Duke has long been a powerhouse in college basketball with great players, but who are the 10 best Duke players in the NBA? College talent does not always translate to NBA talent. Over the years 73 have been drafted from Duke, 28 in the first round, and 51 of those became regular players. In choosing who are the 10 best Duke players in the NBA, we considered overall impact on their team and the league.
- Grant Hill (1994 – present), who was starting his 15th season in 2010, is a fairly easy choice to top our list. He made a splash immediately in 1995, sharing rookie of the year honors his first season with Detroit. Over the next 14 seasons he was continually one of the top players in the league, making the all-star team several times. Hill leads these categories: points scored, steals, assists, turnovers, defensive rebounds, free throws attempted (second in converted), field goals, minutes played and games started.
- Jeff Mullins (1964-1976) has to be included near the top of the 10 best Duke players in the NBA. Mullins is the third highest scorer in the NBA among Duke players with 13,071 points over 12 seasons. Mullins is also the all time leading scorer in the playoffs among Duke players He was part of the Golden State championship team of '74-'75.
- Christian Laettner (1992-2005) is another of the top 10 Duke players in the NBA, who is listed as much for his consistency and longevity as anything. Laettner is the sixth highest scoreer in the NBA among Duke players with 11,481 points over his 13 year career with six different teams. Laettner also has the fourth-most playoff points among Duke players.
- Danny Ferry (1990-2003) fled to play in Europe rather than play with the L.A. Clippers out of college in 1989. He played 13 years in the NBA and was part of the San Antonio championship of 2003. He is one of only two Duke players to have a championship ring. Only Jeff Mullins played in more playoff games among the best 10 Duke players in the NBA.
- Elton Brand (1999 – present) was a Duke star who seemed to continue his career in the NBA by picking up where he left off in college. He averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per game in his rookie season with Chicago in the post-Michael Jordan era. He has been an all star twice, and has played with the Clippers and 76ers. He is the second leading scorer in the NBA among the 10 best Duke players in the NBA with 13,616 points.
- Johnny Dawkins (1986-1995) is a point guard and among the 10 best Duke players in the NBA. Over 10 seasons he played with San Antonio, Phildelphia and Detroit. Dawkins is third in assists among former Duke players, and 14th in scoring and fifth in steals.
- Bob Verga (1967-1973) would be higher among the 10 best Duke players in the NBA except for the fact that most of his years of pro basketball were in the ABA before it merged into the NBA. Verga averaged 20 points per game in each of his seasons in the NBA and has the highest single season scoring mark of any former Duke player, scoring 2,258 in 1969.
- Mike Gminski (1980-1994) had 14 solid, even if not spectacular, seasons in the NBA. Over his career he averaged 11.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. he is most remembered for his career 84.3 free throw percentage, which is unusual for a big man, at 6'11.
- Corey Maggette (1999 – present) has had a solid career, averaging more than 20 points in three of his 11 NBA seasons. He is the fifth highest scorer from Duke and is in the top 10 in rebounding, both offensively and defensively.
- Jack Marin (1966-1977) is the fourth highest scorer from Duke with 12,541 points. He is fifth in number of games played, and is second in number of point scored in the playoffs, making seven appearances in post season play.
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