2016-17 Duke Basketball: What We Can Expect From Next Year’s Blue Devils

The Duke Blue Devils saw their 2015-2016 end in the Sweet 16 at the hands of Oregon, but this team have emerged as one of the early favorites to win the national championship next year. A strong group of returning players will be joined by the top recruiting class in the country, giving them an overall talent level similar to the group that won the 2014-2015 title. Here's what Duke's lineup is expected to look like next season:

Point guard: Derryck Thornton, Frank Jackson

Thornton is the incumbent at the position after having a strong finish to the season, but Jackson is the third-ranked point guard prospect in the country with a good shooting stroke and sneaky athleticism. Duke closed the season by starting Kennard and Allen in the backcourt, but Coach K wants a true point guard to run the position.

Shooting guard: Grayson Allen, Matt Jones, Luke Kennard

Assuming Allen doesn't leave for the NBA (which I don't think he will), he will be this team's leader again without question. He will hold down the shooting guard spot, but both Jones and Kennard will see a ton a playing time. Don't be surprised to see either (or both) in the starting lineup playing out of position, especially with Jones being a senior.

Small forward: Jayson Tatum

I think Jones will probably start in this spot from time to time, but Tatum will get every opportunity to prove what he can do. The No. 2 overall prospect in the country is an extremely versatile scorer at 6'8", capable of creating his own shot at any time. Picture him as a less athletic, more offensively polished version of Brandon Ingram.

Power forward: Harry Giles

The top recruit in the country is coming off his second torn ACL, but he is everything you could possibly want in a big man. He's an athletic freak at 6'10" who has a wide array of post moves and a reliable mid-range jumper. Plus, he's capable of beating bigger, slower defenders off the dribble. Duke may ease him into the rotation as he continues to recover, but he will be a MAJOR factor for the Blue Devils.

Center: Amile Jefferson, Chase Jeter

Amile Jefferson getting a medical redshirt for last season might be the best thing that could've happened for Duke. He will provide them with another excellent rebounder and a senior leader for this young group. Jeter will also have another year to develop and be productive in a limited role.

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Related Topics: ACC Basketball, College Basketball, NCAA Basketball, Grayson Allen, Duke Blue Devils Basketball, Luke Kennard, Amile Jefferson