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Can Duke Beat the Cavs?

Arguably the best team in the NCAA, but can they take down an NBA team?

With Duke smashing the number two team in the nation, Kentucky, a lot of people have been saying that the Blue Devils are talented enough to take on even the Cavs of the NBA. The question is, can they?

Duke F Zion Williamson


To be quite honest, I think that that statement is just outright disrespectful. To think an NCAA team could take on a professional just shouts disrespect to me. Yes, Duke is an outstanding team and very much has the potential to win the tournament in March. BUT they cannot match up with an NBA team.

One of the biggest arguments for me is the bench. Yes, Duke's starting lineup is a nightmare for matchups. Zion Williamson dropped 28 points in his first game, Cam Reddish with 22 and RJ Barrett with 33. The Duke Big Three will easily be first round picks in the upcoming draft. Even Zion is being compared to LeBron James... a little early to say, I think, but just to even be considered means that this kid is something else. Zion weighs more than most NBA players, but he also moves better than lots of NBA players. Zion Williamson is an absolute freak of nature. 

If it was 5v5, starting lineup and no bench, then yes, I think the Duke starting 5 could put up a fight against certain NBA teams. But, an actual game? No way. The bench of a college team is not deep enough to compete with the NBA. You need to remember that NBA bench players, at some point in their career, they were in the same position these Duke starters were in. Every player in the NBA, at some point, was a star in college. But not every college player is a star. Only a very small handful of them, and if you take the small handfuls, year by year, you get the NBA. The Cavs bench would CRUSH the Duke bench.

Cavs G Collin Sexton and Cavs F Larry Nance Jr.

Another question I have is, why pick the Cavs? I mean, they aren't the best team in the league, but they certainly aren't the worst either. Think of some of the players they've got right now: Kevin Love, JR Smith, Tristan Thompson, Kyle Korver, George Hill, etc... These guys are GOOD players. Yeah the Cleveland system sucks and the players aren't doing so hot, but remember who these players are. 

NBA teams are not only deeper than college teams, but they are bigger, faster and stronger too. I'm speaking for all NBA teams when I say that the college teams would be outrun, out-rebounded, and outscored by any NBA team. 

Another thing you have to factor in, is experience. Most of these college kids, especially at Duke, are freshmen. They were playing high school ball last year, while these NBA teams, specifically the Cavs, have played in four straight NBA finals and even won one of them. Experience is such a big factor when playing. Maybe one game would be different, but if it were in a best-of-7 series, there is no way Duke could take down the Cavs.

Fatigue would also be a small factor. These college kids are used to playing two 20-minute halves, whereas the Cavs are playing 48 minutes a night. I know that doesn't seem like a lot, but over time, like a 7-game series for example, wears down your body if you're not prepared for it.

The one advantage Duke has though, is coaching. Coach K is a fantastic coach and his system has worked for decades. Now the Cavs coaching staff isn't the greatest and it's evident in their record right now, so they would be at a disadvantage there. However, the talent of the Cavs would still out perform the Blue Devils.

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski

So, to conclude, no. The Duke Blue Devils could not take down the Cleveland Cavaliers. As I said, I find it disrespectful to say that a college team could take down an NBA team, especially a team experienced as the Cavs. Paul Pierce even stated that Duke could take down Cleveland, but I don't agree. Paul, you may have been a fantastic player, but you are wrong about this. Sorry.

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