Duke Basketball: Blue Devils' Best Situational Lineups in 2013-14

David Aldridge@davidmaldridgeFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2013

Duke Basketball: Blue Devils' Best Situational Lineups in 2013-14

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    With one of the deepest rosters in the country, Mike Krzyzewski has many options for lineups he can use with this year’s Duke basketball team.

    Although the Blue Devils haven’t relied on their depth as much as many fans were hoping leading up to the season, this year’s squad still has the potential to create mismatches and opportunities because of the different lineup possibilities.

    The following list looks at Duke’s best situational lineups for the 2013-14 season.

Best Uptempo Lineup

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    Quinn Cook, Andre Dawkins, Rodney Hood, Jabari Parker, Amile Jefferson

    Based on the comments Mike Krzyzewski made in the preseason about this year’s team being similar to what he’s done as the head coach of the Olympic team, it looked like this would be Duke’s most effective lineup as the Blue Devils would try to run at every opportunity.

    However, because of defensive and rebounding issues, Duke hasn’t run as much as was expected.

    Still, there’s no question this lineup is loaded with athleticism and playmakers who would be incredibly difficult to stop in transition.

    The driving ability of Parker, Hood and Cook combined with the perimeter shooting of Dawkins would make this a lethal offensive lineup.

Best Defensive Lineup

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    Tyler Thornton, Matt Jones, Rodney Hood, Jabari Parker, Josh Hairston

    Defense has been one of the biggest problems for Duke this season.

    To help find a solution to this problem, Mike Krzyzewski has inserted some of his stronger defensive players, particularly Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston, into the lineup on a more regular basis

    It’s unlikely that Duke would use this lineup because it puts so much offensive pressure on Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood, but Thornton, Jones and Hairston all have the ability to give the team a lift because of their physical defensive presence.

    However, some combination of the lineup will continue to find minutes as Coach K usually looks to reward players who can contribute defensively.

Best Lineup to Deal with Size

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    Quinn Cook, Matt Jones, Rodney Hood, Jabari Parker, Marshall Plumlee

    The question of how Duke responds to bigger teams is an interesting one because it could be a situation where the Blue Devils force the opposition to adjust.

    If Duke can use a smaller lineup to attack bigger teams with quicker, more athletic players, it can take a team out of its game plan.

    If Duke is forced to go to a bigger lineup to neutralize the opposition, this is the group that provides the best chance for success.

    Marshall Plumlee has played limited minutes this season, but he showed in the win over Michigan that he can provide good energy and rebounding in the paint, and his size makes him a formidable presence.

Best Lineup to Attack the Basket

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    Quinn Cook, Rasheed Sulaimon, Rodney Hood, Jabari Parker, Amile Jefferson

    With this group of players on the court, Duke has five guys who can attack the basket off the dribble and finish at the rim.

    Quinn Cook is the primary playmaker, but Rasheed Sulaimon, Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker all have the ability to create as well.

    Once any of these guys draws an extra defender in the paint, Amile Jefferson has shown the hands that make him a great fit to capitalize by finding the space left by the help defender.

    When this group can develop consistently on both ends of the court, this is likely Duke’s most talented lineup.

Best Lineup in the Clutch

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    Quinn Cook, Rasheed Sulaimon, Rodney Hood, Jabari Parker, Amile Jefferson

    Unlike some of the other favorites to reach the Final Four this season, Duke has the luxury of not being entirely dependent on inexperienced freshmen in a game’s biggest moments.

    Jabari Parker may be Duke’s best player and the primary offensive option in most situations, but he also has a talented supporting cast around him that has been in big moments before.

    Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon both played well in tough games last year, and Rodney Hood is very experienced for being a first-year player for the Blue Devils.

    When this team finds itself in tough situations later in the season, this lineup should be ready for the challenge.