6’3″, 191 pounds
Duval is a physical specimen with elite, quick twitch athleticism. He beats his man off of the dribble with ease. He uses his great first step and tight ball handling to maneuver through opposing defenses. Duval has every move in his bag of tricks, from spins to in-and-outs to the basic double crossover. He has great instincts and great body control in mid-air. His touch on runners and short shots is excellent.
Duval is a very good passer, with good vision in the open court, and great vision in the half court. He is adept at driving to the hole and kicking to shooters or dumping off to big men under the basket. Duval usually makes the smart play and is very patient in the half court. He got much better with this as the season progressed. Despite his poor shooting ability, he is shooting at a surprising 35.3% clip in conference play.
He has all of the tools to be an elite perimeter defender. His unreal 7’0″ wingspan matches that of Marvin Bagley III and DeAndre Ayton. He is long, quick, and stays in front of his man well. His hands are fairly quick, 2.8 steals per 100, and is a chase down block threat. He has significant defensive upside.
Duval’s most glaring weakness is his lack of a three-point shot, 29.6% from three this year, and it was much worse at the beginning of the season. His mechanics are off a bit; his shot lacks good balance. Duval is turnover prone at times, 20.6 TOV%; he occasionally tries to make the spectacular pass instead of the easy one.
He struggles to finish through contact consistently, and finish against long and strong defenders. Duval often tries to go around the defender with a fancy scoop layup, wildly missing, as opposed to using his explosiveness to finish strong. He often avoids contact when driving to the hole. Duval is a poor free throw shooter, 59.6%. He occasionally gives low effort on defense and takes some plays off. When shooting off of the dribble, his mechanics change, and he is off balance.
Best NBA Fits
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs project to pick somewhere towards the top of the non-lottery teams. San Antonio’s offense is filled with motion and cutting, and Duval’s athleticism and basketball IQ will make him proficient as a cutter. The Spurs are devoid of young talent in the backcourt. Besides Dejounte Murray, their backcourt is filled with the likes of Patty Mills, Danny Green, Many Ginobili, and Tony Parker. Drafting Duval would infuse some talent and electricity into the guard spot, and Tony Parker would be an excellent mentor to the young Blue Devil.
The Suns will have two picks towards the middle of the first round from the Bucks and the Heat. They could gamble on Duval here; this is likely the highest any team will take him. Phoenix does not have a point guard for the future, they have Elfrid Payton, Tyler Ulis, and Brandon Knight. None of these have significant upside to be great NBA point guards; the closest is Payton. Duval plays a bit like a more athletic Payton. Drafting another point guard who cannot shoot could be seen as redundant, but his ability to do so many other things well may entice Phoenix to take a flyer on him.
Indiana’s point guard rotation consists of Darren Collison and Cory Joseph, both two of the best role players in the NBA. Collison is on the wrong side of 30, and his contract makes him expendable. Duval and Victor Oladipo would create maybe the most athletic backcourt in the NBA, allowing the Pacers to run and gun with the best of the NBA. The Pacers are a top 10 three point shooting team in the NBA (37%), so losing some shooting from Duval is something that the Pacers could afford.
Duval came into his freshman year at Duke as the top point guard in his class but was outshone by the likes of Trae Young, Collin Sexton, and even Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. However, Duval has improved massively since the beginning of the season, and, remember, is only 19. A lot of the dumb mistakes should sort themselves out as he matures. His lack of a three-point shot will greatly hurt him in an era where teams are shooting more and more threes. He won’t be able to beat defenders sagging off of him on the next level. If Duval can get to be around a 35% three-point shooter in the NBA, he could be a star. But if his jumper never comes around. A solid starter may be his ceiling.
Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_, @FPC_NBA and @FPC_Colts.