Duke basketball: Envisioning next season’s starting lineup

Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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Projected Duke basketball starter: Dereck Lively II

At No. 1 overall on the 247Sports 2022 Composite, there’s little doubt that Westtown (Pa.) center Dereck Lively II will earn a starting nod right away at Duke.

The 7-foot-1 five-star will have some big shoes to fill, assuming 7-footer Mark Williams turns pro. But in many ways, Lively’s game could be equally effective as that of Williams, who garnered ACC Defensive Player of the Year and All-ACC Third Team honors.

Lively has impeccable timing as a shot-blocker, and his motor revs high in transition, where he often gobbles up dunking opportunities like candy. And as is the case with every projected starter here, he can step outside with a proven stroke beyond the arc.

Yet as was the case for Mark Williams as a freshman before thriving as a sophomore last season, there are question marks about Dereck Lively II’s body strength.

When envisioning this starting lineup, though, his and others’ deep array of tools should all but negate any concerns stemming from all their youth.

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