With the 2018-19 season playing out, the Blue Zone checks in on former Blue Devils on NBA teams.
JJ Redick, Philadelphia 76ers
Some players somehow just get better as they age, and JJ Redick seems to fit that bill perfectly. Despite only starting in 12 of his 25 games this season—the first time he’s been placed into a bench role since the 2013-14 season—the Cookeville, Tenn. native is on pace for a career-high 18.4 points per game. If Redick keeps that current pace, he would become the oldest player in NBA history to set a career-high in scoring, given that player has played more than five seasons in the NBA and appeared in more than one game during the given season. And as the 76ers continue to be a force in the Eastern Conference, expect to see Redick lighting up the scoreboard deep into next spring.
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
With the return of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, the Celtics have struggled sharing the ball en route to a 13-10 start. And after leading the team in scoring during Boston’s playoff run last May, Tatum’s role in the offense has been particularly tricky. But the St. Louis, Mo. native has still managed to pace himself for career-highs in nearly every statistic, upping his scoring average from 13.9 to 16.3 points per game while adding 6.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists as well. Furthemore, following a slow October in which Tatum shot only 40.4 percent from the floor and 28.6 percent from three, the former third overall pick picked himself out of that slump to shoot 46.6 percent from the floor and 45.5 percent from downtown in November. Tatum should only become more comfortable with his role as the season progresses, and don’t be surprised if he returns to nearby Charlotte for his first career All-Star berth.
Quinn Cook, Golden State Warriors
After capping off his collegiate career with an NCAA championship in 2015, Quinn Cook had a slow start to his NBA career. The Oak Hill Academy product went undrafted and appeared in only 14 NBA games over his first two professional seasons. But when Stephen Curry went down with a knee injury last March, Cook stepped in and proved that he’s a more than capable NBA role player, averaging 9.5 points per game over 33 contests while shooting 48.4 percent from the floor and 44.2 percent from three. And the Washington, D.C. native didn’t take his foot off the gas when inserted into the starting lineup for an injured Curry yet again this season. Over the month of November, Cook averaged 13.1 points over 26 minutes per game, all the while shooting 47.9 percent from the floor and 46.9 percent from beyond the arc. Expect Cook to build a solid NBA career as an above average backup point-guard.
Jabari Parker, Chicago Bulls
Jabari Parker has struggled with injuries thus far in his NBA career, playing in more than 51 games just once out of his first four years in The Association. But in his first season in the Windy City, Parker is finally healthy again and playing the way Duke fans remember him during his lone year in Durham. The 2014 ACC Rookie of the Year is averaging 16.4 points per game—the second highest mark of his career—while posting a career-best 7.4 rebounds per contest. Despite his success, the return of Lauri Markkanen will send Parker back to a reserve role after starting in 17 of his 25 games thus far. Nevertheless, the Chicago, Ill. native will still be an important piece off the bench for his hometown Bulls.
Grayson Allen, Utah Jazz
Allen’s NBA career got off to a quicker start than many expected, as the former Blue Devil notched 11 points in just his fourth appearance and made his first career start two contests later. But the Jacksonville, Fla. native has slowed down since, playing in above five minutes only five more times. Overall, Allen has averaged 4.6 points per game on a meager 34.5 percent shooting from the floor over 14 contests in Utah. And last Monday, the Jazz sent Allen down to the G-League, where he posted 26 points—including four 3-pointers—in the Salt Lake City Stars’ 117-77 victory. The first-round-pick is set to play in another game for the Stars Wednesday and seems to be bouncing between them and the Jazz for the time being.