 out offense like the Minnesota Timberwolves, David can flow with the timing based reads and exploit the space.
David Duke has shown comfort not just as a stationary catch and shoot option, but also as a quick dribble pullup option off closeouts and late clock scenarios as well as even a danger off relocations, pindowns, and flares. The high release at 6’5″ and the deep range will make shot contests hard to bother him in the NBA.
As a career 37.8% three point shooter and 77.2% free throw shooter at Providence, David has also demonstrated an ability to improve his shooting every year as this junior year season has David shooting a career high 83.1% from the free throw line and a blistering 41.2% from deep despite having to take nearly half of his threes as pull-ups now. Joseph Nation also has done statistical modeling to empirically prove David’s shooting is here to stay: