NBA Players

10 Best Duke Basketball Players In The NBA

By Kapil Sapkota / 3 July 2023 04:21 PM

Image: NBA players from Duke
Source : ncaa

Best Duke basketball players in the NBA are Grant Hill, Quinn Cook, Jeff Mullins, and more. Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum along with others also share the list.

Duke is always full of talented players. It is one of the most winning schools in college basketball history. Duke has been four times national champion. Duke made it to 10 championship games and 15 Final Fours with an NCAA Best.

National Player of the Year lists 11 players from Duke. 71 players have been successfully selected in the NBA draft after Mike Krzyzewski enrolled as the head coach of Duke.

John Scheyer has taken the responsibility of coaching for the Duke Blue Devils since 2022 after the retirement of Krzyzewski.

Grant Hill

Image: Grant Hill - the best Duke basketball player in the NBA
Source : si

The best Duke player of all time is Grant Hill. Duke has so many competitive players who definitely are not the less. However, he is someone whom people always take into account while discussing the best Duke players.

The American basketball athlete was born in 1972 and played for four NBA teams in his career: The Detroit Pistons, The Orlando Magic, The Phoenix Suns, and The Los Angeles Clippers. He is a co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks.

In 2018, Grant was inducted into The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Bill was a five-time All-NBA selection and a seven-time NBA All-Star. He won NBA Sportsmanship Award 3 times.

In 1993, the Duke star won the Defensive Player of the Year award. Hill became the 1994 ACC Player of the Year, a two-time NCAA All-American, and a two-time NCAA champion.

In his first six seasons in the NBA, Hill averaged 21.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game. The player announced his retirement from the NBA on June 1, 2013.

Quinn Cook

Image: Quinn Cook in Lakers jersey
Source : latimes

Quinn Cook was born in 1993 in Washington DC, USA. He won two NBA Championships while he played for the Golden State Warriors in 2018 and Los Angeles Lakers in 2020. Cook also played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the New Orleans Pelicans, and the Dallas Mavericks.

Cook's high school career started as he played his freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland.

Quinn scored 7 points and passed for 2 assists in his first game when he debuted with the Blue Devils in 2011. Cook's career-high during his freshman season was 14 points, which he made against UNC Greensboro in 2011.

The player was undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft. He made his NBA debut with the Dallas Mavericks in 2017 as he signed a 10 days contract with them. He scored two points, two rebounds and two assists in a 96–89 win over the Miami Heat.

The athlete last played for the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) team, the Zhejiang Lions.

Jeff Mullins

Image: Jeff Mullins
Source : sfgate

Jeff Mullins is another basketball athlete from Duke who won NBA Championship. He also served as a basketball coach for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Mullins was born in 1942 in New York. He represented Duke Blue Devils when he was in college. Jeff played for the NBA teams St. Louis Hawks and Golden State Warriors. He averaged 21.9 points per game for his career after he attended Duke University in 1960 till 1964.

Mullins was named to the ACC 50th Anniversary men's basketball team in 2002 as one of the 50 greatest players in Atlantic Coast Conference history.

In the 1964 NBA draft, Mullins was selected by the St. Louis Hawks in the first round, 5th overall. After spending 2 not-so-good seasons with the Hawks, Jeff went with the Golden State Warriors and played the best season of his career.

The basketball star was selected as an NBA All-Star in 1969, 1970, and 1971. The Warriors won the Western Conference title and the 1975 NBA championship with his help. 

The United States Olympic basketball team won the gold in 1964. Mullins was also a member of the team.

Duke Players Currently in the NBA

Duke players currently in the NBA are Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, and Brandon Ingram. Mason Plumlee and Austin Rivers are also from Duke who are playing professionally for the NBA teams.

Kyrie Irving

Image: Kyrie in the Dallas Mavericks jersey
Source : cleveland

The American player Kyrie Andrew Irving was born in 1992 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He is a professional basketball player on a team of the National Basketball Association (NBA), Dallas Mavericks.

Kyrie was selected first overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers making him the Rookie of the Year. In 2016, he won an NBA championship with the Cavaliers which is an eight-time All-Star and three-time member of the All-NBA Team.

In the 2016 NBA Finals, Irving made the championship-winning three-point field goal against the Golden State Warriors to complete the Cavaliers' historic comeback. 

Irving was dealt to the Boston Celtics after another Finals appearance in 2017 and played 2 seasons for it. In 2019, he signed with Brooklyn Nets as a free agent. Irving was elected as one of the vice presidents of the National Basketball Players Association in 2020.

Jayson Tatum

Image: Jayson Tatum
Source : skysports

Jayson Christopher Tatum was born in 1998 in St. Louis, Missouri. The athlete plays for one of the NBA teams, the Boston Celtics. He played college basketball for the Duke Blue Devils in A McDonald's All-American in high school in Missouri.

In 2018, Tatum was voted to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. He was named the NBA Eastern Conference Finals Most Valuable Player in 2022 as he was a four-time NBA All-Star and three-time All-NBA selection. In 2020, Tatum won a gold medal on the U.S. Olympic team in Tokyo.

When Jayson debuted in his NBA match in 2017, in a 102–99 lost game against Cleveland Cavaliers, he recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds as the team's starting power forward. In a win over the New York Knicks on October 24, 2017, Tatum recorded a season-high 24 points.

Tatum became the youngest player to make 900 three-pointers in NBA history at the age of 24. He has set other multiple records in the NBA 2022-23 season.

Brandon Ingram

Image: Brandon Ingram
Source : nba

Brandon Xavier Ingram was born in 1997 in North Carolina, U.S. The professional basketball athlete is playing for an NBA team, the New Orleans Pelicans. In the 2016 NBA draft, he was selected as the second overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers.

At Kinston High School, the team won over Cuthbertson High School by three points to win the 2012 NCHSAA 2, which is a boys' basketball state championship. It took place during his freshman year.

Brandon was just 18 years old when he was selected by Los Angeles Lakers in the 2016 NBA Draft. In his debut match for the Lakers, Ingram scored nine points off the bench in a 120–114 win over the Houston Rockets.

On July 2019, New Orleans Pelicans signed Brandon. He was given the title of NBA Most Improved Player as he made an average of 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game.

Ingram re-signed with the Pelicans on a five-year contract for $158 after becoming a restricted free agent in the 2020 offseason.

Mason Plumlee

Image: Mason Plumlee
Source : nba

Plumlee was born in 1990 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S. He is playing for an NBA team Los Angeles Clippers. He played as a backup forward for the Duke Blue Devils men's basketball team's national championship team.

The Brooklyn Nets selected Plumlee in the 2013 NBA draft with the 22nd overall pick. In his debut match against Phoenix Suns, Masom scored 7 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists to win with 100-98.

Besides Los Angeles Clippers, Plumlee has played for Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, and Charlotte Hornets.

Austin Rivers

Image: Austin Rivers
Source : nba

Austin Rivers was born in 1992 in California. He is playing for Minnesota Timberwolves, an NBA team based in Minnesota.

Rivers played in Duke's exhibition games as a freshman in China and Dubai during a 2011 international tour.

New Orleans Hornets selected Rivers in the 2012 NBA draft with the 10th overall pick. Austin chose the same number #25 jersey his father wore when he was in the NBA. His debut match was against the San Antonio Spurs, where Rivers scored 7 points on 1-of-9 shooting in a 99–95 loss.

Besides Timberwolves, Austin has also played for New Orleans Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers, Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, and Denver Nuggets.

(The Duke players currently in the NBA along with their respective team is summarized here in the table.)

Duke Player's Name & PointsNBA Teams
Kyrie Irving (15,712 points)Dallas Mavericks
Jayson Tatum (9,865 points)Boston Celtics
Brandon Ingram (7,924 points)New Orleans Pelicans
Mason Plumlee (6,341 points)Los Angeles Clippers
Austin Rivers (5,996 points)Minnesota Timberwolves
RJ Barrett (4,900 points)New York Knicks
Seth Curry (4,806 points)Brooklyn Nets
Gary Trent Jr. (3,900 points)Toronto Raptors
Tyus Jones (3,630 points)Washington Wizards
Luke Kennard (3,512 points)Memphis Grizzlies
Wendell Carter Jr. (3,344 points)Orlando Magic
Zion Williamson (2,941 points)New Orleans Pelicans
Justise Winslow (2,829 points)Portland Trail Blazers
Marvin Bagley III (2,760 points)Detroit Pistons
Grayson Allen (2,556 points)Milwaukee Bucks

(Watch: 2022-23 Duke Blue Planet | 2023 NBA Draft Exclusive)

How Many Duke Players in the NBA?

There are 25 Duke players in the NBA as of the 2022-23 season. A total of 106 NBA Draft picks have been made so far from the entire Duke program to date.

Mike Krzyzewski became the head of the Duke in 1980. Since then, 73 players are selected in the NBA draft. Among them, 46 have been selected in the first round picks and 29 are taken in the lottery.

The first athlete to be selected in the NBA draft from Duke was Ed Koffenberger. He was drafted in 1947 by Philadelphia Warriors in the 4th round, 36 overall!

Five players from the Duke have been selected as the no. 1 overall pick, which is the maximum for any single college.