Predicting the 2021-22 Duke basketball starting lineup

Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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Predicted 2021-22 Duke basketball starting center: Mark Williams

In addition to putting on the team’s least dismal individual performance against the Tar Heels last time out, Mark Williams has arguably become Duke’s most consistent overall threat — when factoring in defense — across the overall disappointing final stretch of the regular season.

Granted, his freshman averages of 6.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks aren’t eye-popping. So be it, but he’s come across as relatively great and surprisingly advanced as of late. That’s particularly been the case in the most recent four-game stretch — albeit with Duke three losing the past three — averaging 16.0 points, 6.8 boards, and 2.7 swats while shooting 76.3 percent.

Promising for 2021-22, indeed.

Bold prediction: As next season’s Duke basketball starting five, point guard Jeremy Roach, shooting guard DJ Steward, small forward AJ Griffin, power forward Paolo Banchero, and center Mark Williams — three seasoned sophomores and two top-shelf five-star freshmen — will be top-tier in the nation. They’ll all fit their positions well and definitely suffer fewer than 11 losses.

Final note: You may not have found one or two of the names you were hoping to see in this projected 2021-22 Duke basketball starting five. We’ll leave it up to each of you at this point to wonder whether the explanation for the omissions here is that said players will be in the pro ranks, at another school, or a backup in Durham.

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Feel free to disagree. Besides, after what we’ve been witness to this year, we’re all deserving of our own 2021-22 dreams, realistic or not.