After the exit of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, David Duke Jr. was the lone member of the Nets organization to spend time in Utah during the All-Star Break, playing in the G League’s All-Star game, “Next Up,” at the University of Utah last weekend.
Duke did well, scoring eight points, grabbing five rebounds, and stealing the ball three times, playing for Team Scoot, named for Scoot Henderson, the G League’s Team Ignite star and likely No. 2 pick in the June Draft. One of the more exciting moments of the game took place on a fastbreak when Duke went between his legs on an alley-oop to Henderson, who finished with a one-handed slam. (You can find it at 1:50 of Team Scoot’s highlight reel.)
Duke, in his second year as a Nets two-way player, told NetsDaily he was honored to play in the big game.
“When you get selected for things like that, it is definitely an honor,” Duke said. “You play this game, you want to be the greatest at it. Stuff like this that comes along in your career serves as a reminder that you’re on the right path, and it adds some motivation to get back to All Star weekend, especially with the big dogs. Overall, the atmosphere was great.”
Now though, the 6’4” swingman has his sights set on a bigger prize.
“We just want to win a championship,” Duke said talking about the Long Island Nets. “We want to be the best team in the league and stay on the path of growing every single day, playing selflessly, and having fun with it.”
And they have a chance. They’re easily the best team in the G League, with an 18-3 regular season record and winners of 12 straight. Duke is Long Island’s most consistent player. He is currently 12th in scoring and seventh in steals, defense being his strength and his ticket to the NBA.
The Nets, riding a four-game lead in the Eastern Conference, have many promising players on the team that include the likes of the Nets other two-way, Dru Smith, Jordan Bowden, Alondes Williams, Kaiser Gates and Chris Chiozza. But out of all the talent the organization possesses, Duke has generated the biggest strides in his game that has put both the G-League and NBA on notice. With an average of 22.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and nearly two steals, he’s been critical to the team’s success, as his highlight reel shows...
In Long Island’s last game vs. the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on Wednesday, Duke Jr. was connecting on all cylinders. Scoring a team-high 24 points on several ferocious fastbreak dunks, Duke led the way for the Nets en route to a 122-102 victory at Nassau Coliseum.
Duke of course is also on the Brooklyn roster and although he has spending most of his time out on the island, he has had two double-digit games for the big club, scoring 11 vs. the Wizards on November 4 and 10 vs. the Mavs a week before.
He still spends a lot of time with his Brooklyn teammates and was recently featured in a Nets video along with Day’Ron Sharpe as they discussed everything from video games to like in the L...
Duke had hoped to get a guaranteed minimum deal with the Nets or another team back in training camp but instead decided to give it another shot in the G League.
“On the personal level, I just want to win,” he said. “At the NBA level, hopefully things fall into place, God willing. I just want to do my part for both Long Island and Brooklyn.”
The absence of KD and Kyrie will ultimately to lead a lot of chances for the team’s young players and Duke, at 23, could be in the midst of an opportunity that will suit him well. Moreover, his time in the G League is giving him and his talents a showcase.
In the meantime, he’ll be working towards that G League ring. He’ll be in Austin, Texas, Sunday night as Long Island plays the Spurs’ G League affiliate in hopes of recording its 13th straight win. G League post-season begins March 28.