2022 NBA Draft: Duke’s AJ Griffin turns professional after overcoming knee damage and ending freshman 12 months robust


Duke wing AJ Griffin introduced Sunday he’s declaring for the NBA Draft after a standout freshman season with the Blue Devils. Griffin earned ACC All-Rookie Crew honors and ranked among the many nation’s prime freshmen all season whereas serving to Duke win an ACC title and attain the Remaining 4.

Griffin entered Duke as a five-star prospect however began sluggish as he labored his method again from a preseason knee damage. However Griffin turned one of many nation’s most deadly outdoors shooters because the season progressed. He ended the season taking pictures 44.7% from past the arc. In convention video games, that mark was other-worldly 48.9%.

For a Duke workforce that misplaced its prime perimeter shooters from the 2020-21 season with the departures of Matthew Damage and DJ Steward, Griffin’s emergence and taking pictures consistency have been essential on the workforce’s journey to a 32-7 document in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s remaining season. Griffin completed the 12 months averaging 12.6 factors and 4.5 rebounds whereas taking pictures 50.6% from the ground total.

AJ Griffin’s NBA Draft projection 

Griffin already has a reasonably vital damage historical past for a younger participant, and which may be a supply of concern for NBA groups. However his 6-foot-6 body and 3-point prowess are tantalizing. Griffin has all of the makings of a prototypical “3 and D” participant on the subsequent degree. He went No. 9 to the Spurs in Kyle Boone’s most up-to-date mock draft and ranks No. 7 on Boone’s Massive Board.

“At Duke, Griffin took a backseat ceaselessly to Wendell Moore and fellow one-and-done expertise Banchero,” Boone wrote. “He was inconsistent, which was not sudden after beginning the 12 months injured. Nonetheless, the flashes of stardom he confirmed in spurts ought to simply get him into the lottery. Nice 3-point shooter, robust body and positionally can match into nearly any roster together with his defensive potential, taking pictures and creation.”

Affect on Duke

As first-year coach Jon Scheyer inherits this system from the legendary Mike Krzyzewski, he’ll possible be coping with an overhauled roster. Griffin is only one of a number of Blue Devils from the 2021-22 roster who may leaving to pursue skilled careers. As a former Duke participant and assistant whose seen substantial roster turnover earlier than, Scheyer seems geared up to deal with the transition.

Duke has the nation’s No. 1 signing class locked in. The group is highlighted by three of the highest 5 gamers within the class in Dereck Vigorous II, Kyle Filipowski and Dariq Whitehead. The Blue Devils could also be among the many nation’s youngest groups once more subsequent season, however they may also be among the many most-talented despite what they’re prone to lose within the draft. Nonetheless, changing Griffin’s 3-point taking pictures prowess will not be straightforward.

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